from The New York Times
Stonehenge Begins to Yield Its Secrets
Discoveries in the past decade have revealed more about the people for whom Stonehenge and nearby monuments held great meaning.
AMESBURY, England — About 6,300 years ago, a tree here toppled over.
For the ancients in this part of southern England, it created a prime real estate opportunity — next to a spring and near attractive hunting grounds.
According to David Jacques, an archaeologist at the University of Buckingham, mud was pressed into the pulled-up roots, turning them into a wall. Nearby, a post was inserted into a hole, and that may have held up a roof of reeds or animal skin.
It was, he said, a house, one of the earliest in England.
Last month, in the latest excavation at a site known as Blick Mead, Mr. Jacques and his team dug a trench 40 feet long, 23 feet wide and 5 feet deep, examining this structure and its surroundings. They found a hearth with chunks of heat-cracked flint, pieces of bone, flakes of flint used for arrowheads and cutting tools, and ocher pods that may have been used as a pigment.
“There’s noise here,” Mr. Jacques said, imagining the goings-on in 4300 B.C. “There’s people here doing stuff. Just like us. Same kids and worries.”
About a mile away is Stonehenge.
For Mr. Jacques, the house is part of the story of Stonehenge, even though the occupants of the Blick Mead home never saw that assemblage of massive stones. The beginnings of Stonehenge were more than a millennium in the future.
But Blick Mead, he said, helps fill in the sweep of hunter-gatherers who became farmers and then built Stonehenge and other prehistoric monuments dotting the English countryside.
“This is the first unknown chapter of Stonehenge,” Mr. Jacques said.
[ click to continue reading at NYT ]