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Greenlit: The People of Stonehenge, Channel 4

The People of Stonehengew/t (1 x 90′) –  For centuries, historians and archaeologists have tried to unlock the mysteries of Stonehenge. Until now, most of them have concentrated on awe-inspiring structure itself. But Stonehenge isn’t just a monument, it’s a vast burial ground. And in this documentary special, those who were buried – the most important collection of human remains ever found in the British Isles – will give up their secrets for the first time. This is the story of the people of Stonehenge – a story that radically changes our understanding of Stonehenge’s origins and purpose and that offers a revelatory new perspective on the pre-history of the British Isles.

Stonehenge expert Mike Parker Pearson and his colleagues have completed a decade-long study, analysing over 400 human remains including the ‘Stonehenge 63′ – the cremated remains of 63 individuals discovered within the monument itseld, some of which are believed to have been buried when the first stones were laid.

The film will exclusively reveal the results of Parker Pearson’s team’s latest tests. Using cutting edge scientific analysis of the bones, animal remains and artefacts, Parker Pearson will be able to unpick the story of the people of Stonehenge for the very first time. Pioneering isotopic analysis of their teeth will reveal where they came from and lipid analysis will be used to deconstruct their diet. This is combined with the analysis of 80,000 animal bones providing evidence of feasting on a massive scale – and crucially help locate where the people originally came from. Radio-carbon dating and CT scanning will determine what sex they were where and when they died and laser scanning of a single skull will reconstruct the face of one of the people.

Parker Pearson’s study, unravelling both who the people were and where they came from, has provided the most definitive account to date of the history of this Neolithic structure – exploding the many myths and theories surrounding the site including the idea it was a prehistoric observatory, a sun temple or sacrificial site. In their place, he finds startling evidence of a well-travelled and surprisingly unified society – the first pan-British culture.

Channel: Channel 4

Producer: Oxford Scientific Films

TX: Early 2013

Source: Channel 4 press release


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