At least some of the people who were buried at Stonehenge died and were cremated far from the site — probably in west Wales about 120 miles away, a new study said.
The finding, published in Scientific Reports, provides a clue to understanding who was buried at the prehistoric monument around 3000 B.C., and how they came to be there.
The cremated remains of more than 50 individuals were first excavated from Stonehenge in the 1920s. Because the remains of these ancient people had been cremated before they were buried, archaeologists at the time decided to dump them all back into one hole.
Nearly 100 years later Christophe Snoeck, a researcher in geochemistry, discovered these burned bones could still talk.
He and his team identified bone fragments belonging to 25 distinct individuals who had been buried at Stonehenge — 10 of whom who had not consumed food grown in the local area alone. The researchers can’t be sure where these 10 people came from, but the strontium isotope ratios in their bones are consistent with a region in west Wales that is known to be the source of some of the stones in the monument.
One possible interpretation is that a group of humans transported stones from west Wales to Stonehenge along with the cremated remains of their dead.
When they raised the stones at Stonehenge, perhaps they buried their dead at the same time, the authors wrote.