Stonehenge feasters came from far and wide. New study unearths clues to Neolithic celebrations

15 03 2019

Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of the earliest large-scale celebrations in Britain – with people and animals travelling hundreds of miles for prehistoric feasting rituals.

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Autumn Equinox Celebrations

Four sites close to Stonehenge and Avebury, including Durrington Walls, Marden, Mount Pleasant and West Kennet Palisade Enclosures hosted feasts which drew people and animals from all over the country.

A study examining the bones of 131 pigs from four Late Neolithic complexes show that the animals came from as far away as Scotland, the North East of England and West Wales, as well as other sites in Britain.

Archaeologists have found people travelled from Scotland, Wales and North England to take part in feasts at Stonehenge.

Researchers believe that those attending the feasts may have wanted to contribute animals raised locally at their homes.

Before this study, the origins of the people who took part in the rituals and the extent of the journeys people would take, have been a mystery.

Stonehenge was ‘hub for Britain’s earliest mass parties’

Study lead Dr Richard Madgwick from the University of Cardiff said: “These gatherings could be seen as the first united cultural events of our island, with people from all corners of Britain descending on the areas around Stonehenge to feast on food that had been specially reared and transported from their homes.”

Dr Madgwick said finding pigs in the vicinity of the feasting sites would have been “relatively easy” making the fact they brought the animals long distances “arguably the most startling finding” as this would have required “a monumental effort”.

“This suggests that prescribed contributions were required and that rules dictated that offered pigs must be raised by the feasting participants, accompanying them on their journey, rather than being acquired locally,” he said.

Related Stonehenge Links:

Study of pig bones shows Stonehenge feasters came from far and wide – SKY NEWS
Stonehenge was ‘hub for Britain’s earliest mass parties’- BBC NEWS
Prehistoric feasts at Stonehenge drew people from across Britain to gather – SALISBURY JOURNAL
Stonehenge mystery UNRAVELLED: DAILY EXPRESS
Neolithic Britons travelled across country for regular mass national feasts 4,500 years ago, new research claims – THE INDEPENDENT
Stonehenge-era pig roasts united ancient Britain, scientists say – NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
Ancient Brits ‘travelled to Stonehenge for raves’ – THE EVENING STANDARD

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Ancient Craft at Stonehenge. Neolithic to Bronze Age living history!

2 03 2019

Ancient Craft will be at Stonehenge to demonstrate Neolithic to Bronze Age living history and crafts! Ancient Craft have decided to have two days focused towards the Neolithic and the second two on the Bronze Age. There will be a camp where you can watch crafts like flintknapping, cordage making, grain grinding, cooking and bronze casting! There will be two experienced prehistoric crafts people to show you lots of different objects and skills from the time of Stonehenge so don’t miss out!

EVENT DATE: 22nd April at 10:00 – 25th April at 16:00

ancient-craft

Details will be available on the English Heritage website soon!

What is AncientCraft?

AncientCraft is dedicated to the archaeology of primitive crafts and technologies during prehistory – mainly focused on the Stone Age and Bronze Age. This includes references to materials such as lithics (also known as “flintknapping”), wood, bone, horn, leather, metals and cloth (linen and wool).

AncientCraft was setup and is run by James Dilley, an archaeologist and craftsman who specialises in prehistoric technologies and has around 16 years experience of flintknapping and other ancient crafts. James has worked with museums and heritage sites such as The British Museum and Stonehenge as well as media companies such as the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Dorling Kindersley publishing. The outreach objective of AncientCraft is to encourage people of all ages to explore prehistory through their own research or by practising prehistoric skills. By working with museums or media outlets it is possible to provide a unique view of prehistoric archaeology as James is an academic at the University of Southampton with a strong practical background. It is this combination of academic understanding of prehistoric archaeology, and strong roots in crafts from the Palaeolithic – Bronze Age that makes AncientCraft one of the most popular prehistoric displays for museums in the UK and Ireland.
Their Facebook page shows some of the things James gets up to with AncientCraft across the UK and Ireland from living history events and workshops to some of the replicas being made for museum displays or film work.
You can also visit the website via www.ancientcraft.co.uk

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