Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published in association with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Vol 18 no 2 (Autumn/Winter 2014 will be published in July/August 2016. Vol. 19 (2015) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2013 Sophia Centre conference on Celestial Magic and is scheduled for publication in September/October 2016. Vol. 20 (2016) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2014 Sophia Centre conference on the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.


Volume 1, No. 2

Review: Riddles in Stone: Myths, Archaeology and the Ancient Britons, Richard Hayman, The Hambledon Press, London, 1997, pp. 332

Nick Campion

The literature on megalithic culture continues to grow, but many texts suffer from either an excess of technical complexity, archaeological dullness or new age enthusiasm. This excellent and highly readable volume is an antidote to all three failings. It sets out to provide not so much an account of megalithic culture and astronomy in Britain, as a history of the research and theories concerning that culture from medieval literature through John Aubrey and William Stukeley to Norman Lockyer, R.J.C. Atkinson, Alexander Thom, Alfred Watkins and John Michel. Hayman’s account is inclusive, encompassing both contemporary astronomical solutions to the megaliths’ purpose and modern mysticism and neo-paganism. By telling this history he covers not only the evidence for and against competing theories, but also the arguments between their protagonists, particularly the grudging acceptance of orthodox archaeologists that stone age people may have had a fairly sophisticated ability to measure the heavens. Quoting the conventional early-mid twentieth century view he writes that ‘Orientation to events in the solar year seemed reasonable on religious or ceremonial grounds, but no archaeologist was going to flatter Neolithic and Bronze Age barbarians by calling them “astronomers”’. That, of course, is precisely what has happened, and Hayman’s timely book documents the fact that our understanding of Neolithic culture has been revolutionised by astronomers and engineers (Thom) in the face of opposition from many  archaeologists

Contact Us

Dr. Nick Campion, n.campion@uwtsd.ac.uk, (University of Wales Trinity Saint David) Chair

For queries about technical issues or the website:
Dr. Frances Clynes, frances.clynes@sophia-project.net (University of Wales Trinity Saint David)



Join our Facebook Community