In this talk Julian will examine how our view of Stonehenge, this unique and enigmatic structure, has changed through time as our understanding of the past has evolved. From medieval myths about the wizard Merlin, through Romans, Druids and biblical chronology to UFO’s and social media disinformation, Stonehenge has always fascinated.
Now science has unlocked some of Stonehenge’s secrets, from radiocarbon dating to the isotopic analysis of human and animal bones that evidence long-distance contacts. Hidden landscapes have been revealed and past landscapes brought to life through studies of snails and pollen. And now DNA studies are providing the evidence of population change and hinting at ancient plagues
Julian Richards is a freelance archaeologist, author and educator who is fascinated by Stonehenge and its place in both Neolithic and contemporary culture. In the 1980’s Julian directed a major project to study the Stonehenge landscape and has been involved with Stonehenge ever since. The author of the current guidebook to the monument, as well as ‘Stonehenge - the story so far’ and the ‘Amazing pop-up Stonehenge’ Julian has also been a broadcaster. On TV he presented seven series of ‘Meet the Ancestors’ on BBC2, ‘Blood of the Vikings’ (BBC2) and ‘Tales from the dark earth- Meet the Ancestors revisited’ on BBC4 while on Radio 4 he presented the long -running ‘Mapping the Town’.
Julian is now involved in education, community archaeology projects and lecturing widely. He is also curating the new ceramics gallery at Salisbury Museum (another great interest).
This talk has been organised with the Arts Society of Sidmouth.