Archeologists believe the site of Stonehenge may have been a giant graveyard for elite families about 500 years before the famous Stone Age monument we know today was built, BBC reported.
The Guardian said archeologists from across Britain examined the cremated remains of 63 individuals dug up from the site and concluded they were buried around 3,000 B.C.
“These were men, women, children, so presumably family groups,” University College London professor Mike Parker Pearson was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
“We’d thought that maybe it was a place where a dynasty of kings was buried, but his seemed to be much more of a community, a different kind of power structure.”
Pearson also has a new theory for the purpose of Stonehenge, which is located in Southern England.
Rather than a place of worship, Pearson believes it was a “building project that served to unite people from across Britain,” the AP said.
Evidence gathered during an earlier excavation of a settlement located near Stonehenge suggest people came from as far as Scotland to build the monument over a number of years, the Guardian said.
Studies of animal remains found at the site suggest the builders brought their livestock and families for “huge feasts and celebrations” during the winter and summer solstices, the AP said.
More from GlobalPost: Crowds gather at Stonehenge to celebrate the winter solstice