ALEXANDER THOM-CRACKING THE STONE AGE...: Cracking the Stone Age Code Paperback – 22 Jun 2007
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Professor Alexander Thom was a foremost scientist and engineer of the last century. Once Chair of Engineering Science at Brasenose College, Oxford, following an already distinguished career in both the academic and industrial world, during the War, he had been Principal Scientific Officer for the design of the High Speed Wind Tunnel at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, and had assisted Sir Barnes Wallace in the design of the famous 'bouncing bomb' of Dambuster's fame.From 1934, Thom became interested in the megalithic culture that had erected the stone circles, rows and other monuments in Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain. He began to accurately survey these sites, and in 1967 published "Megalithic Sites in Britain" (Oxford) where he claimed the builders had been skilled surveyors and astronomers, and had used an identical and accurate unit of length to mark out their constructions throughout Britain, a length he called the Megalithic yard (2.72 feet or 0.829m).Thom also discovered that they were using a geometry based on right-angled 'Pythagorean' triangles, triangles whose sides were whole numbers of this same megalithic yard, or subdivisions or multiples of it.He also proposed that they were observing both the sun and moon using precision alignments to identified sites or natural features on a distant horizon. He even showed that they could have predicted eclipses. The book was described by archaeologist Professor Richard Atkinson as 'a well-constructed time-bomb dropped through the letterbox of archaeology', and it caused a huge rumpus within the profession.In effect Thom had demonstrated that there was a huge missing component in our understanding of the Megalithic culture, one that archaeologists had totally missed, and that our model of prehistory was flawed and hopelessly inadequate. In 1970, The BBC made a full-length documentary about Thom under its flagship "Chronicle" series. "Magnus Magnusson" amiably presented Thom's discoveries for the first time to a non-specialist audience. Once out in the open, the archaeologists increasingly closed ranks while the informed public were enthralled.Despite the top statistician of the day validating the Megalithic yard at the Royal Society and British Academy, and despite several leading archaeologists supporting Thom, he was increasingly marginalised, airbrushed from the subject and forgotten.Apart from the "Chronicle" documentary, Thom's story has never properly been told until now - "Alexander Thom - Cracking the Stone Age Code" takes this fascinating subject beyond Thom's lifetime, the author showing how and why the archaeology profession missed a huge opportunity to embrace a remarkable aspect of our prehistoric past, one which carries huge implications for our modern culture.
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Top Customer Reviews
For some years I've been familiar with some of the ideas of Alexander Thom because they pop up from time to time in various "Earth Mysteries" books. Sadly, partly because of this, the whole subject of Alexander Thom, his stone-circle geometries and the Megalithic Yard all tend to be labeled as "New Age". This is a label it doesn't deserve because Thom's methods were entirely rigorous and mathematical. He was one of the most qualified academics in the country and gained support from some notable archaeologists of his day including R.J.C. Atkinson. The problem is not with the Earth Mysteries authors who, if anything, should be congratulated for keeping interest in Thom's work alive but with the mainstream academics who have pushed it all aside. Worse, there seems to be a determination within academe to maintain the status quo so that now, anyone advocating Thom's work also get pushed aside themselves.
This point is made on page 183, where Heath writes: "...a recent MA postgraduate course...Read more ›
Once again, someone whose thinking was miles ahead of most of his contemporaries was the subject of typical character assassination simply because of the limited horizons of others. With a few notable exceptions I have found archaeologists have their noses so firmly buried in the ground that they forget there is so much more surrounding us. As it says somewhere "Lift up your heads!"
Ken Bailey, Somerset
In this book, he brings the wirey Scot back to life, making us feel his rugged determination, as, over 70 years of age, he carried his home-made theodolite across the windswept highlands of Scotland. We feel the presence of an age gone by,when the love of understanding was greater than the need for recognition. We also get a comprehensive summary, with many detailed site plans, of Thom's incredibly important work by someone who understands it and has even checked up on it.
As a "fitting tribute", we learn of Thom's legacy and the incredible discoveries his life's work has made possible.
Thank you, Robin Heath, for the quality of your study.
An essential book for anyone interested in archaeoastronomy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
not as I expected a bit of a hard read not engaging...yet...good cheap price and have not given up on it yetPublished 11 months ago by kathy gifford
What this book discloses is nothing short of a national scandal, the archaeological profession's cover up of the work of one of Scotland's greatest sons, Alexander Thom. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Dave K
Still at the beginning. It promises to explain in simpler language Thoms ideas. It also works as a potted biography.Published 14 months ago by Mark6000