Washington, July 9 : Research at Stonehenge has established that, in addition to being a place of ceremony connected with the sun and moon, it also was a center of mortuary rituals.
According to a report in Columbus Dispatch, University of Sheffield archaeologist Mike Pearson has even said that Stonehenge was in fact the biggest cemetery of its time.
"I think the key thing is that from the moment that Stonehenge is built, this is very shortly after 3,000 B.C. they're putting in burials as well as the parts of the monument itself. And I think it's something that is going hand in hand with it," said Pearson.
He referred to alternative theories, including Bournemouth University archaeologist Timothy Darvill's idea that Stonehenge was a place of healing, as in no way inconsistent with the site also serving as a cemetery.
A place devoted to the ancestors naturally could have a variety of secondary uses, such as invoking their spirits to help with problems the community faced, according to Pearson.
The astronomical cycles encoded in the alignments of the stones could have been a way of determining the most favorable times for ceremonies as well as charging the monument with cosmic energy, he added.