Mysteries of Stonehenge probed during free lecture with renowned archaeologist

Seven years after launching a new series of excavations and research, archeologists are only now beginning to understand the true purpose and age of Stonehenge — an ancient structure that has long fascinated the world.

Professor Mike Parker Pearson, a principal investigator for the Riverside Stonehenge and the Feeding Stonehenge projects, will reveal some of these key breakthroughs during a free lecture at Willamette University on Feb. 8. The talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the John C. Paulus Great Hall at Willamette University's College of Law.

During the event, Parker Pearson will discuss the current theories of Stonehenge — from it being an astronomical observatory to a center of healing. He will share information about the structure’s Neolithic builders and touch on the discovery and significance of a new monument called Bluestonehenge, located about a mile from Stonehenge. He will also share his professional opinion as to how and why stones from 180 miles away were used to construct the elaborate structure.

Parker Pearson works with the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. He’s served as vice president of the Prehistoric Society and was named 2010 Archeologist of the year in the United Kingdom. His work was featured on the National Geographic channel in the documentary “Stonehenge Decoded” in 2008.

Become Involved

Excavating an ancient historical landmark isn’t limited to archeologists. Willamette University students are invited to hone their own sleuthing skills by joining the university’s field school for an amazing experience in The Heart of Neolithic Orkney in Scotland (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Through the project, students will work with the Orkney Research Centre for Archeology and Orkney College, as they unearth a Neolithic complex on the Ness of Brodgar — a 6.2 acre archaeological site where evidence of housing and decorated stone slabs have been found. The application deadline is March 1.

The award winning and internationally recognized excavation was recently featured in a one-hour special on BBC’s “Ancient History of Britain and was named Research Project of the Year by the British Museum and Current Archaeology magazine. For more information, contact Scott Pike or go to