2008年06月01日

ストーンヘンジは王族用の死者の領域だったかもしれない。

stoneheng.jpg

Stonehenge may have been ‘the domain of the dead’ for royals
ツレからメールで教えてもらったニュース。
【timesonlineより、以下転載】
STONEHENGE may have been a burial ground for an ancient royal family, British archaeologists said yesterday.

The original purpose of the stone monument in Wiltshire is one of archaeology's most enduring enigmas. Previous theories have suggested that it was an astronomical observatory or a religious centre.

But radiocarbon analysis of human remains excavated from the site have revealed that it was used as a cemetery from its inception just after 3000BC until well after the largest circle of stones went up in about 2500BC. Previously, archaeologists had believed people were buried at Stonehenge only between 2700 and 2600BC.

Mike Parker Pearson, an archaeologist at the University of Sheffield, who is leading an excavation of the site, said: "The hypothesis we are working on is that Stonehenge represents a place of the dead.

"A further twist is that the people buried at Stonehenge may have been the elite of their society, an ancient royal British dynasty, perhaps."

Last year the same researchers found evidence of a large settlement of houses nearby.

Professor Parker Pearson said that the latest findings reinforced his belief that the settlement and Stonehenge formed part of a larger ancient ceremonial complex along the river Avon.

"What we suspect is that the river is the conduit between the two realms of the living and the dead. It was the prehistoric version of the River Styx."

This is the first time that any of the cremation burials from Stonehenge have been radiocarbon-dated. The burials were excavated in the 1950s and have been kept at Salisbury Museum.

Another 49 cremation burials were dug up at Stonehenge during the 1920s, but all were put back in the ground because they were thought to be of no scientific value.

The new research provides clues about the original purpose of the monument and shows that its use as a cemetery extended for more than 500 years. The earliest cremation burial dated - a small pile of burnt bones and teeth - came from one of the pits around Stonehenge's edge known as the Aubrey Holes and dates to 3030-2880 BC, roughly the time when Stonehenge's ditch-and-bank monument was cut into Salisbury Plain.

The most recent cremation comes from the ditch's northern side and was of a 25-year-old woman; it dates to 2570-2340 BC, about the time that the first arrangements of sarsen stones appeared at Stonehenge. The team estimates that between 150 and 240 men, women and children were buried at Stonehenge over a 600-year period.

Andrew Chamberlain, a specialist in ancient demography at the University of Sheffield, said that the relatively small number of burials in Stonehenge's earliest phase, becoming larger over the following centuries, was in line with the idea that this might have been the final resting place of a single, growing family.

Professor Parker Pearson added that placement of the graves and artefacts, such as a small stone mace, were evidence that the site was reserved as a "domain of the dead" for the elite.

"I don't think it was the common people getting buried at Stonehenge, it was clearly a special place at the time," he said.

The findings are the result of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, a collaboration between five British universities, which is funded by the National Geographic Society and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, with support from English Heritage.

David Batchelor, an archaeologist with English Heritage who has long experience of Stonehenge, welcomed the findings. "What this has done is open up the field slightly by showing that this burial activity appeared over a larger period of time than at first thought, raising questions over who it was that was being buried there," he said.
イギリスの考古学者さんが、ストーンヘンジの目的は、古代の「死者たちの土地」であって、埋葬されたのは、社会のエリート、古代のイギリス王朝の人達だろうという仮説を唱えているそうです。

最新の発掘された物からもそれらの仮説は裏付けられるとか書いてますね。500年以上ものの間、埋葬地と使われたとか、実際にたくさんの人が発見されているようです。最新のものだと、紀元前2570-2340年の25歳の女性とか。

いやあ~なかなか面白いですね。まだまだ通説には遠く、これからの話でしょうが 、いろんな謎が解明されていくのってワクワクしてきちゃいますね♪
posted by alice-room at 09:32| Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 【ニュース記事B】 | 更新情報をチェックする
この記事へのコメント
コメントを書く
コチラをクリックしてください

この記事へのトラックバック