Ancient people came in their thousands from as far away as the Highlands to build Stonehenge and celebrate the winter solstice. Researchers suggest the gatherings were something like “Glastonbury festival and a motorway building scheme at the same time”, as people spent periods each year constructing the site and celebrating massive communal feasts. The findings overturn the belief that Stonehenge was built as an astronomical calendar or observatory, said Professor Mike Parker Pearson, from University College London. It suggests the act itself of building monuments was key to those who constructed the site, uniting people from across Britain. The findings come after a decade of research which included excavations, laboratory work and the analysis of 63 ancient human remains.

Prof Parker Pearson said: “What we have discovered is it’s the building of the thing that’s important. It’s not that they’re coming to worship, they’re coming to construct it.

I believe that it is possible that henges were mouths, complete with teeth and open wide, leading to the underworld. They both drew the dead in and allowed those above ground to converse with what was below the ground. A lot of henges were deliberately covered up with earth and rubble when they were no longer needed and I wonder if this was a deliberate stopping up of the mouth so that nothing and nobody could go in or out anymore.

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