Astronomy in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland

Published by Yale University Press in 1999, this book is now out of print but copies may still be available from amazon or specialist bookshops.

Excerpts from reviews

Astronomy in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland is an excellent book, and likely to become a classic. … It should be acquired by every library and scholar interested in the handling of evidence from the past, in ways of linking archaeological theory to practice, in the intellectual achievements of pre-literate societies, and in the best ways to increase understanding of the role of astronomy in those societies.” (Patrick Ashmore, Archaeoastronomy)

“This is a pivotal contribution to the study of early astronomies... Astronomy in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland clearly supplants everything that has been written in this field; it is the essential source to which I will point my students planning research into the roles of astronomies in culture.” (Stephen C. McCluskey, Centaurus)

“… excellent book… Any student of the framework of meanings within which prehistoric people attempted to make sense of the world around them should read this book.” (Geoff Wainwright, Antiquaries Journal)

“Behind Clive Ruggles’s simple and geographically circumscribed title...lies an exceptionally important, wide-ranging, and critical contribution to the field that has come to be known as ‘archaeoastronomy’... A short review cannot do justice to the richness, depth, or scope of a book that looks like a landmark in the investigation of megalithic monuments. Whether skeptics or enthusiasts, all specialists with a stake in this project will need to come to terms with Ruggles” (Physics Today)

“This book is a landmark. It is a splendid pioneer in a subject tainted with prejudice and escapism. It will become a standard reference... Here is excellence. This is not an easy book but archaeology is not an easy discipline. Only prejudice is easy.” (Aubrey Burl, British Archaeology)

“Ruggles’s book is a comprehensive, critical and updated synthesis … compulsory reading for anyone seeking an objective understanding of prehistory in this part of Europe... (Ivan Šprajc, Arheološki Vestnik)

“This voluminous study...will undoubtedly be among the unfading academic treasures of the outgoing century ... A rich repository of factual information... A splendid treatise that is not destined to get dusty on bookshelves” (American Scientist)

“Clive Ruggles tackles this issue head-on in a very detailed and authoritative manner... This book will be top of the list as a source reference on prehistoric astronomy” (Archaeology Ireland)

“Clive Ruggles makes an excellent attempt to bridge the gulf between the two sides of the prehistoric astronomy debate. No-one with an interest in this field could afford to be without this book” (Astronomy Now)

“With Clive Ruggles’ fine new book, the study of prehistoric astronomy in Britain and Ireland has come of age... This book comes highly recommended” (Antiquity)

“A highly comprehensive review… A most welcome contribution to this difficult area of research.” (Derek McNally, The Observatory)

“This is an important and well produced book that will remain the standard work for many years to come.” (John C. Barrett, Albion)

“This book has been 20 years in the making, and is an epic read... If, like me, this subject intrigues you then Astronomy in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland holds lasting interest and provides a springboard to many fascinating areas of current research. Thoroughly recommended.” (Andy Burnham,

“The essential starting point for anyone with more than a passing interest in ancient astronomy in Britain.” (Mike Pitts, Hengeworld [Century, London, 2000], 370)


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