Beyond Stonehenge

New York: Harper & Row, 1973. First printing [stated, per printing line at last, unnumbered, page]. Hardcover. xvi, 319, [1] pages. Illustrated with 60 photos and 49 line drawings. Bibliographical References. The dust jacket is price clipped and has some wear and tear. A few pages have moisture damage. Drawing from his archaeological findings about Stonehenge, the author illuminates the scientific knowledge of prehistoric man. Hawkins takes readers on a whirlwind trip of the globe in search of ancient astronomy and a scientific understanding of calendar-keeping. Gerald Stanley Hawkins (20 April 1928– 26 May 2003) was a British-born American astronomer and author noted for his work in the field of archae-astronomy. A professor and chair of the astronomy department at Boston University in the United States, he published in 1963 an analysis of Stonehenge in which he was the first to propose that it was an ancient astronomical observatory used to predict movements of the sun and moon, and that it was used as a computer. Archaeologists and other scholars have since demonstrated such sophisticated, complex planning and construction at other prehistoric earthwork sites, such as Cahokia in the United States. The contents include Phone call -- Stonehenge -- Sunrise -- A new map -- The critics -- Desert mystery -- Testing -- Lost civilization -- Kon-Tiki -- The new world -- Amon-Ra -- Art, magic, and numbers -- Civilization now -- Last thoughts -- Appendix: Astro-Archaeology. Stonehenge is a prehistoric megalithic structure on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury. It consists of an outer ring of vertical sarsen standing stones, each around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, seven feet (2.1 m) wide, and weighing around 25 tons, topped by connecting horizontal lintel stones. Inside is a ring of smaller bluestones. Inside these are free-standing trilithons, two bulkier vertical sarsens joined by one lintel. The whole monument, now ruinous, is aligned towards the sunrise on the summer solstice and sunset on the winter solstice. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the densest complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred tumuli (burial mounds). Derived from a 1973 review by Elizabeth Janeway in The New York Times In 1965, Gerald S. Hawkins, an astronomer affiliated with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, published (with John B. White) a book “Stonehenge Decoded,” elaborating a new theory on the purpose and function of the legendary circle of megaliths that have brooded over Salisbury Plain. Though claimed by romantics as Roman, Druid or Celt, the construction had finally been dated back before any of these, to 2000–2200 B.C. by radio carbon estimates. That was Stone Age still in Britain, and Hawkins declared, to a startled public, that what Stone Age man had built was an astronomical observatory. . In his new book, “Beyond Stonehenge,” Hawkins has gone looking for, and at, other monuments of preliterate man. Animal shapes, traced in the Peruvian desert, are unidentifiable on the ground but show up clearly when viewed from the air. Sight lines from Mayan pyramids and Egyptian temples record the same calendar points of sunrise and moonrise that Stonehenge indicates. As demanding of organized, communal labor (and thus witness to cohesive social structures) are the huge earth works of Indian mound builders, scattered across the plains of North America. Taken together, they warn us not to underestimate the knowledge and the technical skills of our ancestors. The fact that the book was written at all has a peculiar significance. An audience of lay readers is hungry for information about the data that science unearths, and not simply at the “My! How curious!” level. They are looking for explanations. The curiosity of lay people is more than legitimate. It represents a desire to know that is more serious than is realized by the cult popularizers who cater to it. Science fiction would not exist without it, and out of science fiction are coming some of the central themes of our most serious writers of fiction. There's nothing unusual about this. Poets and writers of fiction have often been pioneers in perceiving the importance of new themes and new knowledge. When the intellectual élite won't take that desire to understand seriously that's a bad thing for everyone. Let us, therefore, honor Professor Hawkins for his persistent essays in communication. Condition: Good / Fair.

Keywords: Stonehenge, Kon-Tiki, Amon-Ra, Civilization, Astro-archaeology, Machu Picchu, Mound Builders, Mayan, Astro-Surveys, Karnak, Cave Dwellers, Burials, Heyerdahl, Inca, Nasca, Yucatan

ISBN: 0060117869

[Book #87991]

Price: $57.50

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