Researchers in Britain think they’ve stumbled on a solution to a decades-long mystery: What is Stonehenge?
New studies of human remains taken from the site indicate it may have served initially as a burial ground for elite families who died around 3,000 B.C., The Associated Press reports. Researchers honed in on cremated human remains and found that a larger circle of stones may have been placed at the same Stonehenge site — only 500 years before the current stones known today as Stonehenge were placed.
This larger circle of stones actually marked a community graveyard, researchers told the AP.
“These were men, women, children, so presumably family groups,” said University College London professor Mike Parker Pearson, in the AP report. “We’d thought that maybe it was a place where a dynasty of kings was buried, but this seemed to be much more of a community, a different kind of power structure.”
Stonehenge has baffled researchers for years, as theories about its use and reason for being have ranged from a place of Druid worship to a place to study the stars.