Archaeologists have argued for centuries about what Stonehenge really meant and why it was built. A team of British researchers from a number of universities including universities of Southampton, Manchester, Bournemouth, Sheffield, London, York and Durham presented new theories about the origins and purpose of Stonehenge earlier this month: It may have started as a giant burial ground for elite families around 3,000 B.C. This group of academics who have done extensive research, propose that that Stonehenge should be seen less a temple of worship than a kind of building project that served to unite people from across Britain. They also believe that the builders converged seasonally to build Stonehenge, a ritual that was likely done over several years.
Researchers studied more than 50,000 cremated bone fragments excavated from the site and suggest that about 500 years before the Stonehenge we know today was built, a larger stone circle was erected at the same site as a community graveyard. The archeologists studied the cremated bones of 63 individuals, and believe that they were buried around 3,000 B.C. Analysis of the remains of a settlement near the monument indicated that thousands of people traveled from as far as Scotland to the site, bringing their livestock and then slaughtering them in nearby site during the winter and summer solstices celebrations.
According to the Guardian newspaper, this autumn visitors to Stonehenge will see more interpretation of its complex history when the new visitor center finally opens.