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A new archaeological expedition has pinpointed the date of Stonehenge’s construction – at least the stone bit – at 2300 BCE. No doubt bugging all those people who have written in the past that Stonehenge was built before the Great Pyramid.

Also covered in the story is this new concept of the famous megalithic site being the ‘ancient Lourdes’ – a place of pilgrimage for those seeking healing:

Professors Darvill and Wainwright believe that Stonehenge was a centre of healing – a “Neolithic Lourdes”, to which the sick and injured travelled from far and wide, to be healed by the powers of the bluestones.

They note that “an abnormal number” of the corpses found in tombs nearby Stonehenge display signs of serious physical injury and disease. And analysis of teeth recovered from graves show that “around half” of the corpses were from people who were “not native to the Stonehenge area”.

A further twist to the story is the importance (or not) of the Amesbury Archer:

Intriguingly, the date range ties in closely with the date for the burial of the so-called “Amesbury Archer”, whose tomb was discovered three miles from Stonehenge. Some archaeologists believe the Archer is the key to understanding why Stonehenge was built.

Analyses of his corpse and artefacts from his grave indicate he was a wealthy and powerful man, with knowledge of metal working, who had travelled to Salisbury from Alpine Europe, for reasons unknown.

The new expedition has been filmed by the BBC Timewatch series, and the resulting documentary will be broadcast this Saturday, 27th of September. Should be fascinating.

Previously on TDG: Stonehenge the “Neolithic Lourdes”?