Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Science

Stonehenge As a Royal Family's Burial Site 124

Posted by kdawson
from the my-stone-is-bigger-than-your-stone dept.
mikesd81 sends in a report from Newsday about radiocarbon dating of cremated bones excavated from Britain's Stonehenge that, an archeologist said, has solved part of the ancient mystery surrounding the 5,000-year-old site: It was a burial ground for what may have been the country's first royal dynasty. No word on how this work relates to the "Neolithic Lourdes" theory we discussed earlier. "The new dates indicate burials began at least 500 years before the first massive stones were erected at the site and continued after it was completed... The pattern and relatively small number of the graves suggest all were members of a single family. The findings provide the first substantive evidence that a line of kings ruled at least a portion of southern England during this early period. They exerted enough power to mobilize manpower necessary to move the massive stones from as far as 150 miles away and [maintained] that power for at least five centuries, said archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield, leader of current excavations at the site... His findings will also appear in the June issue of National Geographic and in the television special "Stonehenge Decoded," to be shown Sunday."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Stonehenge As a Royal Family's Burial Site

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    south yorkshire
  • by Hankapobe (1290722) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @04:42PM (#23612285)
    Spinal Tap's [spinaltapfan.com] stage background!
  • Why Stonehenge? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Saturday May 31, 2008 @05:06PM (#23612449)
    Its always baffled me why Stonehenge gets all the attention, when there's a much more impressive stone circle and causeway monument four times the size only 20 miles away at Avebury [wikipedia.org] - and its hardly been investigated!
    • Re:Why Stonehenge? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kestasjk (933987) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @05:19PM (#23612515) Homepage
      It doesn't look as impressive, and is almost completely ruined, whereas stonehenge has always survived to some degree.
      I'm not sure why you consider Avebury more impressive. I've been to both as a child and I was more impressed by stonehenge.

      That having been said there are more impressive burial sites, which are earth mounds which have caves that go underground, and are lit up by natural light only on certain days of the year.
      They were certainly more impressive to visit, if not visually impressive.
      • Re:Why Stonehenge? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Saturday May 31, 2008 @05:34PM (#23612587)
        You went to both as a child? Go back as an adult and I guarantee you will change your mind. Stonehenge looks like it does because it has been rebuilt several times in the past 100 years - whether they actually are representative of how they stood thousands of years go is still subject to discussion.

        The best thing about Avebury is that its not a stage managed tourist trap - you simply park your car and go wandering, you can even touch the stones if you wish and theres no entrance fee. The sheer size of the monument is fantastic.
        • by kestasjk (933987)
          I'm not impressed by the snobby "I like what tourists don't like" argument. How you can describe an ancient monument a tourist trap is beyond me.
          It's just stonehenge and a barrier to try and stop people ruining it by touching the stones, how is that stage managed?

          You're free to your own opinion, just don't act like it's anything other than opinion. (Same goes for your obnoxious sig)
          • Re:Why Stonehenge? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by tsm_sf (545316) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @09:31PM (#23613973) Journal
            Visiting Stonehenge is like visiting a museum. There are certain areas you can and cannot go, times you cannot be there, and the path ends in a gift shop.

            Avebury is an actual village surrounded by megaliths. More standing stones line a very nice walk/hike to the area, and there are burial mounds all over the place (some have been hedgehogged and look really cool). There are (incredibly kitschy) stores in town selling info of various kinds, and a visitors center set up to demonstrate what life was like back in The Day(tm).

            In comparison the whole Stonehenge experience feels tightly controlled and 'artificial'. I can't really justify that word but you may understand what I'm getting at.
            • I've been to Stonehenge 3 times. The first time, my brothers and I could climb on the rocks and you could picnic inside the circle (I have pictures). The second time, they had velvet ropes that kept the tourists away from the rocks. The third time, they had plexiglass all the way around.

              I don't want to ever go back because I'm afraid there will be a Hard Rock cafe and a bunch of other touristy bunk.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by fyoder (857358)

          The best thing about Avebury is that its not a stage managed tourist trap - you simply park your car and go wandering, you can even touch the stones if you wish and theres no entrance fee.

