Stonehenge was ancient rave spot, new theory says

Mar 09, 2013
Revellers celebrate the pagan festival of 'Winter Solstice' at Stonehenge in Wiltshire in southern England on December 21, 2012. British researchers on Saturday unveiled a new theory for the origins of Stonehenge, saying the ancient stone circle was originally a graveyard and venue for mass celebrations.

British researchers on Saturday unveiled a new theory for the origins of Stonehenge, saying the ancient stone circle was originally a graveyard and venue for mass celebrations.

The findings would overturn the long-held belief that on Salisbury Plain in southwestern England was created as a Stone Age astronomical calendar or observatory.

A team led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson of University College London said Stonehenge, a , is both older and had a different function than previously thought.

"In many ways our findings are rewriting the established story of Stonehenge," Parker Pearson said.

The archaeologists carried out a decade of research which included excavations, laboratory work and the analysis of 63 sets of ancient human remains.

They said the original Stonehenge appeared to have been a graveyard for elite families built around 3000 BC, 500 years earlier than the site that is famous today.

The remains of many cremated bodies were marked by the bluestones of Stonehenge, Pearson said.

Further analysis of cattle teeth from 80,000 excavated from the site also suggest that around 2500 BC, Stonehenge was the site of vast communal feasts.

These would have been attended by up to one tenth of the British population at one time in what Parker Pearson said resembled "Glastonbury festival and a motorway building scheme at the same time."

It seemed that ancient people travelled to celebrate the winter and summer solstices but also to build the monument, he said.

"Stonehenge was a monument that brought Britain together," he said.

"What we've found is that people came with their animals to feast at Stonehenge from all corners of Britain—as far afield as Scotland."

He said it appeared to be the "only time in prehistory that the people of Britain were unified."

Unesco describes Stonehenge as the most architecturally sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world.

But archaeologists have long argued about its importance to the people who built it, ranging from a place of astronomy to one of human sacrifice.

The researchers said their findings also gave a clue to why the monument stopped being used—another mystery that has baffled archaeologists.

The earlier timeline they propose suggests that Stonehenge was built before the arrival of the "Beaker people" who brought with them a less centralised political culture.

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Hev
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 09, 2013
It has at last been realised that Stonehenge was aligned so people coming into it could face the midwinter solstice sunset. It should have been obvious. Not only because monuments survive which do measure the time of the winter solstice. We still have traditional ceremonies, parties, celebrations, decorations, presents etc. in December to celebrate the sun's return and mark the beginning of the year when it does. Nothing in June. Recent excavations of Stonehenge are very interesting and have dispelled some wacky or just unsubstantiated theories. (Like it was for marking the tides. When it would have taken at least few hours to get to the coast!)
Arcbird
1.6 / 5 (13) Mar 09, 2013
This is the most ridiculous hypothesis I've ever read about.
Telekinetic
2.7 / 5 (14) Mar 09, 2013
Ancient rave spot? Does that include an ancient version of Ecstacy?
Click123
1.4 / 5 (10) Mar 09, 2013
This is very interesting for Bible history students. If the dating is correct, these 'raves' would have taken place in the time period about 100 years before the flood of Noah's day when God brought an end to the vast majority of mankind owing to their debased immoral condition, while preserving Noah and his family.
ValeriaT
2.3 / 5 (12) Mar 09, 2013
This is the most ridiculous hypothesis I've ever read about.
Maybe it's ridiculous enough for being close to truth. You shouldn't imagine the traditional dance party about it. It rather served something like the target of religious journey to Mecca or something similar.
Estevan57
2.5 / 5 (24) Mar 10, 2013
Hmmm. It seems as though Professor Mike Parker Pearson has released the same "findings" as previously reported. Research money not run out quite yet? Perhaps the discovery of large amounts of animal bones is a sign of a great dairy operation where ancient Professors gathered to milk the scientific grants.

http://phys.org/n...tml#nRlv
alfie_null
4 / 5 (4) Mar 10, 2013
This is very interesting for Bible history students. If the dating is correct, these 'raves' would have taken place in the time period about 100 years before the flood of Noah's day when God brought an end to the vast majority of mankind owing to their debased immoral condition, while preserving Noah and his family.

Get your dogma right! God killed off _everyone_ except Noah's family.

I'd point out most of us understand the story to be apocryphal (I guess we're doomed, should God ever have a bad day; change His mind regarding employing deluges).

Arcbird
1 / 5 (8) Mar 10, 2013
This is the most ridiculous hypothesis I've ever read about.
Maybe it's ridiculous enough for being close to truth. You shouldn't imagine the traditional dance party about it. It rather served something like the target of religious journey to Mecca or something similar.


I will agree that at some point it may have been used this way but it was not built or constructed for anything close to that purpose.
perrycomo
2.2 / 5 (19) Mar 10, 2013
Stonehenge is and was a place were people gathered to celebrate the start of a new year of warmth and light . People were exited and happy . To measure this solstice they all so built stonehenge as a tool for measuring this point . The christian cult conveniently integrated this festival by stating that the 25th was the birthday of christ . They in fact anthropomorphized an astronomical effect . The solstice is by the naked eye only visible on the 25th of dec.. Now the christians could unite an astronomical event(and a pagan? celebration and party) with the birth of an hypothetical figure . Very clever politics indeed !
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (18) Mar 10, 2013
This is very interesting for Bible history students. If the dating is correct, these 'raves' would have taken place in the time period about 100 years before the flood of Noah's day when God brought an end to the vast majority of mankind owing to their debased immoral condition, while preserving Noah and his family.
Except that, as the bible is fiction and the flood never happened, they would not be learning history would they?
Neinsense99
2.3 / 5 (12) Mar 10, 2013
The last thing 'Bible history' students learn is the history of the Bible!
Jotaf
5 / 5 (2) Mar 10, 2013
This is the most ridiculous hypothesis I've ever read about.


