Archaeologists moved a step closer to solving the mystery of Stonehenge when they disclosed findings to support their theory that it was a prehistoric Lourdes.
The findings suggesting its significance as a healing centre for pilgrims came in a historic dig at the World Heritage Site earlier this year.
The first excavation for more than 40 years uncovered fragments of stone which could have been used as lucky charms.
Professors Tim Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright gave their preliminary findings of the two-week dig from March 31 to April 13.
They said they could now pinpoint the date at which the blue stones - which the archaeologists believe hold the key to Stonehenge - were brought to the site in Wiltshire from West Wales, as 2,300 BC, which was 300 years later than previously thought.
Professor Darvill, of Bournemouth University said that 60 per cent of the smaller blue stones was broken off, compared with just five to 10 per cent of the large, iconic Sarsen stones.
"Taking those pieces to become talisman, lucky charms, to be used in the healing process is very important," he said.
The professors said Stonehenge could have been a "multifunctional" monument but that the healing motive took on most significance from the time the blue stones were positioned there.
Professor Darvill added: "It could have been a temple at the same time as it was a healing centre, just as Lourdes is still a religious centre." http://uk.news.yahoo.com/itn/2008092...e-dba1618.html