Through the Dark Vale

Interpreting the Stonehenge Palisade through Interdisciplinary Convergence


  • Lionel Sims University of East London
  • David Fisher University of Wales Trinity St. David



underworld, Stonehenge Palisade, skyscape archaeology, materiality model, landscape archaeology, diacritical dualism


The Stonehenge Palisade was a Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age 2 km linear timber fence that ran alongside Stonehenge and its final Avenue approach. Within its middle section was a 300–400 m gap. Four archaeology models of the Palisade, all of which include horizon viewing, are evaluated and revised against the presently known properties of this structure, and elements of each retained after critique are integrated into an emergent interdisciplinary model by using skyscape archaeology. This new model suggests that the Palisades’ design of interrupted obscuration and the agency of skyscape knowledge in a planar stationary geocentric earth cosmology together indicate a ritual purpose of the Stonehenge monument complex, which was to simulate a journey through the underworld.


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Author Biographies

Lionel Sims, University of East London

Lionel Sims is Emeritus Head of Anthropology at the University of East London. Published many papers combining anthropology, archaeology, archaeoastronomy and Indo-European poetics on interpreting prehistoric monuments with particular reference to Stonehenge and Avebury; a film of his research was made by National Geographic; member of the Stonehenge Round Table hosted by English Heritage and the Avebury Sacred Sites Forum hosted by the National Trust; Vice President of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture.

David Fisher, University of Wales Trinity St. David

While pursuing a career in information technology, David Fisher’s life time interests in astronomy and archaeology turned into a quest for in-depth analysis while holding the post of CIO for a deepwater archaeological shipwreck recovery company; leading him to undertake a PhD in astro-archaeology at the University of Wales, utilizing computer technology modeling to assess the astronomical significance of megalithic sites. Papers published include: Employing 3-Dimensional Computer Simulation to Examine the Celestial Dating of Scottish Megalithic Sites (SEAC 2013) and Restructuring the World of Megalithic Sites and Animating Astronomical Phenomena through 3D Computerization (SEAC 2016).


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How to Cite

Sims, L., & Fisher, D. (2020). Through the Dark Vale: Interpreting the Stonehenge Palisade through Interdisciplinary Convergence. Journal of Skyscape Archaeology, 6(1), 5–29.