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Building Stonehenge? An alternative interpretation of lipid residues in Neolithic Grooved Ware from Durrington Walls

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 July 2019

Lisa-Marie Shillito*
School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK (Email:


Lipid residues identified in Grooved Ware pottery from Durrington Walls have been interpreted as evidence for large-scale feasting associated with the construction of Stonehenge, around 2500 BC. While a function related to food consumption is possible, other explanations may be equally plausible. An alternative interpretation not previously considered is that these residues may be related to a non-food use of animal resources, such as in the production of tallow. Such an interpretation would support the ‘greased sled’ theory for the transport of the megaliths for Stonehenge.

Antiquity , Volume 93 , Issue 370 , August 2019 , pp. 1052 - 1060
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2019 

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