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Elmer Fudd BS: ancient village found near Stonehenge (46) BS: ancient village found near Stonehenge 30 Jan 07

Archeologists have uncovered what may have been a village for workers or festival-goers near the mysterious stone circle called Stonehenge in England. The village was located at Durrington Walls, about three kilometres from Stonehenge, and is also the location of a wooden version of the stone circle.

Eight houses have been excavated, and the researchers believe there were at least 25 of them, archeologist Mike Parker Pearson said Tuesday at a briefing held by the U.S. National Geographic Society.

The village was carbon dated to about 2600 BC., about the same time Stonehenge was built. The Great Pyramid in Egypt was also built about then, said Mr. Parker Pearson of Sheffield University.

Archeologists' trenches reveal clay floors of Neolithic houses at Durrington Walls, occupied by the builders of Stonehenge. Hundreds of people once lived in the enormous ancient settlement in the Stonehenge World Heritage site, said the team of archeologists, partly financed by the National Geographic Society and by the English Heritage. The small wooden houses had a central hearth, he said, and are almost identical to stone houses built in the Orkney Islands.

The researchers speculated that Durrington Walls was a place for the living and Stonehenge where several cremated remains have been found was a cemetery and memorial. Both are connected to the Avon River by paths they called avenues.

Mr. Parker Pearson said remains of stone tools, animal bones, arrowheads and other artifacts were uncovered in the village. Remains of pigs indicated that they were about nine months old when killed, which would mark a midwinter festival, he said.

Mr. Parker Pearson said Stonehenge was oriented to face the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset, while the wooden circle at Durrington Walls faced the midwinter sunrise and midsummer sunset.

Source: Associated Press

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