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Archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson Unravels The Mysteries of Stonehenge

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.

Related Event

Washington University's Assembly Series Presents Mike Parker Pearson in the Ferguson Science Lecture "Stonehenge: New Discoveries"
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
4:00 p.m.
Washington University's Steinberg Hall Auditorium
(314) 935-4620
Washington University Website

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Mary Edwards is a producer for St. Louis Public Radio's broadcast program, "St. Louis Symphony."
Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
Don Marsh served as host of St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air" from 2005 to 2019, bringing discussions of significant topics to listeners' ears at noon Monday through Friday. Don has been an active journalist for 58 years in print, radio and television. He has won 12 Regional Emmy Awards for writing, reporting, and producing. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, was inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame in 2013, and named “Media Person of the Year” by the St. Louis Press Club in 2015. He has published three books: his most recent, “Coming of Age, Liver Spots and All: A Humorous Look at the Wonders of Getting Old,” “Flash Frames: Journey of a Journeyman Journalist” and “How to be Rude (Politely).” He holds an honorary Doctor of Arts and Letters degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.