A Brief History of Stonehenge, Paperback

A Brief History of Stonehenge Paperback

Part of the Brief Histories series

3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


A complete new history of the world's greatest stone circle Britain's leading expert on stone circles turns his attention to the greatest example of them all - Stonehenge.

Every aspect of Stonehenge is re-considered in Aubrey Burl's new analysis.

He explains for the first time how the outlying Heel Stone long predates Stonehenge itself, serving as a trackway marker in the prehistoric Harroway.

He uncovers new evidence that the Welsh bluestones were brought to Stonehenge by glaciation rather than by man. And he reveals just how far the design of Stonehenge was influenced by Breton styles and by Breton cults of the dead.

Meticulously research sets the record straight on the matter of Stonehenge's astronomical alignments.

Although the existence of a sightline to the midsummer sunrise is well known, the alignment and the viewing-position are different from popular belief. And the existence of an earlier alignment to the moon and a later one to the midwinter sunset has been largely unrealized.

One almost unexplained puzzle remains. The site of Stonehenge lies at the heart of a vast six-mile wide graveyard, but before it was built there appears to have been a mysterious gap two miles across on that site.

Burl argues that earlier totem-pole style constructions served a ceremonial purpose for the living - to celebrate success in the hunt.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384 pages, black & white illustrations
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9781845295912


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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Bit dull and technical in many places. The historical chapters were the best, but did seem to repeat a fair bit of material. I thought the author's theory about taking the origins of Celtic words back to derive the language of Stonehenge's builders was a bit far fetched. There also seemed to be some errors, e.g. in the facing of long barrows, where the table on p99 does not match the plan on p96. On the other hand, the author is convincing in showing that the bluestones were not transported from south Wales, as has been believed for the last 80 or more years. All in all, disappointing.

Review by

I found this a dry but interesting book, which brought together the history and many of the theories on the circle. I thought the biggest shortfall was the lack of diagrams and/or drawings showing what he was talking about. He had lots of old diagrams, from early archaeologists, but without the numbering or the comprehensive view that he tries to explain.