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Book Description

First edition. A fine copy in publisher's original dark blue cloth with gilt spine lettering. Dust jacket with overprinted price 63s. net, sunned at spine (chipped at head and tail), and with two short closed tears on rear panel; a few related titles noted in ink inside the rear flap. Two-colour frontispiece of the Avebury circle, and profusely illustrated with charts and diagrams.
Dealer Notes
This is the first of three books (as well as numerous scholarly papers) by Alexander Thom on the subject of the structure, alignments and classifications of the ancient stone/wood circles (henges) — like Stonehenge, Avebury or Rollright — found across the British Isles and Britanny. A professor of engineering at Oxford, Thom spent his weekends and holidays surveying more than 250 circles, and studying reports of those he didn’t reach (there are 400-500 in all), and applying deep analytical statistics — combined with astronomical and mathematical expertise — to develop an original theory of the purpose and construction of the sites that still resonates today.
Thom suggested that the ancients used a standard measurement, the “megalithic yard” equivalent to ~2.72', to build their structures, according to definable classifications, and to align them to lunar and, sometimes, solar movements, thereby showing a deep understanding of astronomy. This allowed them to predict eclipses and led to the development of a sophisticated calendar, with 8- or 16-month years centered on the solstices and equinoxes. His work, filled with technical analyses and written for the academic, was central to the development of the field of archaeoastronomy.
Ridiculed by many traditional archaeologists, Thom’s work did change the way we look at these sites. Whether one accepts his findings or not, or turn them to a new age application, one cannot ignore their influence.
Author A[lexander] Thom
Date 1967
Binding Original cloth
Publisher Oxford: The Clarendon Press
Condition Fine copy
Pages 174

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