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Quarry yields homes older than Stonehenge
Saturday, 5 November, 2005
Archaeologists have for the first time unearthed the homes of Neolithic henge builders, in a set of dwellings, some older than Stonehenge, excavated from a Northumberland quarry. The two settlement sites, each about the size of a football pitch and probably inhabited by a few related families, are dated to between 4,000BC and 3,000BC. The remains of the modest buildings are among the most extensive Neolithic dwellings ever found in Britain. The site is near the village of Milfield, in an area with a rich archaeological history, dominated by the enormous Yeavering Bell hill fort, built 1,000 years after the huts and henges on the plain below. The dwellings are surrounded by timber and earth bank henges so close in date it is assumed they must have been built by the same people.

The Neolithic Britons left some of the most spectacular prehistoric monuments in the world, but there have been only scraps of evidence showing where and how they lived. House sites are so rare that some archaeologists believe most people lived a semi-nomadic existence. "Neolithic habitation sites are as rare as hens' teeth anyway, but this is the first time we have found them in association with henge sites," David Miles, chief archaeologist at English Heritage, said yesterday.
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