The prehistoric monument of Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, in central southern England (AFP Photo / Andrew Cowie)
New research has shed fresh light on Stonehenge’s past, suggesting that it was originally a graveyard and then a venue for mass celebrations that unified the whole of pre-historic Britain.
According to the team of researchers led by archeologist Professor Mike Parker Pearson of University College London, the historic site was in fact older than previously thought and had different functions.
"In many ways our findings are rewriting the established story of Stonehenge," Parker Pearson said.
Centuries before the iconic stone mega structure was erected, the site on Salisbury Plain may have served as a giant burial ground for important families. The archeologists excavated more than 50,000 cremated bone fragments belonging to over 60 people throughout a decade of research. The remains of many cremated bodies were marked by the bluestones of Stonehenge, Parker Pearson said. “Clearly these were special people in some way,” he added.
The archeologists claim that the graveyard was built around 3,000 BC – 500 years earlier than the massive rock structure we see today. READ MORE