          Also check out the Callanish Standing Stones [wikipedia.org] on the Isle of Lewis if you get the opportunity. Perhaps not quite as impressive as Stonehenge, no lintels, but if you go in the off tourist season, you may be able to have them all to yourself. To be alone with something like that affords a deep feeling of connection with the ancient past.

        • by RockDoctor (15477)

          You went to both as a child? Go back as an adult and I guarantee you will change your mind. Stonehenge looks like it does because it has been rebuilt several times in the past 100 years - whether they actually are representative of how they stood thousands of years go is still subject to discussion.

          Stonehenge has been excavated, in different areas and to different depths, several times in the last century, and yes, there was some re-erecting of stones in several of these excavation phases. However, the natu

      • I am curious about these other burial sites you mentioned. Care to share which they are?

        Oh - and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Puggs (562473)
        people have been touching those stones for thousands of years, why should we stop now?

        At the risk of sounding like a pretentious hippy, theres nothing I like doing better than hugging one of the stones when I'm at Avebury - you can see all the tiny little nooks and crannies, some of which have random crystals etc in.

        Stonehenge *IS* a tourist trap, theres nothing there but the stones and a gift shop. Avebury on the other hand has a quaint little biker pub, the biggest henge in the world, which imho is more i
      • Re:Why Stonehenge? (Score:5, Informative)

        by wish bot (265150) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @12:34AM (#23614723)
        The best thing about the Avebury circle is that there's a pub in the middle of it.

        And no, I'm not joking.
        • by tehcyder (746570)
          Also, Avebury was the setting for Children of the Stones, a cool and scary kids series from the Seventies.
    • Re:Why Stonehenge? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by wass (72082) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @05:30PM (#23612565)
      Avebury's circle is larger in area, but Stonehenge has a much denser organization of sarsen stones, and just looks much more majestic IMHO. Additionally, Stonehenge has actual henge stones (ie, the top crosspieces), which originally circled the whole structure but only a few still remain intact.

      Also, the Stonehenge sarsens were transported from their quarries several hundred miles away, which is pretty amazing and makes you seriously wonder what the hell was so special about this site to justify such a long haul.

      But maybe I'm biased, as my wife and I just visited Stonehenge about two months ago on our honeymoon.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by yakumo.unr (833476)
      The stones are considerably larger at Stonehenge, and the origin of how the stone itself was brought there was a puzzle in itself. Avebury is a very special and different place, and those that prefer it don't tend to want to shout about it too much it as they don't want to draw the attention to it, so it stays that way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gordonjcp (186804)
      If you want the really good stuff, you need to go to Orkney.
      • Re:Why Stonehenge? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TapeCutter (624760) * on Sunday June 01, 2008 @03:48AM (#23615371) Journal
        I went to Orkney about two years ago and there are standing stones all over the place. I was a bit dissapointed by Skara-Brae (WTF is the deal with the tinnted glass over the top). However after visiting Orkney the guy who owned the B&B we were staying at near Joh-o-Groats told us about an old archeological dig on some mounds near the cliff that the B&B was overlooking. So when we were leaving we thought we would have a look, sure enough there was a maze of ruined huts just like the ones at Skara-Brae, only there were lots more rooms and passages. The whole site was overgrown by weeds but you could walk over them and reveal the flintstonesque shelves and the 'bait boxes' in the floors. We spent the whole morning doing the "Indiana jones" thing and didn't see another soul.

        We travelled all over the UK for about 5 weeks, Orkney, Stonehenge and a stone circle somewhere high up in the Yorkshire dales were the most awe inspiring, but the little huts on the cliff overgrown and forgotten for 5000yrs were my favotite.
        • by VdG (633317)
          I quite liked Skara Brae. I'd never seen anything like it, and the idea that it's as old as Egypt's pyramids is quite impressive. The prototype for Barrett Homes.

          There are lots of other great things on Orkney, too. Maes Howe was interesting. I got an individual guided tour as nobody else was around that day. Seeing millenia old Viking graffiti was fascinating.

