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Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 6. Juni 2013

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Mike Parker Pearson is a Professor of Archaeology at Sheffield University. He is an internationally renowned expert in the archaeology of death and also specialises in the later prehistory of Britain and Northern Europe and the archaeology of Madagascar and the western Indian Ocean. He has published 14 books and over 100 academic papers.

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Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery 1. September 2012
Von Neil Wiseman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
406 pages. Simon & Shuster, London. £19.

Coming on the heels of vast amounts of archeological research directed by Dr. Parker-Pearson over seven years, there are many who have waited for this summation since 2010. The book does not disappoint.

As few others have done, Parker-Pearson and his Riverside Project take the reader on a journey through the entire landscape of Stonehenge in order to make sense of this most enigmatic of Statement Monuments. Beginning in the deeps of the Mesolithic Era and working forward to the late Neolithic, he directs our attention to the numerous prequel-structures found within the Salisbury landscape. Through artifacts and finds of the immediate vicinity, we learn that this ever-morphing culture was constantly refining their conception of Sun, Life, Death, and how the myriad subsidiaries of these fit together into the long-lasting traditions we now know must have been observed.

Though standing firmly on the shoulders of his predecessors, Parker-Pearson has nevertheless taken previously interpreted physical information and expanded it to include other themes within this 8,000 years-ago culture. With unprecedented permissions from the numerous English authorities, in seven years over forty new digs were conducted at the Cursus, the Cuckoo Stone, Woodhenge and its environs, Durrington Walls, and many others ― even within the Dike of Stonehenge. Identifying and collating this new information is daunting, and proceeds to the present day.

Stonehenge itself it not immune to serious editorial, and many things that were previously held as truth have now been relegated to the pile of discarded theories. The controversial periglacial striations, coincidentally aligning to the summer solstice sunrise, are now established as a rationale for placing the monument in its otherwise mundane location. The age and time-frame of the Monument is firmly established by reviewing many of the artifacts found in the 20th century. The order of postholes in the initial Phase has been explained. The arrival of the Bluestones has been pushed back almost 200 years, and the Arcs, Ovals and Circles made with these are put in proper sequence, throwing the previously misunderstood timing of the Sarsen erection into welcome disarray. Additionally, the order of erection is definitively solved, that is: yes ― the Trilithons went up first.

The book is very readable; to the inclusion of many anecdotal tales of various adventures corresponding to digs, past and present. One of these is Geoff Wainwright's 3-month quick-dig at Durrington in 1967, with his raucous band of archeological merry-making jokesters. It is a hilarious, eye-opening read. The consumption of great quantities of beer while experiencing `Eureka Moments', is also a featured theme. This keeps the detailed information within reach of those who might otherwise shrink from reading it.

He does not preach. With this book, one might be sitting at the local pub discussing these issues in a round-robin atmosphere, and is not presented as an opportunity to pontificate. He mentions `Future Findings' many times, as well as a conscious dismay at having to disturb the ground at all, while noting that the same curses levied at previous archeologists will no doubt be directed at him with the next generation.

The downside of this book is mechanical ― not with the contents. The reproduction of profuse black & white photographs is not the best, though the folio of color plates come through nicely on 90# gloss. Also, the illustrations are understandably small, and I urge the aging hand to reach for a magnifier.

Though well edited, I did find one error. This occurs on page 41 and concerns the caption of a photo on that page. It shows Drs. Piggott and Atkinson peering at the bottom of a Trilithon upright as it's being lowered into a newly fabricated reinforced concrete slot. The caption details the orthostat as Stone 53. In fact, it is Stone 57 from the collapsed West Trilithon, re-erected in 1958. Seen behind the many onlookers are Stones 21, 22, & 23. Stone 53 was, along with 54, excavated and righted in 1964, but never pulled. Also, Dr Piggott was not associated with the later work.

It is a small thing among many noteworthy revelations, and I recommend this book to armchair researchers and professionals alike.
Four out of Five Stars.

ND Wiseman
August 2012
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A fascinating book! 5. Oktober 2012
Von Daniel - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
First, I've read several books about Stonehenge and other ancient monuments, been to Stonehenge, heard Mike Parker Pearson speak last spring, and feel moderately well-informed. Yet the book has so much new information on Stonehenge and its immediate area that I was having many "wow!" moments. Pearson's argument combines descriptions of the significant new archaeological discoveries with the logic of science on the topic; he is oriented to evidence and careful inferences. He is quite frank about the work of past archaeologists--some of them did poorly. He also has fascinating excursions into related topics: Ancient units of measurements (the long foot and the short foot), astronomical theories, Druids and ancient religions, when animals were killed and eaten, how to move large heavy stones from western Wales to Wessex, how to raise heavy stones, comparisons to other ancient villages and monuments in Europe, chronologies (archaeologists love accurate dates); and the financing and politics of doing archaeology. It is well illustrated with maps, diagrams of monuments, and artistic pictures of what a monument may have looked like. It is a rich satisfying book. He writes well and has a good narrative sense. A newcomer to the topic can handle the book.
Second, a few minor annoyances: He knows the names of archaeologists and--forgetting that we readers may forget names mentioned in earlier chapters--he mentions names without reminders of who they are. Indexing does not highlight definitions ("portal dolmens" baffled me for awhile). The printing of diagrams includes tiny, light, gray and hard-to-read numbers. Some of his theorizing about the builders' religion and national unity floats a bit free from available evidence.
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An Excellent Text 26. November 2012
Von Paul Burley - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Mike Parker Pearson's 'Stonehenge' is one of the latest, and perhaps greatest, of scholarly books reviewing the status of archaeological studies of the monument and environ. Well organized and written by the foremost scholar of the Durrington Walls, Woodhenge and Stonehenge complex, the book is very reader friendly and offers all the information one could ask for as to the current state of understanding of the greatest megalithic structure in Europe, if not the world. A must have for anyone interested in ancient structures.
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Major revision of Stonehenge interpretations. 29. März 2013
Von Whitney Keen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I was familiar with many of the new findings in this book because Mike Parker-Pearson spoke to the NY City AIA a few years ago. However, this book included much more than what was covered by his talk then. If you are interested in the story behind henge monuments, Stonehenge and Durrington Walls in particular, this book is a MUST READ. Furthermore, it's a good read, clear and full of new interpretations, new datings, new findings. I bought it on but understand it will be available in the US this summer.
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