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Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery Hardcover – 7 Jun 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (General list, Trade Division); First Edition edition (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085720730X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857207302
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 278,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'From 2003 to 2009, the archaeologist Mike Pearson led the Stonehenge Riverside Project that studied Stonehenge… His book is a detailed account of that archaeological survey, expressed in a genial style that invigorates the story of the groundwork' --Iain Finlayson, The Times

'The book describes one of the outstanding archaeological projects of recent years. It is accessible, original, carefully researched and important. But, above all, it is exciting' --Richard Bradley, Reading University

About the Author

Mike Parker Pearson is a Professor of Archaeology at Sheffield University. He is an internationally renowned expert in the archaeology of death and also specialises in the later prehistory of Britain and Northern Europe and the archaeology of Madagascar and the western Indian Ocean. He has published 14 books and over 100 academic papers.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anthony K. Divey on 16 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent account of the building and meaning of Britain's most iconic prehistoric monument. Yet it is much more than just an account of the famous stones. Mike Parker Pearson places Stonehenge in a much wider context linking it not just to the local landscape but also to its wider role within Britain as a whole.

The meaning of the link between Stonehenge and other local sites is a topic Parker Pearson has been associated with for a while now and he summarises this story very well by describing excavations at Durrington Walls, along the River Avon and at the site now known as Bluestonehenge. Crediting his Madagascan colleague Ramilisonina at the beginning, Parker Pearson makes a strong case for their notion of lands of the living and the dead, based on the contrast between wood and stone.

With the bluestones coming from beyond the local landscape it's not surprising that the story becomes national rather than just regional. However the revelations about the exact origins of the bluestones were new to me. I especially liked the links with sites in the Orkneys as Parker Pearson established the importance of Stonehenge within the whole of the British isles. The significance of the periglacial features revealed toward the end adds another new chapter to the interpretations of the site.

Ultimately Mike Parker Pearson presents an optimistic view of the society creating this monument, based on unity and, perhaps, peace.

I would really recommend this book. However much you think you know about Stonehenge you are likely to learn more. And if you get the chance to hear him speak, take it. I envy his UCL students.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan M. Morris on 26 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read other reviews of this book, I was unsure whether or not to buy it.

In this book, Professor Parker-Pearson uses an easy going style to describe the sequence of events which led to recent discoveries in the last few years. Focusing not just on the monument but its surrounds and other relevant locations, the book takes care to explain how and why recent investigations took place. New discoveries are recorded in some detail together with short descriptions of existing knowledge and a useful revision of the established time-scale for the monument's construction: The attention to describing new information leads to a slightly dis-jointed approach, which was probably unavoidable given the breadth of sources; but compensated for by the enthusiasm which runs through the book.

Overall, the book is different from other works on Stonehenge because of the concentration on providing the latest information, from a variety of investigation projects, in an easily digestible form.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Big Jim TOP 100 REVIEWER on 13 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an interesting and very readable account of recent archaelogical discoveries at or near Stonehenge and the quarries in Wales and elsewhere connected with the stones. As such it doesn't pay much heed to any mystical connotations to the henge and instead concentrates on evidence gleaned from the new digs. The reason I would say get the book rather than the kindle edition is the large number of drawings, maps and plans don't reproduce well on the kindle and they are often integral to one's understanding of the material. I would also say that the author's unfussy style can't really extend the potential readership of this book beyond those interested in solid history and/or archaelogy so the lay reader may find some of this quite dull. The words solid and dependable apply to this book rather than exciting and exhilarating hence only 4 rather than 5 stars.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr Richard W Moseley on 29 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Firstly, I should state that I am no archaeologist, but I do hold a keen interest in Stonehenge and its people.
For me, this book is excellently written in a style that is authoritative, extremely informative, yet entertaining to read.
In fact, I polished it off in less than a week!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bigreader on 23 July 2013
Format: Paperback
The US edition is also published 2013, with a different cover (blue/green) and a slightly different title ("Stonehenge: A New Understanding") to the UK edition. Different publisher in the US (The Experiment, not Simon & Schuster). No need to buy both editions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 2 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
In this complex, well-paced tale unravelling the mysteries of our greatest stone-age monument, Mike Parker Pearson (MPP) comes across as a boisterous archaeologist who enjoys testing competing theories or trumping earlier researchers: Atkinson’s “ramp” is in fact a pit! He is also generous on how much is contributed by colleagues’ insights – Colin found this, Josh noticed that, Julian’s results are spectacular; and aware that a careless mistaken assumption can become “accepted fact” for decades. He enjoys “the thrill of the chase”, inviting readers to share it by shaping his project’s discoveries as stories with suspense and punch-lines, instead of drily starting from their conclusions as in an official report. More than once, a key find is made at the last hour on the last day of digging. A slight downside of this “adventure” story-telling is that I found myself turning back, once I knew the solution to a mystery such as what had been in the Aubrey Holes, to re-read that section from the start in the light of MPP’s conclusions (I won’t do a spoiler, in case you enjoy the chase!). Those who find the suspense too much might start at chapter 22 with an executive summary of his findings; but it seems fair to mention here highlights such as discovering many Neolithic houses, evidence of pork feasts specifically at mid-winter, and deducing what links the Durrington and Stonehenge sites overall.

He takes care to present both sides of an argument but also his own view, for example on jade-type axes found across Neolithic sites: he suspects they were heirlooms, already antiques when brought to Britain by colonists, and not traded in long-distance exchanges.
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