The stone circles of the British Isles

by Aubrey Burl

Hardcover, 1976



Call number



Yale University Press (1976), 410 pages


The author provides a hypothetical chronological framework for the circles and considers their origins and purpose, examining in particular their possible astronomical function. He then discusses each regional grouping of circles, describing their architectural types and the finds from excavations. Special attention is paid to Stonehenge and Avebury, the two best known and most spectacular rings.

User reviews

LibraryThing member upstairsgirl
Although this book is interesting and well-written, I couldn't get into it.

Burl's book is a technical, academic treatment of the stone circles of the British Isles, and while i understood that when I picked it up, I wasn't prepared for how much archaeological, historical, and geographical knowledge
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would be required to understand it. While I'm somewhat familiar with British pre-history, and with the general geography of the island, I found that I needed more context in both areas than the book provides. Archaeologically speaking, the book assumes in-depth study of the field, and is really intended for a sophisticated audience.

Without the necessary background, I can't comment on the quality of the scholarship, unfortunately, or rate the book; all I can say is that it isn't light reading, and it isn't intended for those with a casual interest in the subject. However, it's quite well written.
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LibraryThing member catseyegreen
In this book the author provides data and land surveys of the stone circles still to be found in the British Isles. Each site is individually reviewed with black and white photographs as well as diagrams of the stones. The excavation data about each site is summarized. The author's style is
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academic, factual and somewhat dry to read.
This is an older book so I am not entirely sure all the author's data is accurate anymore.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

410 p.


0300019726 / 9780300019728



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