Thank you for your well-reasoned and extensive argument.

They just said they excavated large deposits of animal bones from feasts. How can the hypothesis be ridiculous?
herbert444
1 / 5 (4) Mar 10, 2013
So this was the only gathering spot? And what about the huge wood henge that was adjacent to stone henge, and the thousands of other wood and stone henges scattered about? Generally educated theories are not placed in isolation from the hundreds of thousands of hours of research that precedes the theory.
Arcbird
1.2 / 5 (10) Mar 10, 2013
This is the most ridiculous hypothesis I've ever read about.


Thank you for your well-reasoned and extensive argument.

They just said they excavated large deposits of animal bones from feasts. How can the hypothesis be ridiculous?


I didn't say it was a well reasoned and extensive argument. And as I said afterwards, I agree that Stonehenge could have been used for this during a certain period, but it is by no means why it was built, as the article seems to suggest.
Noah Stephens
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 10, 2013
This is very interesting for Bible history students. If the dating is correct, these 'raves' would have taken place in the time period about 100 years before the flood of Noah's day when God brought an end to the vast majority of mankind owing to their debased immoral condition, while preserving Noah and his family.


You know, The Bible is not a historical document, right? :|
Mandan
3 / 5 (2) Mar 10, 2013
Ancient rave spot? Does that include an ancient version of Ecstacy?


A poorly chosen headline.
Mandan
5 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2013
This is the most ridiculous hypothesis I've ever read about.
Maybe it's ridiculous enough for being close to truth. You shouldn't imagine the traditional dance party about it. It rather served something like the target of religious journey to Mecca or something similar.


I recently saw a program on the National Geographic channel about Parker's team and the depiction of the site was stonehenge represented the dead while a woodhenge some distance away represented the living and different gatherings occurred for different purposes on the shortest and longest days of the year.

On the longest day the feast occurred which left these animal bones and-- according to the program at least-- something akin to an orgy ensued as the sun went down so that births would cluster the next spring.

Constructed paths along the Avon river connected the two and a boundary zone between represents the crossing between life and death.

http://natgeotv.c...decoded/
LarryD
3 / 5 (8) Mar 10, 2013
Well, let's look at it in a practicle sense. There was no tv, no Theatres, cinemas, shopping centers, bars etc what else were they supposed to do. Life must have been very hard and a chance to celebrate anything would probably have been a welcomed highlight of their calendar.
Isaacsname
1 / 5 (1) Mar 11, 2013
Naturally, I skipped reading article first, to go straight to the comments, which I did not read before making this comment.

I will read the comments first, then the article.

Then I may think of some snarky things to say.
Isaacsname
3 / 5 (2) Mar 11, 2013
Ok, since the article was short, but pointless, I will add this:

It is entirely possible that at one time, some people got together and built some big sh*t.

Some other people may have had some kids, who were brought to this big *ss thing when they were young.

As they got older, and had kids of their own, they brought their kids there too, except when asked why, they had no good reason other then " it's this big *ss thing these old folks brought me too when I was younger, now shutup and eat this piece of yummy meat while you still have teeth ".

Sometimes people there died, like what happens at any good party, and like any good party-goers do, they buried them on the spot, hopefully deep enough that they did not start to smell before the party was over.

Eventually, more people in the area died then had kids, and this big *ss thing stood in the middle of nowhere for a long time, and the parties faded to being non-parties.

Eventually aliens started using it for a launch pad.
Birger
5 / 5 (1) Mar 11, 2013
So, Stonehenge served the same purpose as the hindu feast at Benares (but without people bathing in a river of raw sewage).
Makes sense. Big investment in labour building monument = important place for pilgrimages.

"Eventually aliens started using it for a launch pad"
Actually, I think the first one to use it that way will be Bender from Futurama, after a drunken binge :)
LarryD
1 / 5 (3) Mar 11, 2013

Sometimes people there died, like what happens at any good party, and like any good party-goers do, they buried them on the spot, hopefully deep enough that they did not start to smell before the party was over.

Yeah, murdering the next fella to take his wife, or more importantly, his food was all part of the fun.
Isaacsname
5 / 5 (1) Mar 11, 2013
Sorry, I was drunk on cheap red wine.

Sorry, sorry
baudrunner
1.7 / 5 (11) Mar 13, 2013
Unesco describes Stonehenge as the most architecturally sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world.
I don't know where that comes from but it is utter B.S. Stonehenge is indeed an astronomical site, as are virtually all ancient stone temple structures, as has been proven for the temples at Angkor in Myanmar, the pyramids at Giza, the pre-Columbian temple complex at Tiahuanaco, and many, many others, many of which predate Stonehenge by many thousands of years. They are all far more sophisticated. Those three sites mentioned have in common the fact that they are constructed so as to align with the positions of certain stars or the sun at solstice when they were in position 10,500 years B.C. So, Unesco should do the research before making ridiculous claims.
Whydening Gyre
1 / 5 (8) Mar 16, 2013
Article-He said it appeared to be the "only time in prehistory that the people of Britain were unified."
That's because there weren't so many of 'em...
Whydening Gyre
1.3 / 5 (12) Mar 16, 2013
This is very interesting for Bible history students. If the dating is correct, these 'raves' would have taken place in the time period about 100 years before the flood of Noah's day when God brought an end to the vast majority of mankind owing to their debased immoral condition, while preserving Noah and his family.

In the beginning, "god" created Heaven & Earth. He was so pleased with himself that he decided to go to Vegas where he went on a bender and what with all the Crown Royal and hookers, he completely forgot what he did for the next 5 days.
So, now here were are - deal with it.

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