Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Stonehenge burial pit for the Neolithic elite contains a 'surprising' number of women: Find suggests females played a key role in the society and had same rights as men

  • Researchers found 99 lbs (45kg) of cremated bone in a Stonehenge pit
  • They have identified 14 females and nine males with the help of CT scans 
  • This contrasts with studied from other Neolithic tombs in southern Britain
  • Find shows women were among the elite buried at the stone monument and were given the same right and treatment as men in the community

Christie Willis, from the University College London and an expert on human remains,
sorted through bone fragments (example shown left) from the famous site.
Other members of the team are shown right near the pit. She identified 14 females and nine males,
with the help of CT scans and osteological analysis

Caricatures of Stone Age man may cast him as a bit of a brute, and few depictions of Stonehenge across art work and TV feature images of women.
But a burial pit found at Stonehenge challenges this view by revealing a 'surprising' number of females among those cremated at the Wiltshire site.
Researchers have spent years sifting through and analysing the remains of adults found at the monument to discover that, to their astonishment, more bones belonged to women than men.

The find contrasts with earlier studies from older Neolithic tombs in southern Britain, where burials showed a higher ratio of adult males to females.
But it supports the theory that Stonehenge functioned as a cemetery for leaders, according to a report published in the latest issue of British Archaeology.

The paper explained that between 100 and 200 people are said to have been buried across the Stonehenge site during the late Neolithic and copper age.
This study, however, focused particularly on a pit known as Aubrey Hole seven - one of 56 chalk pits encircling the famous ancient site.
Burials at Stonehenge were likely for people of higher status so this this study shows women were members of the elite as long ago as 2,000 BC.

The Stonehenge Tourist Blog

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