For many years, it’s been thought that Stonehenge, the ancient monolith in southwestern England, was created by Druids around 460 B.C.
New research shows that is incorrect. “Even today, a lot of people think Stonehenge is connected to Druids. We are very certain from radon carbon dating that it happened before,” said British archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson, Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and leader of the Stonehenge Riverside Project.
As part of the project, data gleaned from the cremated remains of humans suggest that the location of Stonehenge was used as a burial site around 3,000 B.C. and that Stonehenge was created 2,500 to 3,000 years sooner than originally thought.
"The current theory is that Stonehenge was created during a time of profound social change," says Pearson. It was at a time when “Britain was moving away from being isolated tribal territories to being a unified county.” Unlike previous thought, its construction probably involved all the people of Britain.
Although Pearson’s project has uncovered many secrets of Stonehenge, a number of questions remain. “We are just beginning to learn about the area immediately around Stonehenge from comprehensive geophysical surveys,” he said. “We are trying to find out what is underneath the ground. We are also just starting to learn where the stones came from.”
Mike Parker Pearson was Don Marsh’s guest on St. Louis on the Air. He is in St. Louis to give the Ferguson Science Lecture as part of Washington University’s Assembly Series.
Washington University's Assembly Series Presents Mike Parker Pearson in the Ferguson Science Lecture "Stonehenge: New Discoveries"
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Washington University's Steinberg Hall Auditorium
Washington University Website