The Strange History of British Archaeoastronomy


  • Ronald Hutton University of Bristol



archaeoastronomy, anthropology, megalithic, , alignments, pagan Britain, orientation, ethnoastronomy, Oxford conferences, methodology, astronomical heritage, British history


Between 1965 and 1985, British archaeologists found themselves obliged to study the skies as well as the evidence beneath the earth. The sciences of astronomy, mathematics, and statistics bore down on the study of prehistoric monuments as never before, and a series of impressive books and conferences explored the alignments and proportions of ancient ceremonial sites. A quarter of a century later, all this excitement has arguably evaporated. The four different disciplines have largely separated again, and prehistory has been handed back to the excavators. Why have things should have fallen out in this way. Were solid gains in knowledge made during the period in which archaeoastronomy was fashionable? Or was it all just moonshine?

Author Biography

Ronald Hutton, University of Bristol

Professor of History Fellow of the British Academy Head of School of Humanities


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How to Cite

Hutton, R. (2014). The Strange History of British Archaeoastronomy. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 7(4), 376–396.