Who Built Stonehenge? Cremation Ashes Yield Clues


Despite a century of scientific scrutiny, the 5000-year old Neolithic monument in southern England known as Stonehenge has yielded few secrets about the people buried amidst its ring of towering rocks.

Most of their remains were cremated, leaving only ashes, a few bone fragments, and an archeological dead-end.

But a eureka moment discovery by Christophe Snoeck, a University of Oxford graduate student at the time, revealed that many probably came from as far afield as Wales in western Britain, source of the bluestone used to carve Stonehenge’s mysterious and entrancing monuments.

Some of these pre-historic wayfarers — who may have helped transport the massive stones — were cremated before their ashes were laid to rest, Snoeck and colleagues reported in a study published Thursday in Scientific Reports.

Others may have died on the job, or settled near Stonehenge to finish their days.