Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Clues to the Life of a Neolithic Man

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reconstructed-Neolithic-Head-StonehengeWILTSHIRE, ENGLAND—A Neolithic man who was buried in a nearly 300-foot-long long barrow, or mausoleum, 1.5 miles west of Stonehenge, 5,500 years ago has been poked, prodded, and reconstructed by scientists and placed in a spot of prominence to welcome tourists to a new Stonehenge visitors center opening tomorrow. The enamel on the man's teeth allowed scientists to determine the composition of his drinking water and to learn that he moved back and forth between modern Wales and the area surrounding Stonehenge until well into his teens. From nitrogen isotopes, also found in his teeth, researchers determined that he was an upper class individual who ate meat from early on in life, an indication that he inherited this status. Further, his travel to Wales and back suggests he may have been involved in the construction of the early monument of Stonehenge, which geologists believe was made of bluestones from the west, as opposed to the heavier sarsens seen today.