Stonehenge may have been an ancient Lourdes where the sick went to be healed

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The British researchers claim that the findings help explain why the massive "bluestone" rocks, said to have healing powers, were transported 150 miles from Wales to Salisbury Plain to construct the monument.

The first dig around the circle in nearly half a century also suggests that the monument is 300 years younger than previously thought dating it to about 2300 BC.

The finding came in a project by Professors Timothy Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright who cut an 11 foot long trench in the inner circle, the first excavation of the site since 1964.

It unearthed chippings from the bluestones which suggested that the sick would break off a piece of the monument to become "talisman, lucky charms, to be used in the healing process is very important,"

Also an "abnormal number" of remains were found in tombs nearby that display signs of serious disease and their teeth prove that about half the bodies there were "not native" to the local area.

Prof Darvill of Bournmenouth University said: "Stonehenge would attract not only people who were unwell, but people who were capable of healing them. Therefore, in a sense, Stonehenge becomes 'the A & E' of southern England."

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