          The only down-side is that it's quite a long way away from anything, but anybody spending time in the north of Scotland should make the effort.
          • Yes I remeber the Viking graffiti, Maes Howe was fascinating as were the standing stones nearby, I just thought the tinted glass over Skara Brae was a bit much since I couldn't see inside the main building.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Its always baffled me why Stonehenge gets all the attention, when there's a much more impressive stone circle and causeway monument four times the size only 20 miles away at Avebury [wikipedia.org] - and its hardly been investigated!
      Well, it's obvious why. Stonehenge spent a lot more money on advertising and product placement.
    • Re:Why Stonehenge? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ozbird (127571) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @11:11PM (#23614409)
      Its always baffled me why Stonehenge gets all the attention

      In a word, trilithons [wikipedia.org]. Stone circles are impressive, but raising large lintel stones and fitting them with mortise and tenon joints to the even larger sarsen stones is very impressive.

      Spinal Tap references aside, there's something about the trilithons that is deeply iconic: a mastery of stone, and thus nature. The later use of arches, vaulted ceilings and domes in religious buildings is no accident; people may not "get" religion, but suspend several tonnes of stone over their heads and they can't help but be impressed.
    • by fialar (1545)
      You forgot Arbor Low [wikipedia.org]. Located in Derbyshire, it pre-dates Stonehenge by at least a 1000 years or more. I've visited the site, and even though the stones are no longer standing, it is a pretty impressive place.
  • I was amused (disappointed?) to see that Stonehenge had to be described as "Britain's Stonehenge". Does Johnny Foreigner have another one we don't know about?

  • sure sure (Score:3, Funny)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @05:15PM (#23612493)
    That's what they want you to think. But then when it starts taking down satellites with an ion beam then we'll see what it was built for. Aliens I tell you!
  • by Rooked_One (591287) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @05:16PM (#23612495) Journal
    Anything to discount the alien theory
    • by Haoie (1277294)
      Yes, Stonehenge is up there when it comes to extraterrestrial believers.

      Personally though, I find the Nazca lines far more fascinating. The reason behind those drawings are still la
      • by wish bot (265150)
        We're lucky that the men from the black helicopters who kidnapped you mid sentence were kind enough to press 'submit' for us.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I need to go to bed...you know you've been on the computer too long when the parent posts reads to you as "extraterrestrial beavers".
  • Coal dusters. Avebury coal duster, Cursus coal duster, Durrington Walls coal duster, Long Barrow coal duster, Robin Hood's Ball coal duster, Stonehenge coal duster, Woodhenge coal duster, etc, all being originally simple coal hunting failures. Every one of them were coal exploration sites that did not yield any coal. Take away all of the dressed up cemetery headstone rocks and what have you got? Nothing more than a bunch of coal exploratory ditches and holes, that is what. Afterwards, these ditches and ho
    • I doubt it (Score:3, Informative)

      by Moraelin (679338)
      Personally I doubt it, because coal wasn't even important in Britain (or almost anywhere else) before the 1600's-1700's or so.

      Even in the iron age, the preferred fuel originally was charcoal. It's only when wood was more important for building whole ship armadas, that coal became the fuel of choice.

      In the bronze age, you didn't even need coal at all, as tin and copper can be smelted with wood just as well. They have a lower melting point than iron. Copper: 1084.62 C, Tin: 231.93C, vs Iron: 1538 C. So with a
      • Cave Coal: 800,000 BC; Hand Axes
        Camp Fuel: Dates through Ice Ages

        ---> NW to SE --->

        Pembrokeshire Coalfield -> South Wales Coalfield -> Bristol Coalfield -> Salisbury Plain

        http://www.durhamrecordsonline.com/literature/coalfields-british.gif [durhamrecordsonline.com]

        Coalfield -> 40 miles -> Coalfield -> 40 miles -> Coalfield -> 40 miles -> Prospect Area

        http://www.geology.19thcenturyscience.org/books/1878-Ramsay-Geology/text-ocr/text/figs-100-jpg/GeoMap-400.jpg [19thcenturyscience.org]

        800,000 BC Coalfield -> 800,000 BC Coalf
        • by Weedlekin (836313)
          LOL! This rather excellent post has, more or less word-for-word, been pasted all over the Internet. It's a superb troll, alhtough it would of course have been better if the author knew that there's no convincing evidence for Homo Erectus in Britain before 470,000 years ago, and they buggered off for nicer climes 30,000 years later when the place got hit by an ice age.
          • The '56 holes Circling 'round Stonehenge cave Coal shoring Material;

            7 Questions:

            Dr. Garry Denke - John Aubrey - Lt.-Col. William Hawley - Robert Newall - Question No. 1
            Why did the Ancient dig and fill '56 cave chimney vent holes with Carboniferous Limestone?

