The discovery of a dog tooth near Stonehenge is evidence of a very early journey in British history – a 250-mile trip from York. The fossil was unearthed at Blick Mead, situated around a mile from the World Heritage Site at Amesbury in Wiltshire.
Tests on the tooth reveal it belonged to an Alsatian which most likely came from the York area – and suggest it feasted on salmon, trout, pike, wild pig and red deer. Archaeologist David Jacques, a senior research fellow at the University of Buckingham, said the domesticated animal may have been brought to Stonehenge to exchange.
He said its discovery is significant because it was not known people travelled such long distances 7,000 years ago, and it adds to the weight of evidence of people coming to Stonehenge 2,000 years before the monument was built. Previous excavations uncovered evidence of tools from Wales, the Midlands and the West of England. A natural spring at Blick Mead – and it’s fairly easy accessibility with the nearby River Avon being the M1 of its time – may have attracted people to the site, it is thought. Burnt stones, wood and auroch bones – belonging to extinct, large prehistoric cattle – suggest it was popular with feasting.
“The fact that a dog and a group of people were coming to the area from such a long distance away further underlines just how important the place was four millennia before the circle was built,” said Jacques. “Discoveries like this give us a completely new understanding of the establishment of the ritual landscape and make Stonehenge even more special than we thought we knew it was.”
Andy Rhind-Tutt, chairman of Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust, said: “These amazing discoveries at Blick Mead are writing the history books of Mesolithic Britain. A dog tooth from York, a slate tool from Wales and a stone tool from the Midlands show that this wasn’t just the place to live at the end of the Ice Age, but was known by our ancestors for a long time widely across Britain. They kept coming here.”