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Solving Stonehenge: The New Key to an Ancient Enigma Hardcover – 19 May 2008


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (19 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500051550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500051559
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 17.8 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 491,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A groundbreaking interpretation of Britain's most iconic site' -- Minerva

`Engrossing and compelling ... makes a significant contribution to our knowledge of the monument ... a lot of book for the money and well worth reading'
-- Measurement + Control

`Makes us look at Stonehenge with new eyes'
-- Contemporary Review

`Represents a quantum leap forward into the temporal mists of the Prehistoric mind'
-- Minerva

Review

`Represents a quantum leap forward into the temporal mists of the Prehistoric mind'

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. DAVIES on 3 Aug. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A considerable volume of literature has been written about Stonehenge of varying quality and precision, from Chippendale's excellent 'Stonehenge Complete' to Druidic fantasy. The attraction for me of this book was its claim to literally solve aspects of this outstanding and enigmatic monument.

It is not until circa page 170 of its 269 pages that it ventures into its claimed new territory so for those with an already good understanding of the topic it takes a while to hit its stride. But for those new to the subject the first 170 pages provide a cogent and succint summary of Stonehenge's history.

The warming thing about the author's style is his humility in explaining his rationale and analysis and how persuasive that is in drawing you into his thinking and approach. Augmented by the substance of his arguments where he conclusively proves the geometric and architectural intelligence weaved into the design of Stonehenge the author makes a genuinely important contribution to the understanding of this famous structure and has the humility to concede that there is more left to discover.

There are some issues of varying significance though, e.g.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Duncan on 7 July 2008
Format: Hardcover
Stonehenge is National treasure and a Scheduled Ancient Monument; it is owned by the Nation, managed by English Heritage and has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1986. It is extremely difficult to get permission to go in there and start digging it up, the recent limited excavations by Darvill and Wainwright being a rare exception. That so, you'd think it was equally impossible to say anything both substantial and new about the place, but Anthony Johnson has just proved otherwise. Johnson is not only an academic but also has two decades of practical experience in survey and geomagnetics under his belt, as a commercial archaeologist. His approach to solving Stonehenge is likewise resolutely practical: he asks, and answers, how on earth Neolithic folk armed only with ropes and pegs, and bereft of modern laser-technology, could possibly construct something so elegant. His answer strongly suggests, contrary to the complex astronomical alignments proposed since the 1960s, that Stonehenge has only a single northeast-southwest axis, and that everything else is due to mirror symmetry and the circle-square geometry required to set it all out. It is an extremely simple solution.

This is not 'big science'. There are no particle accelerators and none of the hysteria one sees on the Time Team, with hordes of termite-like workers burrowing around and CGI reconstructions of Roman latrines. This is science in the style of the solitary English genius tinkering away in his workshop. Isaac Newton, from the comfort of his own study, first demonstrated that different colours of light carried different levels of energy, simply by using a prism to split a sunbeam and positioning thermometers at various points along its spectrum.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. Scott on 9 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was expecting the usual theories, not a bit of it, this is something absolutely new and refreshing. I had given up buying books on Stonehenge because in most the stones are hardly mentioned, this one sticks to the subject. It begins with a brief description of the setting and the origins of the myths and theories, what I found most interesting is that the book points out that every one of the so called modern ideas are actually quite old. I followed the recent BBC presentation which led with the idea that Stonehenge was a kind of Prehistoric Lourdes, thinking this was something new, not a bit of it, Anthony Johnson points out that the `healing stones' theory' dates back to the 12th century and that the famous Dr Harvey (he of the circulation of the blood fame) even dug there and asks why? But for me the second part of the book leaves every account of Stonehenge to date on the starting line. The idea that the stones were `architect designed' is so logical, and that it had to be largely worked out before it was put up is more than clear from the well argued points about the lintel joints being impossible to make on top of the stones. So in other words he must be right, the whole circle was made to match before it went up. The probable methods used by the builders to mark out the site are considered in detail, it all looks feasible, they must have worked to a plan of some kind, and it does look like geometry rather than astronomy, but then like the author says that doesn't remove the importance of the solstice alignment. Johnson argues for mid-winter being the most important because he says that's the direction in which the Big Trilithon faces.Read more ›
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