New studies have been made on cremated human remains indicated that about 500 years before Stonehenge as we see it today, a larger stone circle was built at the same site as a community graveyard.
“These were men, women, children, so presumably family groups,” University College London professor Mike Parker Pearson, who led the team, said. “We’d thought that maybe it was a place where a dynasty of kings was buried, but this seemed to be much more of a community, a different kind of power structure.”
Archaeologists have studied the cremated bones of 63 people and believe they were buried around 3,000 B.C. with the original markers of blue stones. The earlier enclosure measured about 300 feet across and could have been a burial ground for about 200 or more.
Analysis of the remains of a Neolithic settlement near the monument appears to show that thousands of people traveled from as far as Scotland to the site, bringing their livestock and families for huge feasts and celebrations during the winter and summer solstices.
Team leader Pearson said the latest study suggested that Stonehenge should be seen less a temple of worship than a kind of building project that served to unite people from across Britain.
If you’d like to read more about the latest theory, click on Discovery.