Σάββατο, 3 Μαΐου 2014
Stonehenge discovery rewrites history books
As the closest town to one of Britain’s most famous landmarks, it has long been left in the shadow of Stonehenge. But now it can now lay claim to its own place in the history books.
Amesbury, in Wiltshire, has been declared the oldest town in continuous settlement in Britain, following a landmark discovery by archaeologists.
Researchers also uncovered a series of clues about the lifestyles of the early residents. Findings suggest they ate frogs’ legs long before the practice became common in France.
The title of the longest continuous settlement was previously held by Thatcham, 40 miles to the east of the village.
The research found that Amesbury has been continually occupied for more than a thousand years longer than its Berkshire rival.
The research by the University of Buckingham found that Amesbury had been continually lived in since 8820 BC - 1120 years earlier than Thatcham, which has been consistently occupied since 7700 BC.
The researchers said the discovery helps to explain for the first time why Stonehenge was built where it was - around two miles from the modern day town.
It tracks the activities of the people who were responsible for building the first monuments at Stonehenge, which were made of giant pine posts. It shows that the same communities continued to occupy the area for a further 3,000 years, close to the dawn of the Neolithic era when the stone monuments was first built.
David Jacques, research fellow in archaeology at the university, who led the dig, said the discovery “blows the lid off” the traditional understanding of Stonehenge, helping to explain why it was built on the site where it stands today.
“It provides evidence for people staying put, clearing land, building and presumably worshipping monuments.
“The area was clearly a hub point for people to come to from many miles away, and in many ways was a forerunner for what later went on at Stonehenge itself. The first monuments at Stonehenge were built by these people.
“For years people have been asking 'why is Stonehenge where it is?’ Now, at last, we have found the answers.”
The origins of Amesbury emerged as a result of carbon dating bones of aurochs - animal twice the size of bulls, wild boar and red deer - following an archaeological dig at Vespasian’s Camp, Blick Mead, a mile-and-a-half from Stonehenge.
The findings show that the parish of Amesbury has been continually occupied for every millennia since 8,820 BC.
Archaeologists say the results provide the missing link between the erection of the pine posts between 8,820 and 6,590BC, and of Stonehenge in 3,000BC.
The findings provide evidence which suggests that Stonehenge, rather than being seen as a neolithic new build in an empty landscape, should be viewed as a response to long-term use of the area by indigenous hunters and home-makers.
They come after a separate excavation in 2002 which discovered the grave of a Bronze Age man dubbed The Amesbury Archer because of the many arrowheads buried with him.
Further findings appear to shed light on the persistent use of domestic farming techniques at Blick Mead, now believed to be used by settled communities rather than nomadic peoples.
The dig, which took place in October, also unearthed the largest haul of worked flints from the Mesolithic period.
Bill Dunn, spokesman for the Amesbury History Centre, said: “We have always known Amesbury as somewhere special and this confirms it.”
πηγή : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/archaeology/10801847/Stonehenge-discovery-rewrites-history-books.html