Scientists believe the remains of a Bronze Age skeleton found near Stonehenge to belong to a 14 or 15 year-old Mediterranean boy. The boy, who was buried with an amber necklace, was thought to be part of a larger, wealthy group that traveled to Britain from possibly Spain, Italy, Greece, or France at approximately 1550 BC. Chemical tests performed on the teeth determined the origin and approximate date of the skeleton.
The British Geological Society (BGS) will discuss the findings, reports the BBC News, at the science symposium that marks the 175th anniversary of the BGS. Dr. Jane Evans, who headed the research team for the BGS, stated â€œThe position of his burial, the fact that heâ€™s near Stonehenge, and his necklace all suggest heâ€™s of significant status.â€
Although the true purpose of the iconic British site is unknown, scientists and other researchers have long held that Stonehenge served as an ancient temple or burial ground for important individuals. The Telegraph reports that this discovery supports the idea that Stonehenge would have served as a place of pilgrimage or sightseeing as far back as 4000 years ago.
Workers from Wessex Archeology discovered the nearly intact remains while digging at the Boscombe Down Airbase. Dr. Andrew Fitzpatrick of the Wessex Archeology team who made the find suggested "They may have come to Britain for different reasons but Stonehenge would have been well known across Europe â€“ rather like a medieval cathedral."
The boy, who would have traveled in a larger group, crossed the English Channel in a wooden boat or canoe.Â Dr. Fitzpatrick states of the boyâ€™s companions "They may have come to trade but visited Stonehenge along the way.Â It would have been an awesome sight.Â It would have been one of the greatest temples of its time." Stonehenge was over 1500 years old at the time of the groupâ€™s visit.
Although the boy may have come as a tourist, he did not return with the group. Scientists speculate his death was likely the result of illness.
Do you have memories or photos from a trip to this legendary landmark on the Salisbury plain? Share your thoughts and photos with us!
Photo by pamelaadam at everystockphoto.com
Â© 2010 Anne Houghton for Gather.com