The Story of Stonehenge

Finally the mysteries of the Stonehenge has been solved. Recent radiocarbon dating of cremated human remains from the Stonehenge site shows that Stonehenge was used as a cemetery at its inception around 3,000 BC until 2,500 BC. So, Stonehenge was an ancient burial site.

One of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones. It is located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) west of Amesbury and 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of Salisbury. In around 2,600 BC, 80 giant standing stones were arranged on Salisbury Plain, where there was already a 400-year-old stone circle. About two centuries later, even bigger stones were brought to the plain. Today, only 40 percent of the originals are there in Stonehenge and it has been announced as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

New archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Archaeological Project, indicates that Stonehenge served as a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. And burials continued at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years when the giant stones which mark the landmark were put up.

"Stonehenge was a place of burial from its beginning to its zenith in the mid-third millennium BC," said Parker Pearson, who with support of the National Geographic Society leads the Stonehenge Riverside Archaeological Project.

Till now, archeologists believed that people had been buried at Stonehenge only between 2,700 and 2,600 BC, before its large stones, known as sarsens, were put in place. But a small pile of burned bones and teeth from one of the pits around Stonehenge's edge known as the Aubrey Holes dates to 3,030-2,880 BC, the study found. A second burial of an adult, from the ditch surrounding Stonehenge, dates to 2,930-2,870 BC. The most recent cremation, of a 25-year-old woman in the ditch's northern side, dates to 2,570-2,340 BC, around the time the first arrangements of sarsen stones appeared at Stonehenge.