More than 50,000 cremated bone fragments, of 63 individuals buried at Stonehenge, have been excavated and studied for the first time by a team of archeologists. The skeletons were discovered due to a renovation of the area around the ancient monument reveal that not only was this ancient stone circle a sort of ancient hospital, it was also a burial ground–presumably for those who didn’t heal (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to these extraordinary interviews).

In the Guardian, Robin McKie quotes historian Susan Greaney as saying, "We know who built it and when they built it and have a good idea how they built it. It is only its ultimate purpose that still remains unresolved."

But not everyone agrees: McKie quotes archeologist Tim Darvill as saying, "The sick and wounded would come here for cures from the monument’s great bluestones, which had been dragged from Wales to Wiltshire because of their magical healing properties."

It could also have been a cultural center. She quotes researcher Parker Pearson as saying, "People were coming from all over the country at these times. The crucial point is that this was the first and only time in British prehistory that the country was united in a common cultural activity.

"Stone is eternal and was used to represent the dead. That is the purpose of Stonehenge." In other words, Stonehenge might have been (among other things) an ancient cemetery.

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