In this file:

 

·         Ancient Britons Traveled Hundreds of Miles to Attend Pork Fests at Stonehenge

… as the new research shows, archaeologists shouldn’t have underestimated these ancient Britons and their desire to eat copious amounts of pork at mass gatherings… 

 

·         Stonehenge-era pig roasts united ancient Britain, scientists say

A new study of bones discarded after prehistoric barbeques is providing unexpected insight into the first ‘pan-British’ gatherings.

 

 

Ancient Britons Traveled Hundreds of Miles to Attend Pork Fests at Stonehenge

 

George Dvorsky, Gizmodo

Mar 13, 2019

 

Prehistoric Britons traveled impressive distances to attend celebrations at monumental sites like Stonehenge, according to new research. Incredibly, many of them brought their pigs along with them for the journey—an impressive feat, considering some participants came from hundreds of miles away.

 

Monumental lithic sites like Stonehenge and Avebury weren’t just constructed for show—they also served as important focal points for the community. The Neolithic Britons who built these impressive structures held ritual feasts at these complexes, which, as new research published today in Science Advances shows, drew people from across the British Isles. What’s more, these participants—who came as far as Scotland, North East England, and West Wales—brought their locally raised pigs along with them for the journey, which were then slaughtered and served at these mass gatherings.

 

That Neolithic Britons held feasts at Stonehenge and Avebury, as well as at less well-known sites like Durrington Walls and Mount Pleasant, is well established thanks to previous archaeological work. Pigs were the prime feasting animals at the time, as recorded by the number of pig bones uncovered at these sites.

 

A long-standing question for archaeologists, however, is who participated in these rituals and where they came from. Human remains from this era are exceptionally rare, mostly because Neolithic Britons practiced cremation. The idea of using pigs as a proxy for human movement has been ignored by archaeologists because these animals, unlike cattle, are hard to transport.

 

But as the new research shows, archaeologists shouldn’t have underestimated these ancient Britons and their desire to eat copious amounts of pork at mass gatherings.

 

By analyzing the isotopic signatures of 131 pigs found at four monumental sites in Southern Britain, a team led by Richard Madgwick from Cardiff University has shown that pigs were brought to these festivals from far away. The new study thus improves our understanding of where festival participants came from, while demonstrating “a scale of movement and level of social complexity not previously appreciated,” as Madgwick explained in a press release, adding that these mass gatherings “could be seen as the first united cultural events of our island, with people from all corners of Britain descending on the areas around Stonehenge to feast on food that had been specially reared and transported from their homes.”

 

The remains of the 131 pigs were pulled from archaeological digs at Durrington Walls, Marden, Mount Pleasant, and West Kennet Palisade Enclosures—all of which neighbor Stonehenge in South Britain. All sites date back to the Late Neolithic period, between 2,800 BCE and 2,400 BCE. To determine the geographical origin of the pigs, Madgwick’s team considered five different isotopic signatures—the largest dataset of multiple isotope methods applied to animals in archaeological research to date, according to the authors. By studying isotopes, or chemical signatures, found in the teeth and bones of pigs, the researchers can determine where the pigs were raised...

 

more

https://gizmodo.com/ancient-britons-traveled-hundreds-of-miles-to-attend-po-1833262661

 

 

Stonehenge-era pig roasts united ancient Britain, scientists say

A new study of bones discarded after prehistoric barbeques is providing unexpected insight into the first ‘pan-British’ gatherings.

 

By Kristin Romey, National Geographic

March 13, 2019

 

A surprising study of leftovers from 4,500-year-old pig roasts reveals that prehistoric ceremonial sites around Stonehenge served as “pan-British” centers that helped bring together disparate populations of Neolithic peoples from across the island for the first time. The study was published today in the journal Science Advances.

 

During the late Neolithic period in Britain (around 2800-2400 B.C.), large feasts were held at ceremonial centers in southern England such as Durrington Walls, where the builders of Stonehenge likely lived, and Marden, the largest circular earthworks in Britain.

 

Excavations at Durrington Walls, for example, have shown that enormous feasts took place there during the winter, when celebrants roasted and ate large quantities of pork and the occasional cow. Of the 8,500 bones recovered at Durrington, for instance, pigs outnumbered cattle ten to one.

 

The presence of large amounts of pig bones at other similar ceremonial sites in the region reinforces the idea that the prehistoric pork roast was a late Neolithic phenomenon in southern England. Researchers, however, remained unsure whether the purpose of these feasts was to unify a local population—much like a community barbeque— or to forge alliances between neighboring groups.

 

Now, a chemical analysis of the pig bones is revealing an unexpected result: The ceremonial sites, and the feasts hosted there, served as lynchpins of vast social networks across the island “demonstrating a level of interaction and social complexity not previously appreciated.”

 

Pigs as proxy

 

In recent years, scientists have tried to answer the question of how far-flung the feasters were with strontium isotope analysis, a technique that identifies a unique chemical signature that reflects the geological area that a human or animal lived in. Previous isotopic studies of cremated human remains at Stonehenge and cattle bones from Durrington Walls suggest that both may have come to the ceremonial sites from considerable distances—some as far as modern Wales.

 

Until now, however, researchers never bothered with analyzing the isotopic signatures of pig bones recovered from sites like Durrington Walls, assuming that the pigs would have been bred locally near the feasting centers where they were butchered and eaten, and therefore would provide little useful information on where the feasters themselves came from. Cattle would have been driven by humans across great distances and could therefore be used as a proxy for human movement, they reasoned, but long-distance pig herding?

 

“I was worried that the pigs wouldn’t tell us where these people were coming from,” says Richard Madgwick, a lecturer in archaeological science at Cardiff University and lead author on the Science Advances article.

 

However, the new isotopic analysis of 131 pig remains from four different late Neolithic ceremonial sites (Durrington Walls, Marden, Mount Pleasant, and West Kennet Palisade Enclosures) reveals that the vast majority of pigs consumed at the sites were not raised locally, but rather brought by feasters from many different areas in Britain, including Wales and Scotland— at distances of at least 30 miles and potentially more than 350 miles.

 

The fact that these ceremonial centers drew people from many different areas in Britain, and often from considerable distances, suggests that these feasting sites weren’t just for local or regional gatherings, but rather, evidence for the first "pan-British" events in history.

 

Swine drives ...

 

more, including map, links

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/03/stonehenge-pig-roasts-united-ancient-britain/