STONEHENGE was the site of Stone Age battles to the death, an archaeologist has claimed.

Dennis Price, a Stonehenge expert and former archaeologist with Wessex Archaeology, says he thinks a skeleton discovered in a ditch around the ancient monument in 1978 is evidence that the site was used for ritual combat.

The skeleton belonged to a man who had been killed by arrows in 2,300 BC and after being analysed was donated to Salisbury Museum.

Mr Price says skeletons found at or close to Stonehenge have often been found buried with weapons - suggesting those close to the mysterious monument could have died violent deaths.

"There is firm evidence of a long-standing tradition of sentinels at Stonehenge going back to when it was originally built in 2,600 BC and possibly before," he said.

"The function of these individuals was to symbolically guard the temple.

"But I think they could only be replaced by someone who physically defeated them in a ritual combat.

"I think that remains of one of these Stonehenge Sentinels is on display at Salisbury Museum."

Mr Price also points to evidence from an Italian site, similar to Stonehenge, where similar finds were made.

Museum director Adrian Green said: "Dennis Price's idea conjures up a harsh image. But it also has a certain romantic quality to it."

For more information see