Stonehenge was the centre of ancient Britain, according to a study which claims the monument symbolised the unification of eastern and western communities.
Centuries of speculation have attributed countless functions to the famous Wiltshire landmark, describing it variously as a prehistoric observatory, a place of healing and a temple for ritual sacrifice.
But a new study by researchers from five British universities suggests Stonehenge may in fact have been built as a sign of peace between people from the east and west of the country after a period of conflict.
The stones, which come from different locations as far afield as southern England and west Wales, may have been used to represent the ancestors of some of Britain's earliest farming communities, researchers suggest.
Prof Mike Parker Pearson, of Sheffield University, said during Stonehenge's main period of construction from 3,000 to 2,500 BC there was a "growing island-wide culture" developin in Britain.