As It Happened
This epic features the first dig at the most famous Neolithic monument in the world – Stonehenge - for a generation. The archaeologists hope to find proof that the site was a centre of healing; a pre-historic Lourdes, attracting pilgrims seeking cures for their sicknesses.
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Episode InformationFive years ago, a four thousand five hundred year old skeleton of a man was unearthed in Amesbury near Stonehenge. Buried with the bones was a treasure trove of gold and copper – the richest Neolithic grave ever uncovered in Britain. A number of arrowheads were found lying alongside the skeleton which became known as the Amesbury Archer. These bones held the tantalising prospect of finally being able to solve the riddle of the stones and answer the question of why Stonehenge was built. It was however, a false dawn – the stones have held onto their secrets. That might be about to change. Two of Britain’s leading archaeologists and world-renowned experts on Stonehenge, Professor Tim Darvill and Professor Geoff Wainwright, believe they have finally unlocked the mystery of the monument. They are convinced that Stonehenge was a place of healing. An ancient Lourdes. A place where people came on a pilgrimage to get cured. And in world without modern medicine the stones had magical powers.