BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- A village of small
houses about three kilometers from Britain's mysterious Stonehenge that may have
sheltered its builders has been found, local media reported Wednesday.
The ancient houses have
been excavated by a group of archaeologists studying the stone circle
in England at a site known as Durrington Walls, where it is also the location of
a wooden version of the stone circle, said Mike Parker Pearson of Sheffield
University at the National Geographic Society.
"Eight of the houses, with central hearths, have been
excavated, and there may be as many as 25 of them," said Parker Pearson, "the
village was carbon dated to about 2600 B.C., about the same time Stonehenge was
Both Stonehenge and Durrington Walls have avenues
connecting them to the Avon River, indicating a pattern of movement between the
sites, according to researchers.
"Clearly, this is a place that was of enormous
importance," said Julian Thomas of Manchester University.
Stone tools, animal bones, arrowheads and other
artifacts were uncovered in the village. Remains of pigs indicated they were
about nine months old when killed, which would mark a midwinter festival.
The researchers speculated that Durrington Walls was
a place for the living and Stonehenge -- where cremated remains have been found
-- was a cemetery and memorial, media reported.
The megalithic ruin known as Stonehenge stands on the open
downland of Salisbury Plain west of the town of Amesbury, Wiltshire, in
Southern England. It is not a single structure but consists of a series of
earth, timber, and stone structures that were revised and re-modelled over a
period of more than 1400 years.