Stonehenge built as memorial, not observatory?

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The discovery of a large, prehistoric settlement 2 miles from Stonehenge suggests that the famous stone rings were an ancient memorial, not a Stone Age observatory, archaeologists said Tuesday.

A community of hundreds of people lived there about 2500 B.C., during the time Stonehenge was erected, say the scientists, led by Mike Parker Pearson of the United Kingdom's Sheffield University. Inhabitants most likely raised Stonehenge as a monument to their dead, who were buried there ceremonially...

"We are really looking at a solar cult where ancestors were a major part of their worship," Pearson said in a telephone briefing for reporters organized by National Geographic, a research sponsor. "Stonehenge may have been a swan song of a particular way of life."

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