Secrets surrounding 5,000-year-old Stonehenge revealed in ancient fossilized OOP
The mystery of Stonehenge has confused archaeologists for decades, but a detailed picture of people who visited the site around 5,000 years ago is slowly being revealed
More secrets surrounding the Stonehenge mystery may have finally been revealed after archaeologists uncover an ancient ‘poo’.
Archaeologists have unearthed a fossilized stool from the site, believed to have been built around 5,000 years ago, implying that ancient Britons lived off offal.
Research also suggests they fed the remains to the dogs.
The poo has been found in the eggs of tapeworms, a parasite that enters the body by eating undercooked meat, suggesting that we eat the internal organs of cattle such as the heart, kidneys, liver and tongue.
Although a relatively earth-shattering find, a silver lining can be found in the secondary find.
The remains of the deliciously parasitized food were fed to the dogs, which also became infected. Obviously, this isn’t the silver part of the story, but it highlights the fact that dogs have been man’s best friend for millennia.
Indeed, traces of Alsatians have already been found near Stonehenge.
Lisa-Marie Shillito / SWNS)
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The find is the first evidence in the UK where the host species that produced the parasitic droppings has also been identified.
Lead author Dr Piers Mitchell, from the University of Cambridge, said: “This is the first time that intestinal parasites have been recovered from Neolithic Britain, and finding them in the environment of Stonehenge is really something.
“The type of pests we find are consistent with previous evidence of winter feasting by animals during the construction of Stonehenge.”
In fact, less than two miles away stand the walls of Durrington, a Stone Age settlement dating from around 2500 BC. which is said to have housed the people who erected Stonehenge.
Archaeologists analyzed 19 pieces of dung, or “coprolite”, unearthed from the Wiltshire community that had been preserved for more than 4,500 years.
Five samples contained parasitic worm eggs and four (including one human) were from a species known as capillariidae.
This suggests that the person had eaten raw or undercooked lungs or liver from an already infected animal, hence why the parasite eggs passed through the body and emerged.
Co-author Dr Evilena Anastasiou, also from Cambridge, said: “The discovery of capillariid worm eggs in human and canine coprolites indicates that people had eaten the internal organs of infected animals and also donated the remains to their dogs.”
University of Cambridge / SWNS)
Dr Mitchell said: “As capillariid worms can infect cattle and other ruminants, it appears cows were the most likely source of the parasite eggs.”
During the excavation, the team discovered pottery and stone tools in the main trash heap, as well as more than 38,000 animal bones, around 90% of which were from pigs.
Less than 10% came from cows, with previous analyzes of cow teeth from Durrington Walls suggesting some cattle were herded over 60 miles from Devon or Wales for large banquets.
Research indicates that the cows were primarily ground for stew and had their bone marrow extracted, based on butchery patterns on their bones.
The large number of pottery and animal bones imply that Durrington Walls was a place of feasting and habitation, but with little to suggest people ate or lived there, Stonehenge’s purpose remains an enigma.
Professor Mike Parker Pearson, of University College London, who excavated the walls of Durrington between 2005 and 2007, added: “This new evidence tells us something new about the people who came here for the holidays. winter during the construction of Stonehenge.
“Pork and beef were roasted on a spit or boiled in clay pots, but it seems the offal was not always cooked so well.
“People didn’t eat freshwater fish at Durrington Walls, so they must have caught the tapeworms in their home colonies.”
Stonehenge dates back 5,000 years, but was built in several stages. The single circle was erected at the end of the Neolithic, or Stone Age, around 2500 BC.
The results are in the journal Parasitology.