Abstract: Stonehenge: New Discoveries

Stonehenge is one of the great mysteries of the prehistoric world. After seven years of new excavations and research, archaeologists now have a completely new understanding of the date and purpose of this enigmatic monument. One of the key break-through has been to understand how Stonehenge formed part of a wider complex of monuments and landscape features within Salisbury Plain. Professor Parker Pearson will present the results of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, and discuss the current theories about Stonehenge – an astronomical observatory, a centre of healing or a place of the ancestors – and the identity of its Neolithic builders.

We now know much more about the people who built Stonehenge – where they came from, how they lived, and how they were organized. Not only has the project discovered a large settlement of many houses, thought to be for Stonehenge’s builders, at the nearby henge enclosure of Durrington Walls but it has also re-dated Stonehenge and investigated its surrounding monuments and sites, many of which were hitherto undated and unknown. This presentation will provide a brief overview of some of the project’s highlights, including the recent discovery of Bluestonehenge. One of the greatest mysteries – why some of Stonehenge’s stones were brought from 180 miles away – is currently being investigated and its brand new results will be presented at the lecture.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Marc Aaronson  2010.If Stones Could Speak: unlocking the secrets of Stonehenge.  Washington DC: National Geographic Society.

Stonehenge. Encyclopaedia Britannica. www.britannica.com/

Newhenge. British Archaeology 110 (2010): 14-21. http://www.britarch.ac.uk/ba/ba110/feat1.shtml

Bluestonehenge: landscape of ancestors. Current Archaeology 237 (2010): 22-8. http://www.archaeology.co.uk/articles/bluestonehenge-landscape-of-ancestors.htm

Stonehenge Riverside Project. University of Sheffield. http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/archaeology/research/stonehenge

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