A settlement dump a few miles from Stonehedge has revealed secrets about the lives of the people who built the famous stone circle in southern England. This is what the British newspaper “The Guardian” wrote.
Stonehenge was probably built around 2500 BC. Its builders likely lived in a settlement about two miles away, in the town of Durrington Walls. Researchers believe that the builders lived there mainly during the winter months, and the settlement could have been used for ten to fifty years.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge examined human faeces found in what was once the Darrington Wells landfill. And they found in it parasitic eggs, which could provide new insight into the diet of the builders of Stonehenge. Professor Pierce Mitchell of the University of Cambridge, who was involved in the study, said: “It is the oldest parasitic infection that has been discovered in Britain where we know the origin of a person who has gone to the toilet.”
Stool analysis showed that they came from four dogs and one human. Eggs were found in all samples of the trichinella parasitic worm, a parasite currently found in cattle. According to the researchers, this finding indicates that the builders of Stonehenge – and their dogs – ate undercooked droppings from infected cattle. “This indicates that they ate the internal organs of livestock, especially the liver, because that is where these parasites live. It was not as if they were scraping the meat off the bone and throwing the rest away.” “It also appears that they shared their food with their four-legged friends, or at least gave them leftovers.”
Previous finds in Durrington Walls showed that residents threw winter parties with plenty of meat on the menu. “There’s also early evidence of milk and cheese and that kind of cool stuff,” Professor Mitchell said.
The droppings provide a rare glimpse into the lives of the people in this settlement some 4,500 years ago. Archaeologist Mike Bates in The Guardian explains the significance of this discovery: “Very little has been preserved, so every new window you can open in the past is very valuable,” he says.
It turns out that parasites in feces come from cattle, not pigs, is another insight into life from several thousand years ago. Pork has been identified as the main source of nutrition in previous studies. The fact that the residents of Durrington Walls also ate beef may indicate that it was a busy and complicated place, where people of different customs gathered together for the great building of the stone circle.
Unlimited free access to Showbytes? And that can!
Sign in or create an account and never miss a thing from the stars.
“Twitter junkie. Lifelong communicator. Award-winning analyst. Subtly charming internetaholic.”