Stonehenge Began as Cemetery for Bigwigs
Researchers think elite families were buried there around 3000 BC
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2013 9:24 AM CST
The sun rises behind Stonehenge.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

(Newser) – Observatory? Solar calendar? Add this to the theory on the origins of Stonehenge: Researchers say it began earlier than thought as a cemetery for elite Stone Age families, reports the Guardian. The most extensive analysis yet of remains excavated from the site suggests that men, women, and children were buried there in a circular graveyard beginning about 3000 BC. That would push back the origins of the site about 500 years.

"The whole history of the monument is inseparably linked to death and burial, but I believe that there are hundreds more burials to be found across the site, which will tell us more of the story," says one archeologist. The researchers also say that at least 4,000 people—a massive number relative to the population at the time—traveled from afar as Scotland to construct the monument we know today over a 10-year period, reports AP. That's based on the analysis of animal teeth the workers brought along for ritual feasts. "Stonehenge was a monument that brought ancient Britain together," the lead researcher tells the BBC. The findings will be detailed in a BBC documentary airing tomorrow.

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
ppaca
Mar 9, 2013 8:31 PM CST
"...—traveled from afar as Scotland to construct the monument we know today ..." Gee, this guy does not know English. "afar as"? How about AS FAR AS? Stupid, stupid, stupid!
donwine
Mar 9, 2013 12:48 PM CST
"...elite Stone Age families..." Now you say 3,000 years old. Some think the stone age was millions of years ago. Which is it? Now we are to believe there were rich elite stone age people! All these assumptions are based on a few animal teeth. People are already confused and this story only adds to the confusion.
radicalronpaul
Mar 9, 2013 9:55 AM CST
People can't understand how it was possible that ancient man could have such knowledge of astronomic calculations. When you live mostly outdoors and the heavenly bodies are your gods,then they most certainly didn't turn over to sleep on their stomachs. Wasn't the Antikythera Mechanism from 1 B.C.? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism Actually man didn't come to think that there was only one God, until a major world event happened that scared them into becoming Christians. Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.(coincidentally during the same generation of people that witnessed the crucifixion of some guy in Jerusalem, causing most people to think that a powerful being was causing the destruction of the world's, and especially Rome's sinners). The funny thing is that Man, with his vast accumulation of scientific knowledge, is just as superstitious today, as he was then. Many posts on this message board are a testament to that fact.