Stonehenge Find 'Blows Lid Off' Old Thinking
Area was 'the London of the Mesolithic,' says archaeologist
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 7, 2014 3:30 PM CDT
Visitors take photographs of the world heritage site of Stonehenge, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

(Newser) – The ancient monument of Stonehenge dates back to between 2500 BC and 3000 BC—but when it was built, people had already been living in the area for millennia, researchers found after a dig. Artifacts from what is now Amesbury, the nearest settlement to Stonehenge, dated to 8820 BC. It's been inhabited ever since, the BBC notes, making it Britain's oldest settlement, something the Guinness Book of Records has now officially recognized. (As such, Thatcham has lost the honor.) The year was established after burnt flints and large animal bones were unearthed; they point to feasts held there, Smithsonian reports. "The site blows the lid off the Neolithic Revolution in a number of ways," says researcher David Jacques, who notes that it provides evidence of "people staying put, clearing land, building, and presumably worshiping, monuments."

Experts had believed the stones were erected by European immigrants, notes Culture24, but in fact the area was a hub for people in the region, says Jacques. It "was a forerunner for what later went on at Stonehenge itself," he says. "The first monuments at Stonehenge were built by these people. For years, people have been asking why is Stonehenge where it is; now at last, we have found the answers." Giant pine posts were placed in the area long before Stonehenge was there, sometime before 6590 BC, reports the Guardian; the study offers a "missing link" between the posts and the stone monuments. (Click to read about Stonehenge's sonic secret.)

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Mar 17, 2015 11:59 AM CDT
It's possible it had a lid. It might have been a toilet for the giants that roamed the area thousands of years ago.
Sep 2, 2014 1:00 PM CDT
After the first structure became to old to be useful the leader at the time of construction need to put up something that would last. With the people becoming domesticated he also needed to have public works to keep the people busy and give unity and identity to the population. Also at this time it had become apparent that there needed to be a way to track time and seasons which explains the alignments. Since this is one of the first places with any organization it was naturally a magnet for the intelligent ones in the population to gravitate towards. There must have been better women here than living in a cave somewhere if you know what I mean. Since the people with the higher intellect were drawn here then it makes sense that there were healers among them, which explains the theory of all the graves with diseased people from all over England and some parts of Europe being in close proximity to the place. Since there was a migration of ill people there then the locals would have moved their communities away to a safe distance wanting to avoid whatever was going around at that time. just my take on it. The sound theory seems a bit too much though. But who am I to say humbug on it.
May 8, 2014 9:22 AM CDT
I think Lefty is correct that the structure had a lid on it at some point. Take notice of the bosses on the top of the uprights. They are there to keep the lintels from being forced off by the weight of a structure pressing down and outward. They wouldn't be needed just to keep the stone lintels in place. The sheer weight of the stone would have accomplished that.