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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched, passionate, clearly written, 7 Nov. 2010
This review is from: ALEXANDER THOM-CRACKING THE STONE AGE...: Cracking the Stone Age Code (Paperback)
The builders of the ancient stone circles in Britain and Europe were not primitive savages; they understood the cycles of the seasons and the movement of the celestial spheres and had a deep understanding of geometry which they encoded into the many hundreds of stone circles in this country and further afield using a standardised measure called the Megalithic Yard. They were utilising "Pythagorean" triangles two millennia before Pythagoras was born and could predict eclipses! So thought Professor Thom who accurately surveyed hundreds of stone circles using a theodolite, drew up their ground-plans and discovered their geometrical and astronomical secrets.

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...prepared by the author [Robin Heath] and archaeologists at the University of Wales, Lampeter, was dropped by the University largely as a result of Professors Ruggles' and Parker Pearson's negative validation reports". Very telling!

Archaeoastronomy combines the disciplines of astronomy, mathematics and archaeology and it's not an easy subject but Heath has a rare gift for making difficult ideas appear simple. He relates the life and work of Alexander Thom with great clarity and tells the sad tale of how and why it was all "airbrushed out of academia", finally offering some ideas of his own as a "fitting tribute" in the last chapter. It's obviously something he feels very passionately about and if ever the day comes when Thom's ideas become more generally accepted it will radically alter our ideas about the past.

An all together compelling read.
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Location: Wales

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