A New Understanding : Solving the Mysteries of the Greatest Stone Age Monument

Book - 2014
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Workman Press.

Stonehenge stands as an enduring link to our prehistoric ancestors, yet the secrets it has guarded for thousands of years have long eluded us. Until now, the millions of enthusiasts who flock to the iconic site have made do with mere speculation—about Stonehenge’s celestial significance, human sacrifice, and even aliens and druids. One would think that the numerous research expeditions at Stonehenge had left no stone unturned. Yet, before the Stonehenge Riverside Project—a hugely ambitious, seven-year dig by today’s top archaeologists—all previous digs combined had only investigated a fraction of the monument, and many records from those earlier expeditions are either inaccurate or incomplete.

Stonehenge—A New Understanding rewrites the story. From 2003 to 2009, author Mike Parker Pearson led the Stonehenge Riverside Project, the most comprehensive excavation ever conducted around Stonehenge. The project unearthed a wealth of fresh evidence that had gone untouched since prehistory. Parker Pearson uses that evidence to present a paradigm-shifting theory of the true significance that Stonehenge held for its builders—and mines his field notes to give you a you-are-there view of the dirt, drama, and thrilling discoveries of this history-changing archaeological dig.

Publisher: New York : The Experiment, 2014
Edition: First paperback edition
ISBN: 9781615191932
Branch Call Number: 936.2 PEARS
Characteristics: 410 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Additional Contributors: Stonehenge Riverside Project (England)
Notes: "First published in Great Britain in 2012 as Stonehenge : exploring the greatest stone age mystery by Simon & Schuster, a division of Simon & Schuster UK Ltd."--Title page verso


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Dec 03, 2019

This is a splendid read for anyone interested in neolithic Britain, in Stonehenge, of course, as well as in other sites in south England such as Avebury, and modern archeology. For my part, Pearson's book served as my guide as I sought out the lesser known Avebury site which is open to the public and far less crowded, unlike Stonehenge which draws more than a million visitors each year. The thing about these neolithic sites, of course, is that they are so large and yet so enigmatic as there are no written records or oral history despite the fact that these sites, mostly for religious purposes, were in use over nearly a thousand year. This extraordinary book is written in straightforward language and well-illustrated, making it very accessible, unlike academic texts in this field. It's well-illustrated and it's also a narrative about how Pearson put together a multi-disciplinary team -- one team member actually paddled down the river and wrote an ethnography of that approach to Stonehenge, others dated the antlers that were used as early shovels to excavate the ditch that surrounded this ancient necropolis. Greg Strong


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