Radiocarbon dating cremated bone
Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC.
The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC.
It consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 13 ft (4.1 metres) high, 6 ft 11 in (2.1 metres) wide and weighing around 25 tons.
The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.
What is more remarkable is the shortage and then absence of human bone dates from 7000 - 4300 BC.
This absence has been noted by several authors (Aldhouse-Green et al 1996; Chamberlain 1996) and still holds true ten years after their analyses.
The decline at the end of this period is presumably a consequence of the growing confidence of archaeologists focusing on recent periods where documentary records can assist in providing chronological resolution.
This has provided both a rich resource for radiocarbon dating, and an archaeological need to use radiocarbon dating to provide chronological resolution.
The 'Red Lady' was dated again in 2007 with considerable press attention reporting a revision of the chronology by over 4,000 years (Oxford University Press Release).
At the time of writing, this date has not been published, so the 'Red Lady' is not included within this analysis.
Indeed, within the study area, the number dated is comparable with the concentration of inhumed bodies dated in the Early Bronze Age (see below).
It could be argued that a Mesolithic 'inhumation tradition' was in evidence but it should be noted that nineteen of these dates are derived from a single site (Aveline's Hole, Somerset). (1989) 'Radiocarbon dates from the Oxford AMS system: Archaeometry datelist 9'.
In more recent periods, for which human presence in Britain can be assumed, they are better used as evidence for specific burial rites and of modern academic interests.