Monday, September 22nd, 2008
The recent Stonehenge dig is already revising historical assumptions. Radiocarbon dating of bluestone fragments indicates that the first ring of stones was erected 300 years later than previously thought.
Until now, the consensus view for the date of the first stone circle was anywhere between 2600BC and 2400BC. [...]
The dig unearthed about 100 pieces of organic material from the original bluestone sockets, now buried under the monument. Of these, 14 were selected to be sent for modern carbon dating, at Oxford University.
The result – 2300BC – is the most reliable date yet for the erection of the first bluestones.
The professors in charge of the excavation, Tim Darvill and Geoff Wainwright, think this dating supports their theory of Stonehenge as temple of health, a “Neolithic Lourdes”. I’m not sure why, exactly.
The article mentions the “Amesbury Archer” dates to this same time frame. The profs think he dragged his cookies to Stonehenge to get a cure, but even if it we knew for sure he was buried after the bluestones went up (which we don’t, and most likely won’t be able to find out until dating technology gets a lot more specific), I don’t see how we could know his reasons.
Other theories fit the data as well, like the burial ground theory.