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In November 1997 English Heritage announced the discovery of a vast prehistoric temple in Somerset. The extraordinary wooden rings at Stanton Drew are the most recent and biggest of a series of remarkable discoveries that have transformed the way archaeologists think of the great monuments in the region, including Avebury and Stonehenge; one of the world's most famous prehistoric monuments, top tourist site and top location for summer solstice celebrations. The results of these discoveries have not been published outside academic journals and no one has considered the wider implications of these finds. Here Mike Pitts, who has worked as an archaeologist at Avebury, and has access to the unpublished English Heritage files, asks what sort of people designed and built these extraordinary neolithic structures - the biggest in Britain until the arrival of medieval cathedrals. Using computer reconstructions he shows what they looked like and asks what they are for. This is the story of the discovery of a lost civilisation that spanned five centuries, a civilisation that now lies mostly beneath the fields of Southern England.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 134.62 x 193.04 x 30.48mm | 272.15g
  • Cornerstone
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised
  • Revised ed.
  • 8pp b&w illustrations, maps, plans
  • 0099278758
  • 9780099278757
  • 647,594

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Review quote

"Generations have tried to understand the meaning of this amazing monument... yet till now no one has bene able to say with any confidence what it was for... an up-to-date, eye-opening book on our greatest prehistoric monument" Daily Mail "Reads like a whodunnit" Manchester Evening News "Mike Pitts is that rare thing, an archaeologist who not only makes the news...but who can also write it. This book is a gem - witty, charming, urbane, informative" Simon Denison, British Archaeology

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Flap copy

By the author of the highly acclaimed "Fairweather Eden, and Joint winner of the British Archaeology Press Award. As famous as it is mysterious, Stonehenge lies at the heart of a lost civilization that spanned five centuries, a civilization that now lies mostly beneath the fields of southern England. At nearby Avebury is one of the most extraordinary ancient religious landscapes, and the recently discovered wooden rings at Stanton Drew in Somerset are the biggest of a series of remarkable discoveries that have transformed the way archaeologists think of the great monuments in the region. For the first time in over forty years, an archaeologist presents the story from the inside. Starting at the excavation that followed the collapse of a Stonehenge megalith on the last night of the 19th century, and ending with a dramatic discovery in Avebury at the close of the 20th, "Hengeworld explains how recent archaeological discoveries have revolutionized the way we think about these great stone circles and the people who built them. Finally, Pitts shows a pattern emerging from the archaeology of these sites which explains the relationship between them, and he reconstructs the ceremony that would have symbolized this.

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About Michael W. Pitts

Mike Pitts, the only living archaeologist to have directed excavations at both Stonehenge and Avebury, studied at the Institue of Archaeology (University College London) before moving to Wiltshire for a stint as Curator of the Alexander Keiller Museum. He has written extensively for academic journals, as well as for radio, newspapers and popular magazines and his first book Fairweather Eden was published in 1997 to critical acclaim.

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