‘The Feasts of Stonehenge: Investigating Mobility in Late Neolithic Britain’ - Dr Richard Madgwick
Dr Richard Madgwick, Cardiff University
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‘The Feasts of Stonehenge: Investigating Mobility in Late Neolithic Britain’
During the third millennium BC, vast henge complexes such as Stonehenge and Avebury were constructed in southern Britain. These were sites of vast feasting events, as evidenced by pig-dominated faunal assemblages, sometimes extending into tens of thousands of fragments.
These complexes may have acted as nodes in an inter-regional network, power-bases in the heartland of particular groups or monuments at the border of territories, where alliances were forged and consolidated.
This paper presents multi-isotope datasets (δ13C, δ15N, δ18O, δ34S, 87Sr/86Sr) on samples of pigs from four henge enclosures to reconstruct catchment and patterns of mobility. Results demonstrate that a high proportion of pigs, and by inference people, from all four sites were of non-local origin.
Beyond that, the combined isotope datasets indicated that participants derived from multiple, disparate locations, in some instances vast distances away. This indicates that these centres sustained inter-community networks on a very larger scale, arguably evidencing the first phase of pan-British connectivity