Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ancient Tombs Found Near Stonehenge

Archeologists have discovered two 6,000-year-old tombs near Stonehenge. The Neolithic site had gone unnoticed under farmland despite being just 15 miles from the famous monoliths.

The tombs already are considered to be among the oldest monuments to have been found in Britain. Archaeologists say they will hold valuable clues about how people lived at the time and what their environment was like.

“It’s one of the most famous prehistoric landscapes, a Mecca for prehistorians, and you would have thought the archaeological world would have gone over it with a fine tooth comb,” Helen Wickstead, the Kingston University archaeologist leading the project, told the London Times.

From examining similar sites, archaeologists know that complex burial rituals were common at the time. Typically bodies would be left in the open air until the flesh had decayed, leaving only a skeleton. Then bones were put in special arrangements in the tombs.

“The tombs were like bone homes for important people in the community,” Wickstead said.

Click here for the complete Times Online article.

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