Britain's Pagan Heritage, with Professor Ronald Hutton
Professor Ronald Hutton, author of the superbly reviewed bestseller, Pagan Britain
Britain possesses the richest pagan heritage in Europe; enigmatic stone circles, hillforts and burial sites define our landscape. Most European nations preserve impressive monuments from one or two major periods of prehistory and one pagan culture but Britain has important remains from five successive prehistoric ages and about eight cultures.
How should we interpret this unique, inspiring resource? So much comes from a time before writing & little information survives.
Ronald Hutton has made this topic his own. His distinctive, irreverent style ensures he appears frequently on television and radio. At The Ebenezer, he will argue that Britain’s pagan past was not just one single settled culture but a variety of evolving practices, beliefs and rituals - with many lessons for our own complex society and a multiplicity of interpretations.
Professor Hutton will delve into the most famous prehistoric monument in the world, Stonehenge, ('The creation of careless megalomaniac carpenters...') and discuss one of the most heavily studied human bodies, Lindow Man, debunking mythologies, misapprehensions and attitudes along the way. He will also, however, suggest that all possible answers throw up still knottier questions...
Ron is Professor of History at Bristol University, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Society of Antiquaries, the Learned Society of Wales and the British Academy: a list of bodies which reflects the breadth of his historical interests.
He has published fifteen books, and seventy-three shorter works in peer-reviewed contexts. His latest book is "Pagan Britain", published by Yale University Press in 2013.
He regularly features in television and radio programmes - five in the past Christmas and New Year period alone - and his expertise in the subject of his Ebenezer talk earned him the post of historical advisor to Neil Oliver's series, "Sacred Wonders of Britain", for which he made an appearance in every episode.
The Economist: "Mr Hutton leads readers to question not only the ways in which Britain's ancient past is analysed, but also how all history is presented. He is also a lovely writer with a keen sense of the spiritual potency of Britain's ancient landscape."
Times Higher Education Supplement: "This is an expedition into deep time: a meticulous critical review of the known and sometimes shadowy rituals and beliefs in the British Isles from early prehistory to the advent of Christianity...Ronald Hutton brings the discussion alive with detail and debate...offering a visceral experience of the remarkable and often enigmatic evidence for ancient beliefs, rituals and practices in the British Isles."
Jonathan Eaton, Times Higher Education: "This magisterial synthesis of archaeology, history, anthropology and folklore traces religious belief in Britain from the emergence of modern humans to the conversion to Christianity."