New clues from ancient poop reveal new information about the feasts that Stonehenge's builders enjoyed more than 4500 years ago

Saturday, May 21, 2022
author picture Mia Chevalier
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Durrington Walls Stonehenge

If you have never been to Durrington Walls Stonehenge‚ you are missing out on a spectacular site. The massive stone monument is located just outside the town‚ in a valley. The pit circle is approximately four kilometers long and one kilometre wide. It is the largest of its kind in England. Its massive size has prompted some scholars to suggest that it may have been erected in the Bronze Age. The pit circle was built to house the builders of Stonehenge‚ as the pit circles are.

An illustration of prehistoric people cooking in Durrington Walls (left) seen next to a parasite egg (right) found in preserved feces found near the site.English Heritage/Evilena Anastasiou/University of Cambridge/Insider Scientists have discovered new evidence from prehistoric poop dating back to 4‚500 years‚ which provides clues as to the celebrations held during Stonehenge's construction. Scientists analysed coprolites‚ partially fossilized feces left behind by people at the Durrington Walls settlement. These are believed to be the places where human beings remained during construction of the huge stone monument in south England. The study‚ published in the. Parasitology a peer-reviewed journal on friday the first time that Stonehenge workers were seen eating raw meat -- the organs of the animal -- was by‚ Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations - June 21st‚ 2021 (Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images).

Stonehenges‚ a prehistoric party city at Durrington Walls

According to archeologists‚ the Durrington Walls‚ located about 1.7 miles away from Stonehenge was where ritual celebrations took place in the stone circle's construction. Google Earth/Insider There is evidence to suggest that neolithic people came from every corner of England in the winter to build this stone monument. It was not clear that they lived there for long periods of time. Their crops were grown in summer‚ and they lived in south Britain. Then they moved to Durrington walls during winter‚ Piers Mitchell of the Cambridges Department of Archaeology said to Insider. It was comprised hundreds of chalk and wood houses‚ surrounded by large ceremonial structures made of wood pillars. Durrington Walls was more striking than Stonehenge to anyone at the time. Michael Parker Pearson‚ an archaeologist who worked on Durrington Walls and the author of Insider‚ said that it would have looked spectacular. It would have been spectacular Illustration of the wood structure at Durrington walls‚ 2500 BC. English Heritage/Peter Lorimer This huge gathering was marked by extravagant feasts. Over roaring fires‚ cows and pigs were roast on pits. There is evidence that pigs were killed with arrows rather than being slaughtered. Susan Greaney‚ an English heritage archaeologist‚ suggested that there could have been sporting games or demonstrations of strength at Stonehenge. She wasn't part in the study. Parker Pearson stated that the food was so abundant‚ bones with meat attached were placed on rubbish piles and left-overs were handed to dogs. He said that this is an extravaganza of meat festivals. This is a party-based site that attracts people from far away. Illustration of Durrington Walls‚ circa 2500 BCEnglish Heritage/Peter Lorimer

Uncovering the menu

Mitchell stated that until this study was done‚ nobody knew if someone was eating offal. It is very rare to find evidence of prehistoric culinary practices. While food tends to dissolve over time‚ parasite eggs may provide crucial clues about the life of people who have no written record. One of five coprolites contained eggs from parasitic worms. The other four were human. Durrington Walls.Lisa-Marie Shillito. Mitchell stated that the parasites found in human feces could have been from infected animals' raw organs. Greaney stated that we knew they were eating cattle and pigs‚ so it was not surprising they were eating all parts of an animal. She said that this is the first evidence we have. These parasite eggs were discovered by scientists in prehistoric feces at Durrington Walls. The black bar represent 20 micrometers.Evilena Anastasiou/University of Cambridge Also‚ the dog's poop contained freshwater fish parasites. It could indicate that the dog came from an area with lakes in England. Greaney stated that this was not surprising because archaeologists believed fish consumption was forbidden at the time. Perhaps because of cremated bodies‚ Greaney suggested. She said that it was a big leap from one dog eating one type of fish to saying people are fishing. It raises interesting questions. Read the original article on. Business insider