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Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany

The stone age began in Britain around 5000 BC, but the great stone circles, including Stone Henge, weren't built until the bronze age, beginning around 2500 BC.

What is a henge? Henges include the stone circles, but are surrounded by a ditch, with the earth dug up and piled around the outer perimeter, encircling and protecting the stone and timber arrangements inside.

There is a great deal of speculation about the uses of the stone circles. Many included altars and burials. Some seem oriented toward the sun and some toward the moon. It would seem they may have been used for a variety of purposes depending on the time, place and current culture. Popular imagination peoples the henges with druids, but the stone circles predate the druids by many, many centuries.

The books on this page include both archeology of prehistoric Celtic lands and books specifically about the stone circles and standing stones. Books covering all Celtic countries are followed by regional choices - England, Scotland, Brittany and Ireland.

Buy Books about Stone Circles in Britain, Ireland and Brittany
The Modern Antiquarian
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The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-Millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain
by Julian Cope

With enthusiasm and wonder, Cope has created a fascinating "gazetteer" of over 300 British prehistoric sites, color-coded by region. While not overly strong on scholarship, the book makes up for that with breadth of vision and respect for the subject.
The Great Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany
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The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany
by Aubrey Burl

A complete, detailed and scholarly work on the stone circles of the Celtic countries. This is not light reading, but solid archeology and history for those with a real interest in the subject. An outstanding resource.
The Prehistoric Stone Rows and Avenues of Britain, Ireland and Brittany
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From Carnac to Callanish: The Prehistoric Stone Rows and Avenues of Britain, Ireland and Brittany
by Aubrey Burl

As a companion volume to his book on stone circles, Burl here focuses on the incredible rows of standing stones, most often associated with Brittany, yet extending north to the Hebrides. Extremely detailed and factual, yet accessible and entertaining to the lay reader. Well illustrated.
Stonehenge : A New Interpretation
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Stonehenge: A New Interpretation of Prehistoric Man and the Cosmos
by John David North

The author is an historian of science, and this book seeks to demonstrate the highly advanced astronomy of the megalithic builders, and from that extrapolate their ancient beliefs. Very detailed and scholarly, with many diagrams. Assumes some prior knowledge.
Secrets of the Avebury Stones
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The Secrets of the Avebury Stones: Britain's Greatest Megalithic Temple
by Terence Meaden

Only 20 miles from Stonehenge, Avebury is England's largest and most complex prehistoric monument. In this book, the author attempts to analyze the site in terms of its ancient function as a temple for earth goddess worship.
Tomb of the Eagles
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Tomb of the Eagles: Death and Life in a Stone Age Tribe
by John W. Hedges

While Skara Brae is the most famous of the stone age archeological sites in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, the excavations at Ibister make for fascinating reading in this book. In a world where all was made of stone, the prehistoric tribes took animals as their totems - in this case the eagle. Told with flair, this is a wonderful portrait of life in stone age Scotland.
Neolithic and Bronze Age Scotland
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Neolithic and Bronze Age Scotland
by P. J. Ashmore

Popular history book about Scotland from the early farmers through the beginnings of the Iron Age, with a strong focus on the mysteries of the stone circles. The book is short, especially considering the number of pictures. Still, a readable introduction to ancient Scottish archeology.
Newgrange : Archeology, Art and Legend
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Newgrange: Archaeology, Art and Legend
by Michael J. O'Kelly

O'Kelly and his team of archeologists excavated and restored Ireland's most famous stone monument. Newgrange is a massive, very ancient, stone tomb, designed with a special aperture in the roof which, at the winter solstice, lets in light in such a way as to provide an incredibly moving spiritual experience. Many other treasures were discovered as well. A great book on what the megalithic builders accomplished in Ireland.
Early Ireland
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Early Ireland: An Introduction to Irish Prehistory
by Michael J. and Claire O'Kelly

The authors trace Ireland's history from the earliest hunters and gatherers through the change from BC to AD. A wonderfully readable history of ancient Ireland with scads of terrific photographs and maps.
Stone Age Soundtracks
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Stone Age Soundtracks: The Acoustic Archaeology of Ancient Sites
by Paul Devereux

When we walk through ancient monuments, the silence strikes us: we simply cannot imagine what those who lived millennia before would have heard. But, to our Stone Age ancestors, dwelling in a quieter time, sound mattered much more than it does today. They had an acute awareness of rhythm and resonance, sang and played musical instruments, and ascribed magical qualities to many sounds. Exciting research--known as acoustic archaeology--has reconstructed this vanished aspect of long ago, allowing us to "hear" it again.
Stone Circles : A Modern Builder's Guide
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Stone Circles: A Modern Builders Guide to the Megalithic Revival
by Robert L. Roy

Build your own stone henge! Rob Roy has a passion for stone circles. In this fabulous book, he takes you on a photographic tour of dozens of circles, sharing history and lore, and then teaches you to build your own. The living, spiritual art of stone circles can be yours in the present day. Very highly recommended.