For centuries, stone circles have excited the imagination of their visitors, while archaeologists, astronomers and anthropologists have argued about the purpose of these mysterious abandoned rings. In recent years, accurate surveys of many sites have revealed that these monuments were not simply roughly arranged stone circles, but instead elegantly designed ritual centers. Modern excavations have shown that the earliest circles were erected over five thousand years ago and that sightlines were often built into them towards the sun or moon. Whether in northern Scotland, western Ireland, Wales, or southern England, a picture appears of widely dispersed communities constructing great rings for their ceremonies, frequently burying burnt human bone inside them. In Prehistoric Stone Circles, Aubrey Burl studies these rings, explores their history and reveals how we are gradually coming to an understanding of the true significance of these incredible feats of construction.
About the Author
Formerly Principal Lecturer in Prehistory at Hull College of Higher Education, Aubrey Burl is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He has directed the excavation of several monuments in Britain. His other titles for Shire include: Prehistoric Astronomy and Ritual and Prehistoric Henges.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Fourth Edition
2. The Origins of Stone Circles
3. Early Stone Circles: Late Neolithic Age, c. 3650-2900 BC
4. The Megalithic Enclosures of Brittany
5. The Middle Period: Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age, c. 2900-2200 BC
6. Late Stone Circles: Early Middle Bronze Age, c. 2200-1500 BC
7. Stonehenge: c. 3000-1500 BC
8. Current Work on Stone Circles
9. Sites to Visit
10. Further Reading