            Dr. Garry Denke - John Aubrey - Lt.-Col. William Hawley - Robert Newall - Question No. 2
            Why did the Ancient then remove '56 cave chimney vent holes' Carboniferous Limestone?

            Dr. Garry Denke - John Aubrey - Lt.-Col. William Hawley - Robert Newall - Questio
            • by Weedlekin (836313)
              "Why did the Ancient dig and fill '56 cave chimney vent holes with Carboniferous Limestone?"

              Where is your evidence for this claim? Few if any known inhabited caves from Europe had vent holes of any sort, hence the fact that most fire pits are found near the entrances.

              "Why did the Ancient then remove '56 cave chimney vent holes' Carboniferous Limestone?"

              See above.

              "Why did the Ancient burn anthracite Coal in the bottom of all '56 cave chimney vent holes?"

              See above.

              Question 4 is a repeat of question 3.

              "Why did
              • One month it's Healing.
                One month it's Death.
                One month it's Coal.

                Anthracite
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthracite [wikipedia.org]
                blue stone
                blue flame
                blue coal

                a) You're clueless.

                Stone Tools Reveal Humans Lived in Britain 700000 Years Ago
                http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/12/1216_051216_humans_britain.html [nationalgeographic.com]

                b) They're not.

                1. secnereffid suorefinobrac / suoecaterc hcaet
                2. secnereffid suorefinobrac / suoecaterc thguat
                3. nrub 'emalf enots eulb' a rof laoc eticarhtna
                4. tnetnoc ruflus dna surohpsohp rof suonimutib
                5. syenm
                • by Weedlekin (836313)
                  "Blue..."

                  What a bunch of addled tripe.

                  "Wikipedia article on anthracite"

                  What was this intended to prove? That anthracite exists? Well blow me down, I didn't know that before you told me.

                  "a) You're clueless.

                  Stone Tools Reveal Humans Lived in Britain 700000 Years Ago
                  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/12/1216_051216_humans_britain.html [nationalgeographic.com] [nationalgeographic.com]"

                  That's _one guy's theory_ which is well known in anthropological circles, and has been soundly rejected because his dating methods are (to be k
                  • 800,000-year-old Pembrokeshire Coalfield mining artefacts have been dated.
                    800,000-year-old South Wales Coalfield mining artefacts have been dated.

                    1. Prove that 3100 BC Salisbury Plain was "heavily forested".
                    2. Prove that the Ancient did not cremate Dead by "coal use".
                    3. Prove that importing rocks 150 kilometres is not "ludicrous".

                    Thank you.

                    For those unfamiliar with the 7 basic mineral materials of Stonehenge;
                    here is a list of them mined in chronological order of their appearance.

                    Stonehenge Mined Mineral Mat
                    • by Weedlekin (836313)
                      "800,000-year-old Pembrokeshire Coalfield mining artefacts have been dated.
                      800,000-year-old South Wales Coalfield mining artefacts have been dated."

                      By whom?

                      "1. Prove that 3100 BC Salisbury Plain was "heavily forested"."

                      I didn't say Salisbury plain was heavily forested. The surrounding countryside however was heavily forested (and there are remnants of forests there today), so people on the plain didn't have to walk far to find trees, hence the large numbers of wooden structures that were there.

                      "2. Prove tha
                    • University of Texas at Austin

                      1. So it wasn't heavily forested, figures.
                      2. So you're a religious fanatic, figures.
                      3. So you can't disprove those, figures.

