Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Lourdes of ancient Britain? Dig aims to reveal Stonehenge's purpose
The first excavation for more than a generation at Stonehenge began yesterday, looking for evidence that the most famous prehistoric monument in the world was the Lourdes of the bronze age, where the sick and troubled sought healing from the supernatural power of bluestones brought from west Wales.

Although the trench will be only 3.5 metres long and a metre deep, archaeologists expect to find the foundation holes of the very first stone circle, built more than 4,500 years ago and then altered over centuries. With luck they will find enough organic material, including pollen grains, snail shells and fragments of the antler tools of the builders, using techniques developed since the last excavations, to allow them to date the monument accurately.