I love this vignette from Neolithic times, especially how recognizable the event described seems to me—I think of the first-ever tailgate party. The pull of culture is ever strong.

Stone age people drove animals hundreds of miles to a site close to Stonehenge to be slaughtered for ritual feasts, according to scientists who have examined the chemical signatures of animal remains buried there. The research suggests that Neolithic people travelled further than archaeologists had previously realised in order to attend cultural events.

Durrington Walls is a stone-age village containing the remains of numerous cattle and pigs which are thought to have been buried there after successive ritual feasts. The site is two miles north east of Stonehenge and dates from around 3000 BC, 500 years before the first stones were erected.

“We are looking at communication networks and rituals that are bringing people from a large area of southern England to the Stonehenge area before the Stonehenge stones were in place,” said Dr Jane Evans at the British Geological Survey in Nottingham. “I think what we are seeing is basically a sort of bring-your-own-beef barbecue at Durrington Walls.” The evidence points to groups of people driving animals from as far away as Wales for the feast events.

from “Stone-age pilgrims trekked hundreds of miles,” by James Randerson, guardian.co.uk, 11 September 2008

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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