Newly analyzed pottery fragments found at Stonehenge hint that whatever the excuse for gathering there — temple, healing ceremony, parliament — once everyone arrived it was the site of some colossal Neolithic ragers.
A chemical analysis of the fragments published in the October issue of Cambridge’s Antiquity shows evidence of pork, beef, and dairy products, with ceremonial spaces used almost exclusively for dairy. That could mean that milks, yogurts, and cheeses were food for the high class (even 3,000 years before Christ, there were 1 percenters) or that dairy was used in public ceremonies.
We’ve known for years that most of the animal bones buried around the monument were of strange origin, meaning people likely traveled hundreds of miles to visit the mysterious monument. This hints that they were less random individual pilgrimages and more planned gatherings. Most of the pigs slaughtered at the site were killed before reaching their maximum weight and cooked in boiling and roasting pots useful in outdoor barbecues, giving a little more credence to the organized festival theory.
Any discussion that the findings advance Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel’s theory that this was all part of turning the rocks into a kickass amplifier is purely speculative at this point.
Correction 3/9/18: In the original version of this article, it was stated that Stonehenge was built 8,000 years before Christ, when, in fact, the correct number should be 3,000. This article has been edited to reflect that fact.