Stonehenge, its river and its landscape: Unravelling the mysteries of a prehistoric sacred place
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Authors: Pearson, M.P., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Thomas, J., Tilley, C. and Welham, K.
Journal: Archaologischer Anzeiger
The area around Stonehenge was used for monument building as early as 10,000 years ago but the site of Stonehenge was first constructed around 3000 B.C. The stones were put up probably in the 26th century B.C. Stonehenge was probably contemporary with a group of timber circles at Durrington Walls, 3 km upstream along the River Avon, and may have formed part of a larger monument complex in which stone and timber circles were connected to the river by ceremonial avenues. The orientations of the circles and their avenues, together with seasonality patterns of pig culling, show that the midwinter and midsummer solstices were important times for gathering at these sites. Stonehenge is Britain's largest cremation cemetery during the mid-third millennium B.C. and may be interpreted as closely associated with the ancestral dead. In contrast, Durrington Walls has very few human remains despite the huge quantities of feasting debris and is interpreted as a place where the dead began their journey into the afterlife.