                      Aubrey never saw the Holes

                      Regards,

                      Garry Denke
                      http://www.atheists.org/ [atheists.org]
                    • You're right. ( blush )

                      Hey thanks everybody for your many proofs that;

                      Dr. Garry Denke (1622-1699)

                      rightly deserves sole credit for discovering:

                      The First Stone of Stonehenge
                      The Artefacts below Heel Stone
                      The First Purpose of Stonehenge

                      same being of course;

                      Carboniferous Limestone of Stonehenge
                      Ark of the Covenant below Heel Stone
                      Coal Mining Purpose of Stonehenge

                      See ya! And thanks again!

                      Garry Denke (1955-)
                    • by Weedlekin (836313)
                      "1. So it wasn't heavily forested, figures."

                      While you conveniently fail to address the rather obvious point there were enough trees within easy reach for them to build a large wood henge prior the stone one, construct at least 300 wooden houses around the henge, and a number of wooden platforms supported by massive tree trunks. Figures.

                      "2. So you can't disprove those, figures."

                      I can't disprove the idea that pixies moved the blue stones by magic, or that Santa transported them in his sleigh either, and neit
                    • by Weedlekin (836313)
                      Answering yourself as an AC? How pathetic.
                    • University of North Texas (UNT) 900,000 years ago.
                      University of Texas at Austin (UT) 800,000 years ago.

                      1. "While you conveniently fail to address the rather obvious point there were enough trees within easy reach for them to build a large wood henge prior the stone one, construct at least 300 wooden houses around the henge, and a number of wooden platforms supported by massive tree trunks."

                      With the little wood available already used up for housing,
                      no wonder they hunted coal. Thanks for pointing that out.

                      2.
                    • University of Texas at Austin (UT) 800,000 years ago.
                      Arizona State University (ASU) 1,000,000 years ago.
                      University of North Texas (UNT) 900,000 years ago.

                      0. "Answering yourself as an AC?"

                      What the fuck is that supposed to mean? How pathetic.

                      1. "While you conveniently fail to address the rather obvious point there were enough trees within easy reach for them to build a large wood henge prior the stone one, construct at least 300 wooden houses around the henge, and a number of wooden platforms supported by mas
                    • by Weedlekin (836313)
                      "University of Texas at Austin (UT) 800,000 years ago.
                      Arizona State University (ASU) 1,000,000 years ago.
                      University of North Texas (UNT) 900,000 years ago."

                      I'm sure you can cite the papers published in peer reviewed scientific journals from the people who did the dating work. I have access to most of them, including comprehensive back numbers (especially the ones pertaining to archaeology, anthropology, and palaeontology), so it doesn't matter if they're not on the Internet, or are member-only sites. This w
                    • THE WILTS AND HANTS TIMES

                      COUNTY OF WILTSHIRE AND COUNTY OF HAMPSHIRE

                      FRONT PAGE LEGAL NOTICE

                      STONEHENGE HAS BEEN SOLD TO A TEXAS TYCOON

                      1ST APRIL 1985

                      In 1961 Howard Hughes, the California oilman, and Roland Totera, the Florida oilman, funded the purchase of Stonehenge for Garry Denke d/b/a A Texas Tycoon, a Texas Sole Proprietorship, recorded in the Deed Records of the County of Collin, the State of Texas. Howard Hughes, an Aviator, and Roland Totera, an Uncle, bought all rights, titles and interests in and to
  • Not much... but it's jaw-dropping nonetheless. You can bet I'll be memecasting it here [blogspot.com]. -Corky
  • Poor, as per usual (Score:5, Informative)

    by MLCT (1148749) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @05:59PM (#23612739)

    It was a burial ground for what may have been the country's first royal dynasty
    "country" - didn't exist 5,000 years ago, patchy local tribes, communities and chiefdoms were all that exsisted, often as small as a couple hundred people.

    "first" - nope - there were thousands of years of these patchy clans and communities going back far before 5,000 BP - the Stonehenge neolithic communities and any political, cultural or religious "leaders" there weren't the "first" anything.

    "royal dynasty" - Firstly it wasn't royal - that is a modern definition, and can only be used when it means what it says, I see the FA uses it as well, and it should be rightly criticised for inaccurate reporting. We know little concrete about how stone age societies functioned - far too little to use the word "royal". Secondly there is no evidence that it is a "dynasty" of anything.

