“Many of the findings of the antiquarians and travellers of the 18th & 19th centuries were later
confirmed during the excavations. […] If a connection is to be sought, therefore,
between the archaeological evidence and the early literature,
it is to the older and more genuine tradition we must turn.”
– Professor Michael O’Kelly, ‘NEWGRANGE – ARCHAEOLOGY, ART AND LEGEND’ (1982)
Researcher Pete Glastonbury spent several months diligently amassing one of the largest and rarest archives ever for a film on this subject, often working from 250 year old first edition books.
Without question the two most important antiquarians were John Aubrey and William Stukeley. Their legacy is priceless, recording a Megalithic heritage long since destroyed.
Aubrey’s unpublished MONUMENTA BRITANNICA was compiled between 1663 and 1693. Very little of his work was published during his lifetime. Many of his most important manuscripts are preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Stukeley trained as a doctor, but in 1718 helped establish ‘The Society of Antiquaries,’ acting for nine years as its secretary.
His principal works, STONEHENGE – A TEMPLE RESTOR’D TO THE BRITISH DRUIDS, appeared in 1740, and ABURY (Avebury) in 1743. He was the first to suggest Stonehenge was built with specific alignments in mind, and the first to insist it was pre-Roman, dating it to 460 B.C. A meticulous surveyor who paid particular attention to the landscape context of monuments, Stukeley is widely credited as the founder of modern field archaeology.
Also below are stills of some of the extraordinary carved stones of Newgrange, Knowth, Fourknocks and Cairn T in Ireland, and the interior of Maes Howe in Orkney.
From the notebooks of John Aubrey.
From Stukeley’s STONEHENGE – A TEMPLE RESTOR’D and other works:
Three surveys of the main site at Callanish on the Isle of Lewis in The Hebrides, off Western Scotland.
Cairn T ~ Loughrew
Maes Howe ~ Orkney
The passageway is aligned to the midwinter sunsets – about three weeks either side of solstice itself.