Stonehenge and Other British Stone Monuments Astronomically Considered
by Norman Lockyer
After centuries of speculation the origin, purpose, and construction of Stonehenge is still a mystery. Out of the hundreds of books on the subject, a few stand out. Lockyer's careful survey of the monument and other Northern European megaliths is one of these. Lockyer, who had spotless academic credentials, raised some of the themes which would dominate mainstream theories of Stonehenge during the 20th century, particularly his focus on archaeo-astronomy. Lockyer's primary hypothesis, that Stonehenge and other megalithic constructions were ancient observatories, is still considered plausible. He also noted the vast alignments of sites which covered the landscape, both in Britain and in northern France, anticipating Afred Watkins' discovery of ley lines by over a decade.
On the other hand, his conclusion that Stonehenge was constructed by immigrants from the Near East was, even then, controversial. The use of large stones to construct monuments was global in nature over a long period of history. Lockyer rolls out the well-known folklore evidence for Celtic tree, well, and stone worship, which had parallels in ancient Near Eastern paganism. However, the people who constructed Stonehenge were pre-Celtic, and their religious beliefs are still a matter for speculation. This isn't to say that his hypothesis is implausible, just that there is no concrete evidence to support it.
Production notes: this text was scanned from a print-on-demand edition of this book, due to the unavailability of an original. For this reason, due to speckling, the OCR stage introduced a great deal of spurious punctuation which had to be edited out, and some problems of this nature may still remain, even though due care was taken in proofing. In addition, the scanned illustrations are not of the highest quality. Hopefully this will be remedied at some point--J.B. Hare.