    Historical accuracy seems to becoming abandoned these days. The media seem to becoming more and more able to get away with just making up anything they want to fit the "angle", particularly with scientific pieces.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @07:06PM (#23613199)
      Worse yet, who says that it was built for this? It's not unheard of that "holy sites" have been recycled over and over in history. Many cathedrals are built on ancient sites of worship.

      Take the Nebra sky disk [wikipedia.org]. It is almost certain that it changed its use and purpose over time, as can be seen by the changes it underwent during its use. It's even possible that the last "user" of the disk had no idea of its astronomic significance and it became some sort of idol for ancient worship.

      Dynasties and rulers come and go, land and property changes hands in times of war. And rarely does the defeated tell his nemesis his holy secrets. Why shouldn't some victorious tribe conquer the area of Stonehenge and, in ignorance of its actual reason, attribute it to some divine or otherworldly creation? After all, chauvinism isn't something we invented in our time, would a victorious warlord attribute the creation of something as impressive as Stonehenge to a tribe he just conquered? He'd have to admit that the people he defeated created something he does not understand.

      And what better place for a royal burial site than a place where the gods themselves built something?

      So just simply saying that some place is "merely" the tomb of a king just because someone was buried there is cheap. Especially if there are indicators that point towards scientific use.

      But there our chauvinism sets in again. How could some barbaric culture that can, at best, use stone axes be scientifically "advanced", to a point we "civilized" people didn't achive until medieval times?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mstahl (701501)

      I think you're nit-picking way too much. "Country" in this case refers to the actual current borders of the UK, and this may be the burial ground within those borders of earliest origin yet discovered. In this case "first" means "earliest discovered", which is after all the best gauge we have for these things. How could we ever determine for sure which was the first, as the first may have been lost forever? As for "royal dynasty", though it may not have been made for a king or queen as we think of them toda

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Scaba (183684)

      We know little concrete about how stone age societies functioned...

      Yet, that hasn't stopped you from making bold and unsubstantiated claims about these very societies.

      Historical accuracy seems to becoming abandoned these days.

      Become the change you wish to see.

    • Because that paragraph didn't make sense to me at all. Now I understand a little better.

      Plus 500 years is a very, very long time. That would be at least twenty generations.
    • by argStyopa (232550)
      I'm pretty sure you're just being a pedant.

      "country" - perhaps they mean the OTHER meaning of country, ala 'area'? Maybe they don't mean the precise "nation/state" that you're debating.

      And instead of "first royal dynasty" I'm sure it would have been so much more accurate for them to say "...the region's furthest-back prehistorical group that we've found to date who were probably related, probably over a series of generations, and clearly either had the power to command significant time and effort from othe
    • by Weedlekin (836313)
      ""country" - didn't exist 5,000 years ago, patchy local tribes, communities and chiefdoms were all that exsisted, often as small as a couple hundred people."

      The fact that late neolithic grooveware pottery is found in Britain everywhere from the Orkneys to the south coast indicates that there must have been active links between the people who made it. Grooveware has a very distinctive type of geometric pattern on it that's unique to Britain, so the similarities between examples found at both ends of the plac
  • by owlnation (858981) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @06:08PM (#23612785)
    So maybe I've read too much Dostoevsky over the years... but I never buy the explanations for what people think these things were.

    Visiting some dolmens in France a few years ago the archaeologist explained that it was believed these were religious sites, since visitors had to bow low to enter a womb-like chamber. Sure... or... how about the small entrance is easier to heat, easy to keep dry, easier to defend, and easier to keep out animals like rats etc away from food stores. For all we know the dolmen was the first equivalent of Walmart.

    Homo Sapiens is, for the most part, a selfish, greedy species. To ascribe our ancestors with cuddly, noble airs of spirituality, science and mysticism is the stuff of fairy tales, not science. Take a look at your neighborhood; minus the styles, the cars, and the pointless obsession with worthless things like social networking sites, the species is today just and evolved and spiritual as it has ever been. If anything, we've progressed (slightly) in terms of abolishing slavery, women's right etc.

