Solving Stonehenge - the archaeological debate

Leading experts on Stonehenge descended on Salisbury Museum to ‘Solve Stonehenge’ in a debate as part of the Museum's 150th anniversary celebrations. Professor Tim Darvill, Professor Mike Parker Pearson, Mike Pitts and Julian Richards, who have all directed work within the Stonehenge landscape over the last 30 years, were kept in order by Andrew Lawson as they debated such questions as ‘Did Stonehenge have a roof?, ‘Which is more important, Durrington Walls or Stonehenge?’ and ‘Who built Stonehenge?’. Although the experts did not solve Stonehenge they did debate the questions in a lively manner which enthralled the audience, not least because all leading experts were together in one room for the first time at Salisbury Museum.

The debate was part of the Museum 150th anniversary conference which took place over the weekend of 2 and 3 October. Speakers spoke about the people involved in the Museum's history such as William Blackmore, Heywood Sumner, Robert Newall and General Pitt Rivers. Recent discoveries such as the five Roman cemeteries at Boscombe Down and the Amesbury Archer were also highlighted as well as the results of some new research projects which have been using the Museum's collections to advance our understanding of the past.

The conference and debate were a fantastic culmination to the Museum's 150th anniversary celebrations and demonstrated what you can find out from a pile of stones, bones and archives. From Antiquarians to the Amesbury Archer, Heywood Sumner to handaxes, the unsung heroes of Salisbury Museum were brought to life and there was something for everyone. If you weren’t there you really did miss out!