Stonehenge builders' houses found
Archaeologists say they have found a huge ancient settlement used by the people who built Stonehenge.
Excavations at Durrington Walls, near the legendary Salisbury Plain monument, uncovered remains of ancient houses.
People seem to have occupied the sites seasonally, using them for ritual feasting and funeral ceremonies.
In ancient times, this settlement would have housed hundreds of people, making it the largest Neolithic village ever found in Britain.
The dwellings date back to 2,600-2,500 BC, the same period that Stonehenge was built.
"In what were houses, we have excavated the outlines on the floors of box beds and wooden dressers or cupboards," said archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson of Sheffield University.
He said he based this on the fact that houses have exactly the same layout as Neolithic houses at Skara Brae in Orkney, which have survived intact because - unlike these dwellings - they were made of stone.
The researchers have excavated eight dwellings in total that belonged to the Durrington settlement. But they have identified many other probable dwellings using geophysical surveying equipment.
The archaeologists think there could have been at least one hundred houses.
Each one would have measured about 5m (16ft) square: "fairly pokey", according to Professor Parker Pearson.
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Posted by goffik
30th January 2007ce