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What the Stonehenge Builders Ate

What did the folk who built Stonehenge have for dinner?  Dale Serjeantson, Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton, tells and shows us what recent excavations have revealed about the diet of the people who built, and feasted, there.

The ditches and pits at Stonehenge contained surprisingly little evidence for the food that the people who were erecting the stones were eating. However, there was a large quantity of discarded food remains – mostly bones of domestic animals – in the pits and ditches at the contemporary settlement at nearby Durrington Walls. Umberto Albarella from Sheffield University and I worked out from looking at the pig bones how people at Durrington Walls slaughtered dozens of pigs, butchered them, cooked them and ate them in what must have been large scale feasts. Umberto has since shown how some of the people who came with their pigs to Durrington are from surprisingly far away.

Dale Serjeantson MA FSA FSA(Scot) is a zooarchaeologist, an archaeologist who studies animal bones to find out about people’s lives in the past. She examined the bones from Durrington Walls with Umberto Albarella when working at London University Institute of Archaeology in 1990 and later reported on the bones from Stonehenge when working at the University of Southampton. She is now a Visiting Fellow at Southampton where until her retirement she was head of the Faunal Remains Unit and taught several zooarchaeology courses. She has published many books and papers on aspects of the interactions of animals and people in the past.

Organised in association with the Devizes Food and Drink Festival – 21 – 29 September 2024.

Ticket details to be confirmed.

Image: Copyright English Heritage Trust

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