It turns out that the mysterious circle of giant stones that stand in the south west of England are, and have always been, tombstones. This latest news from Stonehenge has picked up loads of coverage since the announcement by Mike Parker Pearson and National Geographic, yesterday.
It was thought that the 5,000 year old stones had only served as a burial place for a brief spell between 2600 and 2700 BC. But Parker Pearson has new radiocarbon dating information for three sets of remains, and pinpoints three specific times when the bodies were cremated, spanning a period from 2930 to 2340 BC.
These dead people were probably some sort of royalty – a fact that has been picked by some UK publications such as The Times, although perhaps predictably the royal angle seems to have garnered more interest in the United States (see, for example, the LA Times and the Star Tribune).
Still people debate the significance of those big stones in southwestern England (apparently dragged all the way over the mountains from the far reaches of Wales) and why they are arranged there in a circle of distinctive arches. One comment posted at the bottom of this New Scientist story claims that they are just left over bits of stone from people looking for coal. I’m slightly sceptical about that one, originating as I do from a coal-mining area of England and never having noticed huge stone circles there.
In case you still aren’t convinced by the latest discoveries New Scientist also have a nice rundown of the most popular theories for the existence of the stones, including the best explanation of all – a UFO landing site. Please, please, please, for once let science be wrong. Let Stonehenge be a gateway for visiting aliens. It’s what we all want.
Posted on behalf of Katharine Sanderson.