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Analysis of small fragments of cremated human bone from an early phase of the site's history around BC, when it was mainly used as a cemetery, showed that at least 10 of the 25 people did not live near Stonehenge prior to their death. Instead, they found the highest strontium isotope ratios in the remains were consistent with living in western Britain, a region that includes west Wales -- the known source of Stonehenge's bluestones.
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Although strontium isotope ratios alone cannot distinguish between places with similar values, this connection suggests west Wales as the most likely origin of at least some of these people. While the Welsh connection was known for the stones, the study shows that people were also moving between west Wales and Wessex in the Late Neolithic, and that some of their remains were buried at Stonehenge.
The results emphasise the importance of inter-regional connections involving the movement of both materials and people in the construction and use of Stonehenge, providing rare insight into the large scale of contacts and exchanges in the Neolithic, as early as years ago. Lead author Christophe Snoeck said: 'The recent discovery that some biological information survives the high temperatures reached during cremation up to degrees Celsius offered us the exciting possibility to finally study the origin of those buried at Stonehenge.
John Pouncett, a lead author on the paper and Spatial Technology Officer at Oxford's School of Archaeology, said: 'The powerful combination of stable isotopes and spatial technology gives us a new insight into the communities who built Stonehenge. The cremated remains from the enigmatic Aubrey Holes and updated mapping of the biosphere suggest that people from the Preseli Mountains not only supplied the bluestones used to build the stone circle, but moved with the stones and were buried there too.
Commenting on how they came to develop the innovative technique, Prof Julia Lee-Thorp, Head of Oxford's School of Archaeology and an author on the paper, said: 'This new development has come about as the serendipitous result of Dr Snoeck's interest in the effects of intense heat on bones, and our realization that that heating effectively "sealed in" some isotopic signatures. The technique could be used to improve our understanding of the past using previously excavated ancient collections, Dr Schulting said: 'Our results highlight the importance of revisiting old collections.
The cremated remains from Stonehenge were first excavated by Colonel William Hawley in the s, and while they were not put into a museum, Col Hawley did have the foresight to rebury them in a known location on the site, so that it was possible for Mike Parker Pearson UCL Institute of Archaeology and his team to re-excavate them, allowing various analytical methods to be applied.
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Lee-Thorp, Rick J. Strontium isotope analysis on cremated human remains from Stonehenge support links with west Wales. Scientific Reports , ; 8 1 DOI: When Doggerland was submerged they migrated to what is now mainland Britain, where they built Stonehenge as a memorial to Atlantis. Paul Dunbavin in his Atlantis of the West [ ] and Towers of Atlantis [ ] promotes the idea of a megalithic Atlantis centred off the coast of Wales in what is now the Irish Sea. While not a new idea, a megalithic connection with Atlantis has recently been given further attention by the French writer Sylvain Tristan who was inspired by Jean Deruelle and Alan Butler.
Alfred deGrazia also joined this club as well as the German author Helmut Tributsch who has added his support to the idea of a megalithic Atlantis, specifically locating its capital on the island of Gavrinis in Brittany. A similar claim has been made by Hank Harrison who also believes that the Morbihan region was an important Atlantean centre if not the location of its capital. Robert Temple has recently offered grudging support for the concept of Atlantean megalith builders.
Recently, lower waters in a Spanish reservoir revealed once more the impressive stone Dolmen-de-Guadalperal, situated roughly halfway between Madrid and the Portuguese border z. Efforts are being made to ensure its preservation before the water levels rise again. As far as I am aware classical writers make no obvious reference to the megalith builders, nor has this omission been commented on by modern writers. However, the numerous indirect references to Atlantis by the same ancient writers are deemed inadequate, which seems consistent with a dearth of information regarding early history.
It appears to me that other questions that have not been definitively answered relate to the identity of the megalith builders, why they stopped building and what happened to them.
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Another thought is that if the megalith builders lived at the same time as the Atlanteans, is it not strange that both disappeared around the same time, or did they? Parallel with the megaliths of the eastern Atlantic seaboard are the megaliths of North America. Who built them and when?
Are they evidence of very early pre-Columbian voyagers from Europe? A paper d published in September gives a good overview of megalithic studies during the past few decades. Much nonsense has been written about the megalith builders, particularly on the Internet, where you find daft ideas such as attributing their construction to aliens a. A valuable website dealing with the global spread of megalithic monuments, is The Megalithic Portal established by Andy Burnham g , which has regular updates.
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Other useful sites are Stone Pages h and Megalithic Ireland i. Another site worth a look is from Sjur C.
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