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The dead of Stonehenge

  • Christie Willis (a1), Peter Marshall (a2), Jacqueline McKinley (a3), Mike Pitts (a4), Joshua Pollard (a5), Colin Richards (a6), Julian Richards (a7), Julian Thomas (a6), Tony Waldron (a1), Kate Welham (a8) and Mike Parker Pearson (a1)...

The assemblage of Neolithic cremated human remains from Stonehenge is the largest in Britain, and demonstrates that the monument was closely associated with the dead. New radiocarbon dates and Bayesian analysis indicate that cremated remains were deposited over a period of around five centuries from c. 3000–2500 BC. Earlier cremations were placed within or beside the Aubrey Holes that had held small bluestone standing stones during the first phase of the monument; later cremations were placed in the peripheral ditch, perhaps signifying the transition from a link between specific dead individuals and particular stones, to a more diffuse collectivity of increasingly long-dead ancestors.

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