The Stonehenge burial pit in Wiltshire, revealed some awe-strikings facts about women and their importance in the Neolithic elite society. No one would have thought that women played a key role in the society and shared equal rights as men, in the copper age. But the researchers working on the Stonehenge pit, found more women buried there, than men. Researchers spent years to analyse the bones found buried in the pit.
What Was The Stonehenge Burial Pit Research About?
Since long, the researchers have been excavating the pit and finding bones of the buried people. In the earlier researches, in the Neolithic tombs in southern Britain, the study showed more men than women. Stonehenge functioned as a cemetery for leaders, according to the report that was published in an issue of British Archaeology. It claimed that almost 100 to 200 people were buried there during the Neolithic and copper age.
Who Were Buried In The Stonehenge Burial Pit?
Apparently the burial at Stonehenge, were only for the elites. There were almost 56 burial points around Stonehenge, out of which the research focused on Aubrey pit seven. In most of the depictions of Stonehenge, it is men and few or no women. But, surprisingly, the excavation of this pit, showed more number of women than men. Mr. Pitts, the Editor of British Archaeology believes that the people buried in the Stonehenge were likely to be political or ritualistic leaders. They are generally the people from the higher strata of the society.
The bone fragments of women were more than that of the men. This indicated that women had a respectable position and a key role to play in the society till 2000 B.C.
How Were The Bone Fragments Analysed?
A PhD student at University College London, and an expert on human remains, Christie Wills, studied the bone fragments buried in Aubrey Hole seven. The research was rather complicated one as the pit was excavated twice before and the bones may have got displaced.
The pit was excavated in the 1920s, by an archaeologist named William Hawley, who reburied the remains to keep them safe. Because of digging and reburying, the bone fragments may have mingled up and co-mixed. This made Christie to do a through research in the analysis.
Ms. Will’s part was to identify the bone fragment’s age and sex, which was a fairly difficult task. But, she did the estimation of the bone fragments, on the basis of the dimensions of their ear canal. It is set within the petrous bone, a sturdy bone to typically survive the prehistoric cremation. Using CT scans and Radiocarbon dating, the age and sex of the bone fragments were analysed.
The Purpose Of Stonehenge
Purpose of the Stonehenge is not very clearly known, but some people claim it was used as a huge musical instrument, some say it was a temple, a parliament or a graveyard. The excavation of the Aubrey pit seven also showed mace heads with the bone fragments, which was the sign of power.
Women were very much in power till the 2000 B.C but their role in the societies declined towards the 3rd millennium B.C. History and these excavations prove that the role of a women has always kept increasing and declining in a society.