Prehistoric Toy Found at Stonehenge

October 25, 2008 · Print This Article · Email This Post

Prehistoric Toy Found at Stonehenge, EnglandSpeaking of misplaced children’s toys, here’s one which was treasured. Archaeologists say that this carved hedgehog or pig, found buried at Stonehenge, England beside a prehistoric baby, may be Great Britain’s earliest known toy. Found in September during an archaeological dig, the 2,000-year-old Bronze Age toy, carved in chalk, was made in memory of either a stillborn baby or an infant.

The toy was found in a cemetery area of Stonehenge during a Stonehenge Riverside Project dig supported by the National Geographic Society. Mike Pitts, editor of British Archaeology magazine, agrees that the toy most likely was “made for a child as a personal toy.” Animal figures became more common by the start of the Iron Age (700 to 800 B.C.), but Pitts said the Stonehenge toy was “without parallel.”

Pitts strongly believes that the toy represents a pig, rather than a hedgehog. Noting that domestic and wild pigs were widespread in the Salisbury Plain region , he added: “I would say it’s without doubt a pig. . .And once we get into historical times, we know the pig is quite important in Celtic mythology, though not—to my knowledge—hedgehogs.”

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Photo credit: Aerial-Cam / SRP 2008

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