sábado, 23 de abril de 2016

Stonehenge may have been a CEMETERY, archaeologists suggest



Towering above the grassy Salisbury Plain, its eerie rock monoliths are steeped in myth and magical stories, yet despite decades of research, the original purpose of Stonehenge remains a mystery.

 A new study by archaeologists, however, has suggested the imposing stone circle may have initially been used as a cremation cemetery for the dead.

Charred remains discovered on the site were unearthed in holes - known as the Aubrey Holes - that have been found have to once held a circle of small standing stones.

Fresh analysis of the burned bones has revealed they were buried in the holes over a period of 500 years between 3,100BC and 2,600BC.

During this time the enormous sarsen trilithons, many of which still stand today, were erected.

But after 2,500BC, the people who used Stonehenge appear to have stopped cremating and burying human remains in the stone circle itself, instead burying them in a ditch around the periphery.

This, according to Professor Mike Parker-Pearson, an archaeologist at University College London, and his colleagues, suggests there was a shift in the cultural significance of Stonehenge around this time.

They argue that it later became a place to revere long-dead ancestors who had been buried on the site.

Writing in the journal Antiquity, they said: 'Stonehenge changed from being a stone circle for specific dead individuals linked to particular stones, to one more diffusely associated with the collectivity of increasingly long-dead ancestors buried there.

'This is consistent with the interpretation of Stonehenge's stage two as a domain of the eternal ancestors, metaphorically embodied in stone.' [...] Daily Mail Online