Stonehenge celebrated winter solstice not summer as thought

Famous Stonehenge has been commonly associated with the annual celebration of summer but a researcher has suggested that the winter festival was more important.

The historic stone monument was aligned with the midwinter solstice sunset where people gathered for feasts as part of a Stone Age ‘neolithic Christmas’, said Mike Parker Pearson, professor of archaeology at Sheffield University.

He suggested the midwinter solstice was historically when people would kill their animals and was more significant than the midsummer solstice.

“In a way, we can look at the midwinter solstice as being a kind of neolithic Christmas,” the Telegraph quoted Pearson as telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“People needed to draw together and concentrate their resources so in some senses, it’s quite easy to understand why the Midwinter was so important to them.

“It helps us to understand what Stonehenge is really all about,” he added.

Every year, thousands descend upon the prehistoric monument, located in the English county of Wiltshire, on the longest day of the year.

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