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Exploring the lives of the Stonehenge builders
Friday 20 October 2017

An article on the BBC - Stonehenge builders 'ate food from Scotland' - reports that a new exhibition at the famous Neolithic site in Wiltshire reveals that the 'army of builders' of Stonehenge ate animals brought from as far away as the north east of Scotland.

Stonehenge Bradshaw Foundation
Stonehenge

Analysis of pig and cattle teeth has revealed some of the animals were from as far as 500 miles away.

Stonehenge Bradshaw Foundation
Image: English Heritage/PA

The "Feast! Food at Stonehenge" exhibition includes the skull of an aurochs (above, right), an extinct species of cattle. The exhibition allows visitors to explore diet from 4,500 years ago. 

English Heritage historian Susan Greany explains that the exhibition "explores the important role feasts and food played at Stonehenge. Raising the ancient stones was an incredible feat but so too was feeding the army of builders".

Stonehenge Bradshaw Foundation
Image: English Heritage/PA

The displays reveal research and stories from a 'Feeding Stonehenge' project, which has been exploring the lives of the people who lived at the nearby settlement of Durrington Walls.

Stonehenge Bradshaw Foundation
Image: English Heritage/PA

The researchers say thousands of discarded animal bones and teeth excavated at Durrington Walls suggest it was not a typical village but a site of major feasting and ceremony.

Stonehenge Bradshaw Foundation
Image: English Heritage/PA

Five re-created Neolithic houses at Stonehenge reveal the type of homes the builders of the ancient monument might have lived in four and half thousand years ago.

Article continues below
Article continues

Far from being dark and primitive, the homes of our distant ancestors were incredibly bright and airy spaces and consisted of a single room measuring 5 metres on each side with white chalk walls and floors designed to reflect sunlight and capture the heat from the fire. The smoke from the fire filtered up through a thatched roof - knotted or tied straw carefully secured onto a hazel woven frame. Around the walls stood wooden or woven furniture - beds, seating, storage and shelving.

Stonehenge Bradshaw Foundation
Image: English Heritage/PA

The re-created houses are closely based on the remains of Neolithic houses discovered during excavations in 2006 and 2007 at Durrington Walls, a large ceremonial earthwork enclosure, just over a mile to the north-east of Stonehenge. Radiocarbon dating showed that these buildings were built at around the same time as the large sarsen stones were being put up at Stonehenge, in approximately 2,500 BC. Experts believe the original occupants might have been involved with the construction of and celebrations at Stonehenge.

Read more:
Stonehenge - the Age of the Megaliths

Read more:
Stonehenge

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WORLD HERITAGE
Moving the stones of Stonehenge
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 16 July 2019
Adoranten 2018
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 20 June 2019
Modern sculpture meets ancient Greece
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 08 May 2019
The origin of megaliths
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 12 February 2019
Art and the Pacific with James Fox
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 06 September 2018
Constructing the Rapa Nui moai
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 06 June 2018
Is art for pleasure or politics?
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 29 March 2018
Civilisations on BBC2
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 01 March 2018
International Digital Preservation
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 30 November 2017
Exploring the lives of the Stonehenge builders
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 20 October 2017
Exploring belief through objects
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 11 October 2017
New Exhibition at the British Museum
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 04 October 2017
Neolithic Gathering and Feasting at Gobekli Tepe
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 03 August 2017
Swabian Jura on UNESCO World Heritage List
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 10 July 2017
Tension at Stonehenge
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 24 January 2017
Plan for Stonehenge tunnel finalised
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 12 January 2017
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