    Seriously, the first Walmart is more likely than some solar temple. I'll buy a royal burial site admittedly, that's just naked greed. That's pretty much what we humans are good at, especially the ones at the top of the social order.
    • by goatpunch (668594)
      You don't buy the explanations? But these people are experts! This documents the historical speculation process quite well, although the episode when they reconstructed King Arthur's Court from a piece of china was even better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf95P2DJC6E&ftm=6 [youtube.com]
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @07:25PM (#23613307)
      It is likely that ancient buildings had far more often practical uses rather than esotheric ones. But our ancestors were often also quite adapt at combining those reasons. Mostly to make people do it.

      Religion, IMO, was invented for just this reason: To make people do stuff you, as a leader, know is important for the well being of your tribe, but you can't really explain to your people because they either don't understand it, or they'd outright oppose it because for them, as an individual, it may have negative effects. Let's face it, we're selfish. Everyone wants everything for himself and doing things for the "common good" is something reserved for when you're doing REALLY well and have no real problems anymore, so you do some feelgood stuff. And in ancient times, you rarely if ever were doing so well that you have no problems anymore.

      But as a ruler, it can be quite useful to know the right times for sowing and reaping. Too early and your grain is dying in the last freeze. Too late and it won't grow long enough. So you have to put aside a few people who watch the skies and do astronomy. That creates two problems for your tribe. First of all, the question why should I work so this moocher gets fat and lazy watching the skies, and second, why should I build him his astronomy tools (which often included a lot of stone lugging back then) on top of it? Sure, we'll know the best time for sowing in the future but guess what, I'm 20, I almost certainly won't live to be 30, I have no benefit at all from it!

      This is where religion and all those "religious" buildings came in. It also served as a quite good tool to keep your people in line, too. Especially if you can predict (and claim to command) such impressive events like an eclipse.

      I'm fairly sure this is the reason why astronomy is one of the oldest sciences mankind invented. It was practical for an early tribe to predict the seasons. It's not that they were so fond of the stars, it was a matter of survival.
    • The myth of the noble savage has been hard to kill, but it is finally dying, albeit rather slowly.
    • Homo Sapiens is, for the most part, a selfish, greedy species. To ascribe our ancestors with cuddly, noble airs of spirituality, science and mysticism is the stuff of fairy tales, not science. Take a look at your neighborhood; minus the styles, the cars, and the pointless obsession with worthless things like social networking sites, the species is today just and evolved and spiritual as it has ever been.

      I can't say much in reply other than your position is utterly at odds with all known existing archaeolog

  • NO. it didnt. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unity100 (970058) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @06:20PM (#23612863) Homepage Journal
    this 'burial' theory just ignores the fact that rulers, ruling families, especially the first family of any new kingdom/dynasty etc, had the habit of claiming long standing monuments, legends, traditions as their own, and claiming they were the first, and even order distortion of existing records (if there is any) to that extent.

    this can happen and take unbelievable forms even in civilizations that had long standing history, like egypt. it is too common for pharaohs to deface all mentions of previous pharaohs from even temple hieroglyphs, have scribes rewrite the records.

    one of the most curious examples is the great pyramid. despite it is supposedly the 3rd true pyramid that is built, and it should have all kinds of glyphs, wall art, statues and carvings to nail the legacy of Khufu at every step inside the pyramid, there are NO mentions of khufu's name everywhere but on a small wall glyph (that contains only his name) over where his casket is placed. the king chamber is also curious, it has no kind of wall art, carvings or anything of the sort. this creates a contrast to long standing egypt tradition (even at that date) of adorning every bit of the burial site with all kinds of art and wall carvings and glyphs.

    no sir. experience of mankind through history states that this new find didnt solve any mystery in regard to past of stonehenge.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417)
      That's a quite good argument. Reattributing something you conquer or inherit as your own creation has been a quite common tool in ancient times for kings to justify their claim of the throne. Ramses II was notorious for it.

