Red deer, wild boar and elk would have roamed the Stonehenge area 4,000 years before the stones were constructed, according to new research.
Scientists examined a nearby Mesolithic site and found the area was not a forest as previously thought.
Instead they believe it would have been populated by grazing animals and hunter-gatherers.
The work has helped build a picture of the habitat at the Wiltshire site from up to the Neolithic period (4,000 BC).
Samuel Hudson, from the University of Southampton, explained: “There has been intensive study of the Bronze Age and Neolithic history of the Stonehenge landscape, but less is known about earlier periods.
“Past theories suggest the area was thickly wooded and cleared in later periods for farming and monument building.
“However, our research points to pre-Neolithic, hunting-gatherer inhabitants, living in open woodland which supported aurochs and other grazing herbivores.”
The research team analysed pollen, fungal spores and traces of…
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