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Stonehenge and Stenness

5 October 2011

The Salisbury Journal 4th October 2011 claims that archaeologists from the Open University have unearthed artifacts from 700bc, 1400bc, and incredibly, from 6250bc – in the vicinity of Stonehenge (on private land near what is known as Vespasian's Camp). This is over 3000 years before the henge itself was built – and 4000 years before the iconic layout which can now be seen (in ruins). Some post holes from huge tree trunks, described as akin to totem poles, were found in the car park at Stonehenge a number of years ago, and they too belong to the Mesolithic era – but this is the first evidence of actual human activity as the remains comprise bones and burnt material from a feast in which at least one auroch had been cooked and eaten. This too is new evidence as the eating of cattle and oxen is a well known facet turned up regularly at Neolithic era sites, so this new discovery means that its roots go back much longer than previously surmised. Why were aurochs, cattle, bulls and oxen so important to people not just in Britain but in many other parts parts of the world? Bulls and aurochs also played an important role in the symbolism of the Ice Age – featuring in cave art. 

In addition, over 5000 flints and tools, or pieces thereof, belonging to the Mesolithic have been excavated from the same site, which means the Stonehenge locale had a significance before the erection of the henge and circle. The site, at one time, was located on the bed of a spring and some of the later items appear to represent offerings (deposited in water). 

The Orkneyjar, October 3rd, reports that a survey in waters south of the Ring of Brodgar, which was dry land before 3000bc – and more so before 6000bc, have found what is described as a massive prehistoric monument – a ring shaped feature and possibly a precursor to the Ring of Brodgar. It is also thought that early Neolithic (4000-3000bc) tombs may also be located offshore – in what is now an arm of the sea.

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