      PR isn't an invention of today's marketing goons. It's been here long before the advent of the ability to write, but that only made it worse. It is incredible how many documents of Charles the Great exist, the overwhelming majority of which are forgeries. Kings and rulers have been forgin
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by value_added (719364)
        Reattributing something you conquer or inherit as your own creation has been a quite common tool in ancient times for kings to justify their claim of the throne. Ramses II was notorious for it.

        A tool for kings? Perhaps, but my dog does the same with every tree he passes. Lacks the requisite pomp, of course, but no less effective.
    • by c_forq (924234)
      Did you read even the summary? The bodies were there before, during, and after the stones. How do you repurpose a structure before it stands?
      • by unity100 (970058)
        carbon dating methods are not accurate for certain time periods. alternative dating methods are neither too accurate from what i know http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/essays/comp/cw29evolution31011403.htm [hyperhistory.net]

        for example it is believed that the Sphinx is built at the time of the great pyramid. yet, recently a climatologist and a geologist have found evidence that sphinx had experienced erosion in its base that is almost identical to what buildings experience during rainfloods that happen in tropical rainfores
  • hmm.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by robably (1044462) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @06:40PM (#23612989) Journal
    I, for one, welcome our Neolithic Lourdes.
  • by FishandChips (695645) on Saturday May 31, 2008 @07:06PM (#23613201) Journal
    Oh well, another year, another theory about something that's become a dull-looking tourist trap jammed next to a busy main road. Another "explanation" is bound to be along in 2009. Stonehenge is really just a prism for the subconscious preoccupations of the day. One deduces from the latest idea that the UK is now worried about how long its current royal family will last. Surprising really that the archaeologists haven't uncovered "evidence" that the site was constructed under the supervision of a Stone Age health and safety executive. Perhaps next year they'll uncover the remains of a tree stump and declare that a hollow indentation in it is proof positive of the world's first on-site hard hat.
  • European and American (and thereby worldwide) scientists and historians are fond of labeling artifacts and sites "sacred", as if distant peoples' ideas and practices of "sacred" meant the same as what we mean by it today. All "sacred" means universally is "don't touch unless you're a religious authority". And most religious authorities, especially of longer-lived societies, will not change anything given to them already sanctified.

    So "sacred" really is primarily a way for a society to protect something's in
  • The new dates indicate burials began at least 500 years before the first massive stones were erected at the site and continued after it was completed.

    Before Stonehenge there was Strawhenge and Woodhenge...

  • It was King Arthur and the Round Table of course, these kings, who were the lost tribe of Israel as explained by the British Israel movement, they had come to the UK by routes which we no longer know about. They were, like, the original inhabitants. They had powers now lost to us and erected the stones by thinking. They were vegan, lined up their stones with the planets and the ley lines. They were like very ecological and in harmony with the environment. Later they painted themselves purple with natural
  • That all those new agers, wannabe wiccans, shamans and the like, when they thought they were performing their little ceremonies at what they thought was a temple, were actually desecrating a graveyard?

    Ouch.
  • Obviously its a homage to pi. The first geek king?

       
  • "His findings will also appear in the June issue of National Geographic and in the television special "Stonehenge Decoded," to be shown Sunday."

    What a strange coincidence(?)

    An important discovery is announced immediately before the airing of a TV program about Stonehenge featuring the same archeologist's findings.

    The mystical power of those stones is awesome!
  • by Haxx (314221)
    Well, it's about time. Science has finally started putting together logical and sane ideas about Stonehenge with evidence to prove their theory. Maybe now we can leave out Stonehenge on the brainless histories mysteries and UFO programs. Although they still discuss crop circles as alien creations even though my friend Mike is responsible for 3 of them.

    -The first thing we need to ask the first aliens we meet is weather or not they accept Jesus Christ as thier savior!
    • aliens would have used the site as a hunting stand. They first would have built them out of wooden poles, they would have chased the deer into the area and speared them from the platform. Sooner or later they would have dug a ditch in the slippery mud around the platform to slow the escaping animals and increase their success rate. Eventually the poles would decay and they would use stone pillars . All the evidence is there.
  • I would like to believe it is much, much more than that. Marc Loriau
  • It was supposed to read: "This place is not a place of honor... no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here"...

"Pok pok pok, P'kok!" -- Superchicken

Working...