Author(s): Francis Pryor
A concise, beautifully illustrated account of the history and archaeology of an iconic feature of the English landscape. Perched on the chalk uplands of Salisbury Plain, the megaliths of Stonehenge offer one of the most recognizable outlines of any ancient structure. Its purpose - place of worship, sacrificial arena, giant calendar - is unknown, but its story is one of the most extraordinary of any of the world's prehistoric monuments. Constructed in several phases over a period of some 1500 years, beginning c. 3000 BC, Stonehenge's key elements are its `bluestones' , transported from West Wales by unexplained means, and sarsen stones quarried from the nearby Marlborough Downs. Francis Pryor delivers a rigorous account of the nature and history of Stonehenge, but also places the enigmatic stones in a wider cultural context, exploring how antiquarians, scholars, writers, artists, 'the heritage industry' - and even neopagans - have interpreted the site over the centuries.
'Pryor has a way with words that somehow simplify complex data and make it interesting and intelligible for the general reader ... This is undoubtedly a most enjoyable read and will be a good addition to the Stonehenge catalogue' Prehistoric Society. 'Accompanied by beautiful photographs and illustrations, the book takes us back in time to appreciate the complexity and spiritual significance of a 4,000-year-old monument that stands as testament to the ancients' BBC Countryfile. 'Head of Zeus has produced something that gives considerable aesthetic pleasure ... [Pryor's] readers benefit from his experience of excavating water-logged, thus better preserved, prehistoric sites' Minerva magazine. '[Pryor] represents his discipline attractively to the general public. His latest book is designed for just such an audience, and packages for it, with concision and splendid visual illustration, the past decade's worth of new discovery ... Pryor is especially able in conveying the dynamism of prehistory' TLS. 'A concise, beautifully illustrated account of the history and archaeology of an iconic feature written by an author who's clearly passionate about our past' NFU Countryside. 'A masterful overview of the historical hotspot ... Pryor's personable, authoritative prose is just what's needed to breathe life into a subject you might have thought long exhausted' History Revealed. 'A straightforward, succinct account with little nonsense in a pocket-sized landscape hardback that displays highly tasteful production values. [Pryor] is at his best describing early events at Stonehenge ... this is a book "in touch with its time and readership"' Current Archaeology. 'Pryor's ability to immerse himself in the age and the ability of see the landscape through their eyes, means that we get an expert view of the way that it evolved and changes, without descending into dry academic speak. As well as the rigorous writing, the book is full of excellent photos, high quality plans and beautiful pictures of Stonehenge. It is comprehensive without being complicated and well worth reading' Nudge Book. 'Beautifully written and illustrated book ... a compelling picture of the forces that formed Stonehenge' Mail on Sunday. 'This beautifully produced book brings us up to date with the latest in Stonehenge thinking ... This splendid book is nearly as good as wandering among the stones themselves' Daily Mail.
Francis Pryor is one of Britain's most distinguished living archaeologists, and the excavator of Flag Fen. He is the author of Home, Britain BC, Britain AD, Seahenge and The Making of the British Landscape.