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VUB-researcher solves hundred-year-old Stonehenge-the riddle

At least 10 of the 25 people who are around Stonehenge were buried, were not native to the region of Wessex, where the ancient structure was erected. Some have probably lived in West Wales where the blue stones came from. This is a mystery solved that for nearly a hundred years the archaeologists involved.

The cremated remains were originally in 56 pits which has an outer circle forms around the still upright standing inner part of Stonehenge. They were excavated between 1919 and 1926. All together were 58 individuals counted, but because at that time do not know what to commence with the beendermateriaal, the remains were all together and reburied in pit number 7, one of the 56 pits.

Earliest stage

That pit was in 2008 heropgegraven, then measured a bit had to be the individuals back to separate. In that exercise were with certainty 25 different burials numbered, dated between 3180 and 2380 Bc, while the oldest part of the construction of the monument.

During this earliest phase was built with blue stone, of which one had previously suspected that that was from West Wales, some 200 miles from Stonehenge removed. Some of these massive blue stones are still upright in the today visible monument. For the more recent phase of construction of Stonehenge were large limestone used, which is not more than 20 kilometers to the north of the site were mined.

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New research from an international team of scientists, under the leadership of Christophe Snoeck of the Analytical, Environmental & Geo-Chemistry-department of the VUB, it now appears that the people from whom the cremated bones were, their lives were spent in West Wales. During his life makes a living being the minerals from his environment through his power’, explains Snoeck in Scientific Report. ‘By the ratio Strontiumisotopen in a certain place to measure and compare it with the ratio that is present in cremated bones, you can fairly accurately determine where a particular individual in the last ten years of his life lived in it.”

If bones are burned, the ratio of the Strontium retained. ‘That Strontium-isotope ratios is at least ten of the cremated people do not agree with the values that we have in Stonehenge. Some have a profile that is relatively good match with the values that we in West Wales. There is a small chance that they are further away, because also in other parts of the West of England, Scotland, Ireland and even in continental Europe are similar Strontiunverhoudingen measured. But the chance that they are the Channel crossing, is very small.’

Mixed profile

At least a part of the other individuals were from a region with a radius of about 15 kilometres around Stonehenge. Here and there there was also an individual with a mixed profile, which may indicate that he or she is in the course of the years has moved from one place to the other, or that he is in both places lived in it.

Snoeck also did research to koolstofisotopen, that can give information about the place where the cremation took place. From that research it appears that perhaps a portion of the cremations are not in the vicinity of Stonehenge itself happened, but rather in the places where the buried people came from. Already during the excavations in the years 20 noted archaeologist Hawley that some of the remains in leather or other organic materials, packaged wares, which could indicate that they cremated were, where they lived, and afterwards transported to Stonehenge for it to be buried.

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