Decoding Stonehenge

Ref: C2224478

The detailed archaeology of Stonehenge reveals that only a few possible interpretations are viable. When we include its associated monuments of wood, stone and earth and its place in the landscape and connection with the sky, only one or two interpretations are possible. We can test these few theories with a series of experiments that require acquaintance with prehistoric ‘astronomy’, the family and kinship of hunters and cattle herders, the origins of warring and the universal stories told through fairy tale and myths. This course will be a scientific journey through prehistory, and introduces you to the earliest types of ‘astronomy’, the methods of archaeology and anthropology, and the secrets locked into myth and fairy tale. The hidden meaning of Stonehenge is revealed in how the cattle herders who built it had to come to terms with the hunters that they had displaced.

Course aim

An introduction to the archaeology, anthropology and archaeoastronomy of Stonehenge including a test of these theories by interpreting European fairy tales and Greek myth.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • • Describe the architecture of the Stonehenge and Avebury monument complexes.
  • • Describe the anthropology of the Stonehenge and Avebury monument complexes.
  • • Describe the archaeoastronomy of the Stonehenge and Avebury monument complexes.
  • • Give an example and interpretation of any of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
  • • Evaluate interpretive claims for prehistoric monuments by scientific method.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full Course information sheet

Decoding Stonehenge


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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