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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Wiltshire

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Immigration and Emigration
Stonehenge in Wiltshire

© Ian Britton,
The Beaker Folk

Who built Stonehenge? Ancient Britons or ancient immigrants? Modern scientific techniques are casting new light on this and another old problem. Since Victorian times archaeologists have puzzled over how metalworking was introduced to Britain. This marked the end of the Stone Age and start of the Bronze Age. Who was responsible?

Although they were not sure about the details, archaeologists agreed that immigrants or invaders provided the explanation and it seemed possible to identify the people who were responsible. They were the Beaker folk, and it is believed that they first came to Britain around 4,500 years ago. They were one of many peoples thought to have invaded or migrated to Britain in prehistoric times, bringing new ideas and new technologies with them.

Although their methods and ideas are now regarded as old-fashioned, high-tech science has shown that in some respects they were spot on. In December 2002 the burial chamber of the earliest metalworker to be found so far was unearthed in Britain, a man known as the Amesbury Archer, who has been shown to come from central Europe. He was buried near to Stonehenge, in Wiltshire. Was this dramatic confirmation of a wave of Beaker invaders?

Words: Dr Andrew P Fitzpatrick More...

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