After outlining an unusually open-ended interpretation of Prehistoric Britain in a lecture at Warwick University, Prof. Ronald Hutton was invited to serve as an adviser for the planning of the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.
“I outlined a view of the prehistoric past in which we would never know what the religion was and what the ceremonies were that were conducted at the great monuments it had left us. And therefore anybody’s guess was as good as anybody else’s as long as it was based on the material evidence itself. And, therefore, as many different explanations we could have, the healthier the situation would be.”
While some people find this deliberate embrace of divergent ideas and personal opinions to be exhilarating, others find this approach too uncritical and indiscriminate.
What do you think? Should the fundamental mission of an Interpretation Center be to foster or stimulate creative thinking or, rather, to provide (and update when necessary) an authorized account of the leading scholarly outlook(s) upon pertinent topics? Or, along other lines, do normal guidelines and expectations concerning historic interpretation simply not apply to the mysteries of the prehistoric past?
Stonehenge Visitor Centre (University of Bristol, 2016, 3 mins.):
Before we visit Stonehenge, please watch the following video about the new Visitor Center. Please write a few paragraphs about your visit. How successful is the new center? What changes, if any, might you suggest?
Susan Greaney speaking to the graduate program in Archaeology at the University of York: