One year after the discovery of the Archer and his companion, and less than a quarter mile away, construction workers laying pipe stumbled on yet another grave from roughly the same period, this one containing the remains of seven individuals, at least four of whom were males, also apparently related and, like the Archer, not native to the area. Analysis of the premolars and molars of the three adults revealed, according to Fitzpatrick, "that they were in one place up to the age of six, and in another up to the age of thirteen." Matches for the place of infancy include northwestern Britain, Wales, or Brittany. "The larger point is not where they came from," Fitzpatrick emphasized, "it's that people of the era traveled. This is the best example of prehistoric migration in Europe yet found."
WHILE IT IS NOT FANCIFUL to speculate that these immigrants saw Stonehenge—perhaps even helped build it—remarkable new evidence has recently been unearthed about the community that surely used it. Since 2003 the Stonehenge Riverside Project, headed by Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield and five other team leaders and supported by the National Geographic Society, has been conducting a series of excavations of the wider Stonehenge landscape, focusing on a massive henge, some 1,500 feet in diameter, known as Durrington Walls. Nearly two miles northeast of Stonehenge, Durrington was known as early as 1812 and excavated in the 1960s ahead of road construction. Erosion and land use have now blurred its once formidable outlines, made of earth banks formerly as wide as one hundred feet and at least as high as ten.
In and around the giant henge were three circular timber structures whose footprints survive in traces of their postholes. Two—the Northern and Southern Circles—lay within the henge itself, while a later monument known as Woodhenge stood just outside. "There is evidence to suggest that timber circles were secretive places, their interiors hidden by screens as well as the multiplications of posts," said Alex Gibson, an authority on timber circles at the University of Bradford. Recently, inside the henge banks, the Riverside Project unearthed two structures, lofty and distinguished by individual ditches and palisades, perhaps residences of elite officials overseeing the circle, or even cult houses.
Outside the henge and under the embankment, the project excavated a cluster of seven small houses. Tentatively dated at between 2600 and 2500 B.C., they straddle a hundred-foot-wide flint-paved avenue to the Avon. Standing inside the foundation outline of one of the houses, Mike Parker Pearson pointed out domestic details, such as an oval hearth in the middle of the floor. "These are heel, or maybe buttock, marks," he said, squatting by way of demonstration beside indentations on the plaster floor. Remains of a cooking area stood to one side. Five houses show evidence of furniture, including slot marks for the edges of wooden beds. Parker Pearson waved a hand toward the dark tree fringe in the distance. Trial excavations and geophysical surveys have detected a multitude of other possible hearths in the valley. "There may be as many as 300 houses," he said, making it the largest Neolithic settlement found in Britain.