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Despite the 500 odd years of archaeology, anthropology and stratigraphy we still have no real idea what the site was actually for, but a myriad of weird and wonderful theories do exist.Many of these ideas relate to the pagan practice of the Summer Solstice, when the rising summer sun would cast a shadow from one of the external stones along into the main site.These distinctive black-topped vessels, commonly known as Egyptian B-ware and made of Nile silt clay, are examples of one of the types cited by him in his new standard of sequence dating.Petrie excavated many similar items from graves around the Upper Egyptian site of Naqada where the vast number of items retrieved made them appear to be something completely new.His painstaking work on observing and recording pottery styles resulted in a new methodology for establishing the chronology of an archaeological site.He developed an 18-step system in which he arranged different types of pottery in sequence.As a result, Petrie hypothesized that they were products of a foreign people who invaded the Nile valley after the end of the Old Kingdom.

Excavations and surveys of the site are still ongoing, with UCL leading much of the fieldwork.

A UNESCO listed site, Stonehenge plays host to around a million visitors a year ranging from Anglophile tourists to ardent pagans.

The first known excavations[1] at Stonehenge took place in the 17 century , with John Aubrey, author of Monumenta Britanica and wearer of a very fine wig, working there towards the end of the century.

I love Monmouth’s History of Britain, but certain elements do seem a tad extreme.

That aside, the idea of Stonehenge as a place of healing does seem plausible given the high amount of graves in the area containing bodies with defects and damage[4].


  1. Some consider his most famous discovery to be that of the Merneptah Stele, an opinion with which Petrie himself concurred. Petrie developed the system of dating layers based on pottery and ceramic findings.

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