New MOOC unearths the secrets of Stonehenge

2 December 2014

Five thousand years of Stonehenge’s history can now be unearthed by doing a fascinating new MOOC run by the University of Buckingham.

Anyone signing up to the MOOC will be able to probe some of the reasons why archaeologists believe it was built, theories on those who built it and cultural responses to it.

By doing the MOOC, which has no entry requirements, students will gain a much better understanding of the celebrated monument.

More than 1,000 people have already signed up to the MOOC, which will also enable students to evaluate responses to Stonehenge in art, literature, music, architecture and culture and it will encourage them to think about what Stonehenge means to them. This response will be peer-evaluated through two mini-essays.

Topics will include the prehistoric setting of Stonehenge, theories on its background, cultural responses, Stonehenge as a cultural icon and an examination of students’ responses.

The University of Buckingham is working with iversity.org, which enables students to continue the discussion after the course. The partnership allows students to join in Interactive quizzes, give feedback on learning progress and enjoy being part of a community of global learners providing a lively exchange of ideas.

University of Buckingham lecturer Dr Graeme Davis, who is leading the MOOC, said: “Stonehenge is one of the most iconic monuments in the world and it has captured the imagination of archaeologists, writers, musicians and artists, as well as the general public. Everyone has a view on how this enigmatic monument came to be erected and now there is an opportunity for people to explore 5,000 years of history and reach their own informed conclusions.

“Some of the research referred to in the MOOC has been carried out by the University of Buckingham’s Archaeologist David Jacques, who is the Project Director of Vespasian’s Camp, the Mesolithic site near Stonehenge. He led the dig which brought about the ground-breaking revelation that Amesbury is the oldest continually-occupied place in the country.”

Dr Graeme Davis is a historical linguist and medieval historian with particular interests in the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. His recent research revealed what is believed to be the oldest poem written about Stonehenge in Anglo-Saxon and dating from the mid eighth century. He has a particular interest in cultural responses to Stonehenge.

The course will take approximately two hours per week for watching video lectures, completing quizzes and homework assignments and it will take around 14 hours in total to complete.

In October the University of Buckingham launched a research MA in Archaeology – Stonehenge: A Landscape Through Time – which began with a dig at Vespasian’s Camp, led by David Jacques.

For more details of the MOOC and to register: iversity.org/en/courses/stonehenge.


For more details contact Diana Blamires, Publicity Officer, University of Buckingham

Tel: +44 (0)1280 820213
Email: diana.blamires@buckingham.ac.uk
Twitter: @dianablamires / @UniofBuckingham
The University of Buckingham, Hunter Street, Buckingham MK18 1EG