Prehistoric Avebury

New Fully Revised Edition

Aubrey Burl

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Price: $27.00
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This magnificent book is a fascinating account of the prehistoric stone circles at Avebury, which not only date from an earlier era but are also larger than the more famous sarsen stone circle of Stonehenge. Written by a leading archaeologist, the book considers every aspect of Avebury’s history and construction and discusses the probable purpose of these massive structures, in the process creating a vivid and moving picture of their creators—a primitive people whose lives were brief, savage, and fearful.
"In this beautifully illustrated book, Aubrey Burl combines both archaeological and historical evidence to present an absorbing account of the mysterious stone monuments at Avebury and the life of the primitive people who erected them nearly 5000 years ago."—Publishers Weekly
"This beautifully illustrated book discusses Avebury today, where one can still wander among these fascinating stones, and relates the destruction of and excavations at this prehistoric site."—Science News

Aubrey Burl was formerly principal lecturer in archaeology, Hull College of Higher Education, East Riding of Yorkshire. He is also the author of Great Stone Circles: Fables, Fictions, Facts, From Carnac to Callanish: The Prehistoric Stone Rows, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, and A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland, and Brittany, all published by Yale University Press.

“This eminently readable book . . . is an account of both those who have studied Avebury in the past, and those who originally created the stone circles. The illustrations are superb. . . . Burl’s book brims with photographs of the site. . . . And it is laced with lively anecdotes and thrilling reconstructions of what life might have been like for the primitive people at Avebury. . . . Fabulous. If you only ever read one archaeology book, let it be this one.”—Wiltshire Times

“This masterly account of Britain’s largest stone circle is so thorough, intelligent and, above all, wonderfully readable. . . . This enthralling book is a worthy celebration.”—The Independent

"Sets a high standard in archeological writing for a lay audience."—Publishers Weekly

"The book probes the mysteries of Avebury. Burl describes the design and construction of Avebury's multiple circles and earthworks and takes the reader back nearly five thousand years to explore the lives and beliefs of those who built a monument 'equal to any of the noted wonders of the world.'"—Theodora Nelson and Andrea Gross, Good Books for the Curious Traveler Europe

"[Burl] has successfully probed the tantalisingly enigmatic stones of Avebury in a manner that is expert and ultra-readable. . . . [An] indispensable, authoritative book. . . . Much new interpretation fashioned from excavation reports here, and even more about the way of life of the people who raised the great stones. The illustrations are a joy. What a present for anyone interested in the past."—The Bookseller (London)

". . . The book is spiced with gingery humor and beautifully illustrated. For the general reader, it is quite the best thing available on the relic. . . . "—Phoebe-Lou Adams, The Atlantic Monthly


"The photographs, many in color, are first-rate. One hopes this book will at last win for Avebury some of the attention lavished on Stonehenge."—John Barkham Reviews


"An account of the prehistoric cult temples of Avebury, once the wonder of antiquarians, now the site of archeological studies. . . . A fine set of pictures, some in color, show the circles next to their rural red-brick neighbors, pressing a connection between Avebury now and then."—Robert Kirsch, Los Angeles Times

"Well worth having, and with its splendid illustrations good value for money."—Jacquetta Hawkes, Washington Post Book World


"[A] sumptuous volume, popular in style but equipped with a full panoply of maps, diagrams, photographs, pictorial reconstructions, chronologies, notes, and bibliography. It is altogether a fine piece of work."—Paul Johnson, New York Times Book Review

“Burl applies his archaeological acumen and incisiveness to a more detailed study of the largest and most neglected of [the stone] circles—Avebury. Based on published research, parallels among contemporary primitive cultures, and his own work in the field, the author gives us a reconstruction of British civilization during the creation and golden age of Avebury and the reasons for its decline and fall. . . . A well-constructed and documented history that is one of the few extensive works available on Avebury. Recommended for general collections.”—Library Journal

". . . In this fascinating study, an admirable balance of scholarship and literary skill, Mr. Burl . . . details the haphazard excavations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the more sophisticated investigations since the Second World War; touches on the numerous (and often crackpot) theories of the circles' function; and, perhaps most interestingly, attempts to reconstruct the daily life of the ancient Britons to whose incredible labors and surpassing ingenuity the stones stand as an enigmatic monument."—The New Yorker

"Civilized and modest. . . . Burl writes with skill and charm, and maintains . . . some 300 pages of interest and entertainment. . . . This is an enjoyable book, yes; splendidly illustrated."—Geoffrey Grigson, New York Review of Books

"Aubrey Burl has now turned from British stone circles in general, on which he is the main authority, to a detailed study of one of the best know of them, on a scale and with a breadth of knowledge and vision rivalled only by Stukeley. This is a quite remarkable book, and a pleasure to read."—R. J. C. Atkinson, Nature

"Burl has a fascinating story directed to the general reader with little archaeological training, but nevertheless one of great interest to scholars exploring the ritual origins of architecture, a neglected field of study."—Barry Lewis, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

". . . The book is descriptively excellent, with many fine illustrations (including color photos), and is presented in a most intelligent manner insofar as interpretation is concerned. . . . There is a good deal of meat here, especially if one reads The Stone Circles first as a general introduction to the topic. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate and university libraries."—Choice
ISBN: 9780300090871
Publication Date: May 11, 2002
272 pages, 6 x 8 1/4
80 b/w + 25 color illus.
Stukeley's 'Stonehenge'

An Unpublished Manuscript 1721-1724

Edited by Aubrey Burl and Neil Mortimer

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Great Stone Circles

Fables, Fictions, Facts

Aubrey Burl

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