Stukeley’s ‘Stonehenge’

An Unpublished Manuscript, 1721–1724
Editor(s): 
Burl, Aubrey
Editor(s): 
Mortimer, Neil
ISBN: 
0300098952
Date published: 
April 2005
Hardback
Price: 
£30.00
Pages: 
160

William Stukeley (1667–1765), one of the first to conduct fieldwork at Stonehenge and to recognize its historic importance, meticulously recorded his findings in a manuscript that has remained unpublished for hundreds of years. That manuscript is transcribed here, accompanied by detailed annotations that confirm the value of Stukeley’s archaeological research and set it apart from his later unsustainable theories and obsessions with Druids.

Trained as a medical doctor, Stukeley’s interests were antiquarian and archaeological, with a particular enthusiasm for evidence of early sacred ritual. His Stonehenge field notes include careful measurements, drawings, and plans as well as original analyses and remarkable discoveries, among them the enigmatic cursus which no one before him had seen. Stukeley’s manuscript provides a fascinating review of what could be said of the stone circle and its landscape in the early eighteenth century.

Aubrey Burl was principal lecturer in archaeology, Hull College of Higher Education, East Riding of Yorkshire. His many books on stone circles include Prehistoric Avebury and A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland, and Brittany, published by Yale University Press.

Neil Mortimer was formerly editor of the archaeology and folklore journal 3rd Stone. He is the author of Stukeley Illustrated.