Stonehenge: a Late Neolithic megasite

Author(s): Mike Parker Pearson

Year: 2017


Stonehenge is part of a larger complex of Late Neolithic (3000–2450 BC) sites and monuments on Salisbury Plain, including a major settlement complex with monumental timber circles at Durrington Walls. Evidence for occupation from this period covers over 8 square miles. In particular, the Durrington Walls settlement covered 42 acres, built in the same period as Stonehenge’s main stage of construction. This settlement was occupied only for decades, or even just a few years, by people with a primarily pastoral subsistence base who brought their livestock from many different parts of Britain, as revealed by isotopic analysis. Faunal evidence indicates seasonal winter feasting at Durrington Walls, suggesting a degree of annual movement to and from this settlement, perhaps inhabited by the builders of Stonehenge. Despite having many of the characteristics of an urban complex, Stonehenge cannot be considered so. Yet it was very much a ‘consumer’ megasite, drawing people, resources and monumental materials (both of stone and timber) from, in some instances, many hundreds of miles away. Just what was considered to be exchanged in the other direction is a major topic of archaeological debate.

Cite this Record

Stonehenge: a Late Neolithic megasite. Mike Parker Pearson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430829)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14441