Renowned archaeologist Pearson (Archaeology/University College London; From Machair to Mountains, 2012, etc.) presents the findings of the most ambitious and scientifically informed investigation of Stonehenge thus far.
Majestic, enigmatic and captivating, the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge is a mystery archaeologists have been struggling to solve for more than 300 years. Here, the author unveils the critical new discoveries made during the massive investigation he oversaw from 2003 to 2009: the Stonehenge Riverside Project. Forty-five excavations within the 6,500-acre Stonehenge World Heritage site revealed Stonehenge to be not just a monument that exists in isolation, but one of many monuments constructed within an ancient sacred landscape. From a massive Neolithic avenue connecting the neighboring wood henge Durrington Walls to the River Avon, to the discovery of 63 ancient cremation burials at Stonehenge, Pearson presents new evidence that indisputably links Stonehenge to a network of similar cremation monuments and ancient cemeteries across greater Britain. The project has also provided a tantalizing glimpse into the lives and minds of Britain’s prehistoric people. Lipid analysis of animal bones discovered at Durrington indicates that feasting took place there on a grand scale during midsummer and midwinter. Along with animal bones in large quantities, an entire Neolithic settlement was unearthed there as well, proving that while Stonehenge was a place that honored the dead, Durrington was a place of celebration for the living. Filled with maps, drawings, photographs and diagrams, the book details the group’s findings in a well-organized, absorbing manner. While the tone is decidedly academic, Pearson’s style is accessible enough—and the information discussed provocative enough—to make this book required reading for serious Anglophiles, students of archaeology and anthropologists alike.
The most authoritative, important book on Stonehenge to date.