Two bluestone fragments found at Britain's prehistoric Stonehenge monument could prove that the mysterious stone circle was once a centre of healing, archaeologists said Monday.
The first excavation inside the circle since 1964 uncovered fragments of stone that could have been used as lucky charms, said Professors Tim Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright as they presented the preliminary findings of their two-week dig last April.
AdvertisementThe archaeologists believe the Stonehenge monument was a temple constructed round the bluestones, which they believe were brought to the site in Wiltshire, southwest England, at 2,300 BC -- 300 years later than previously thought.
They said people may have believed the stones had magical, healing qualities which attracted pilgrims to the site.
The bluestones were transported from hills some 250 kilometres (155 miles) away in west Wales, and the researchers think they were brought to the iconic site because ancient people believed they had healing properties.
"Their meaning and importance to prehistoric people was sufficiently powerful to warrant the investment of time, effort and resources to move the bluestones from the Preselli Hills to the Wessex downs," Darvill said.
Wainwright added: "We found various reasons which led us to believe the stones were used as part of a belief in a healing process."
During the excavation at the World Heritage Site on Salisbury Plain, the researchers also found a beaker pottery fragment, Roman ceramics and ancient stone hammers.
"We now know, much to our surprise and delight, that Stonehenge was not just a prehistoric monument, it was a Roman and mediaeval monument," said Wainwright.
"This is very much a work in progress.
"The scientists are still working on the results, so there are more surprises to come, I am sure of that."
He added: "We are pleased that we are able to say so much more about when Stonehenge was built and why, all of which fundamentally changes our perspective of the monument."