If you were a builder of Stonehenge living in the nearby Durrington Walls settlement back around 2500 BC, your dinner might have consisted of cow organs and your dog might have helped you polish off the leftovers.
An analysis of ancient feces dating back 4,500 years is providing some fascinating insights into the diets of the people who likely built the iconic Stonehenge monument. The fancier name for the preserved poop is "coprolite." A team led by researchers at the University of Cambridge investigated 19 pieces of coprolite excavated from a dung heap and discovered eggs from parasitic worms in one sample of human feces and four of dog feces.
The study details how some of the coprolites, including one human sample, contained the eggs of capillariid worms, likely transferred from infected cows. "The evidence of capillariid eggs in human feces indicates that the person had eaten the raw or undercooked lungs or liver from an already infected animal, resulting in the parasite's eggs passing straight through the body," the university said. The presence of the eggs in dog coprolites indicates the canine residents of Durrington Walls also snacked on offal.
The worm eggs show how preserved poop can provide a peek into the diets of the people who were around as Stonehenge took shape, filling in part of the human puzzle connected to one of the world's most iconic and mysterious monuments.