Archaeological dating of grave headstones

Previously it was believed that Stonehenge was a place of burial only between about 27 B. But new radiocarbon dates spanning 500 years were obtained for three cremated humans (photo) unearthed in 1950s at Stonehenge and kept at the nearby Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.

The earliest cremation, a pile of burned bones and teeth, came from one of 56 pits called the Aubrey Holes (map of the layout of Stonehenge, including Aubrey Holes).

Rossi, from Rome’s Archaeological Superintendency, said the graves confirmed customary Jewish funeral practices: The bodies were buried in plain wooden caskets without any objects and were only identified after a fragment of a Hebrew epigraph was found at the dig.

She said the absence of headstones was a result of decrees issued by Pope Urban VIII, who ruled in 1625 that Jews be buried in unmarked graves and ordered headstones to be removed from existing graves.

Newgrange is a 5,200 year old passage tomb located in the Boyne Valley in Ireland's Ancient East.

Newgrange was built by Stone Age farmers, the mound is 85 meters (93 yards) in diameter and 13.5 meters (15 yards) high, an area of about 1 acre.

In studying the nature of attitudes to death and related rituals in the past, it is important to remember the alien nature of pre-Christian burial practices, especially prehistoric ones.

Newgrange is surrounded by 97 large stones called kerbstones some of which are engraved with megalithic art; the most striking is the entrance stone.

Access to the Newgrange monument is via the Brú na Bóinne Visitors Centre.

“It is testimony to the important presence of the Jewish community in earlier times.” The skeletons were discovered during excavations nearly 20 feet beneath a large modern building undergoing renovation.

Apart from the cemetery, archaeologists also found the remains of an ancient tannery at the site dating back to the era of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in the third century.

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