What did the builders of Stonehenge like to eat?What did the builders of Stonehenge like to eat?

Stonehenge is perhaps the most famous henge in the world – the name given to prehistoric stone or wooden circles. The builders of the site are thought to have gathered nearby at a settlement called Durrington Walls, which dates back to around 2500 BC. Where’s the pork? The researchers gleaned insights from a massive haul of animal bones found at Durrington Walls, explains Umberto Albarella, a zooarchaeologist at the University of Sheffield. Such studies shed light on the behavior of the inhabitants of Durrington Walls – the supposed builders of Stonehenge – and help archaeologists reconstruct what their daily lives may have been like. “The most remarkable thing is that most of the animal remains come from pigs,” says Albarella, adding that pigs make up about 90 percent of the bones. Pork was especially plentiful then and seemed popular. Cattle provided another source of sustenance, while some evidence has been found of the consumption of tur, an ancient wild ancestor of cows. It is quite certain that pigs and cattle were domesticated animals, Albarella adds. Read more: How hunter-gatherers used the land around Stonehenge Durrington Walls is a gathering place Researchers believe there was a permanent settlement at Durrington Walls, but it also attracted people from across the region for ceremonies and seasonal celebrations. Evidence shows that these travelers brought with them livestock from far and wide to provide meat for feasts. “We can also imagine a situation where it looks like there was a big roast pig,” says Albarella. “There is also quite a bit of evidence of fires at the site.” Additionally, research suggests some of the pigs were killed at a young age, suggesting planned and seasonal consumption. Read more: Stonehenge may be an ancient solar calendar Last year, another study offered even more evidence of dietary habits at Durrington Walls, thanks to ancient parasites found in human and dog faeces. These parasites – or coprolites – provide clues that previous archaeological finds have not. Analysis of the preserved faeces showed that “individuals ate the internal organs of livestock,” says Piers Mitchell, a professor in the Department of Archeology at the University of Cambridge and lead author of the study. Given the presence of parasites, the offal was probably undercooked. “They didn’t just eat the pieces of steak… they ate everything.” Read more: Medieval monks were full of worms Durrington’s walls were also a feeding ground Curiously, one of the dog samples found coprolites associated with freshwater fish , but it is not certain where they come from. “This means the dog probably ate raw freshwater fish and then became infected,” says Mitchell. Since some people were only at Stonehenge for short periods of time, it is possible that the dog in question ate it elsewhere, he continued, as there is no other evidence that Stonehenge’s builders consumed fish during their festivals. Although some evidence of fruit and seed consumption – from apples, cherries and other wild fruits – was found at the site, it appears that the Durrington Wall peoples preferred meat. “There’s not much in the way of plants. So it looks like it must have been a pretty heavy meat diet,” Albarella continues. Albarella sees these types of studies as having even more significance than simply shedding light on dietary habits during the Neolithic. “There is so much evidence in the past, both in history and in archaeology, of wars and people fighting each other,” he says, adding that Stonehenge and the Durrington Walls site, however, were clearly places where people they come from far away to participate in rituals and festivals. “It’s good to see that we can reconstruct something that brought people together and not against each other.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *