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Prof Parker-Pearson showcases winter solstice ritual at Stonehenge on Channel 4

DSCN0334In 'Secrets of the Stonehenge Skeletons', broadcast on Channel 4 (10 March 2013) Professor Parker Pearson show-cases the evidence that finally proves Stonehenge was once the place for vast communal feasts on the winter solstice attended by thousands of people, with people coming from as far afield as highland Scotland to celebrate.

This evidence confirms earlier work where I have argued that Stonehenge, and nearby Durrington Walls, were both sites at which ritual was practiced at winter solstice, with people coming from all ends of the country to participate in this great festival.

Professor Mike Parker Pearson and his team have tested cattle and pig teeth found among 80,000 animal bones from the huge henge of Durrington Walls near Stonehenge and the film reveals that the animals were slaughtered in winter, nine months after their spring birth. This evidence points to the winter solstice as being a time for feasting on an unprecedented scale.

Mike and his team also prove through further isotope testing of the teeth of animals that people came with their animals to feast at Stonehenge from all corners of Britain - as far afield as highland Scotland. Therefore, Stonehenge attracted and unified people from all over the country - and maybe from further afield too.

Parker Pearson said: “Although we finished digging at Stonehenge in 2009, the most surprising results have come out only now because of the detailed and painstaking laboratory work that has taken years to complete. Even now, more still remains to be done and there will no doubt be future surprises in store. It’s a very exciting time for scientific developments in archaeology.”

Find out more here.

See my article in 3rd Stone here.