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Comment: Condition: Very good condition, slightly spine creased., Slightly yellowing pages. / Binding: Paperback / Publisher: Random House UK / Pub. Date: 2001-08-01 Attributes: Book, 368 pp / Stock#: 2008131 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Hengeworld: Life in Britain 2000 BC as Revealed by the Latest Discoveries at Stonehenge, Avebury and Stanton Drew Paperback – October 23, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Random House UK; Revised edition (October 23, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099278758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099278757
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,035,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Reads like a…whodunit.” – Manchester Evening News

“Mike Pitts is that rare thing, an archaeologist who not only makes the news…but who can also write it. This book is a gem — witty, charming, urbane, informative.” – Simon Denison, British Archaeology

From the Publisher

The ancient sites at Stonehenge and Avebury lie at the heart of Britain’s imagined past, as fabled as they are mysterious. In Hengeworld, archaeologist Mike Pitts, who has led excavations at both sites, looks at the people who designed and built these structures—and why. Starting with the excavation that followed the collapse of a Stonehenge megalith on the last night of the 19th century, and ending with a dramatic discovery in Avebury at the close of the 20th, Hengeworld tells the story of a lost civilization that spanned five centuries, a civilization that now largely lies beneath the fields of southern England. A major, authoritative reappraisal of these great prehistoric sites and of their bygone civilizations.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book claims to be the only up-to-date account of "henges", the enigmatic circular monuments that sprang up across Britain around 5000 years ago. Actually there is serious competition from the works of Aubery Burl, but if you like your archaeology journalistic and gossipy rather than authoritative and erudite, Mike Pitts is the man for you. If you are already a fan of British archaeology, don't expect too much from the "new discoveries" hype; most has been known for a decade or more (but new dates for Stonehenge change the picture a bit).
Among the many stories in this book is the poignant tale of the man responsible for by far the largest dig at Stonehenge. "At Hawley's annual lectures... speakers from the floor at first politely praised him for his determination to stick to the facts. Before long, however, he was being harangued for doing just that... bored with descriptions of holes in the ground, [they] wanted answers to the big questions. Who built Stonehenge, and why?". Gradually Hawley's funds dried up, he became dispirited, the dig petered out and (to the fury of later archaeologists) he never published a final report.
The time of the henges is the time that the (lost) history of Britain starts rolling. Their appearance implies a new cultural element (religion?) shared across the island. At first they are small and seem to serve village-sized communities, but a few centuries later enormous "super-henges" like Avebury are built, implying much larger political units on the scale of Celtic tribes. Also around this time the warrior Beaker culture spreads to Britain and Ireland, bringing a clearly hierarchical social structure.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on March 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
You're the honoured guest at Mike Pitts' party. He's set up a receiving line. You meet a guest, are given some personal background, there's a bit of chat, perhaps a short show and tell, then on to the next. They're a varied lot - an RAF veteran, a testy lady, students of all kinds, scholars and civil servants. Off to one side huddle a scruffy group of fishermen. They seem unimportant, but they're vital to this book. Everyone here, including you, Pitts hopes, has a common interest - the henges of Britain. Each of them has contributed something to a better understanding of the ditch circles, posthole remnants, standing and fallen stones, and corpses that make up the hengeworld. They all want to know how the henges were built and by what sort of people. Mostly, they want to know why these monuments came to be. Perhaps you can help answer the questions.
Originally subtitled "Why Was Stonehenge Built?", this question remains glaringly unanswered by this book. Yet in pursuing the inquiry, Pitts has provided more information about the sites, their construction and environment than any other single source. Pitts' title reflects his attempt, largely successful, to bring to life the circumstances and people involved in the multiple constructions scattered about the British landscape. He stresses that all the henges underwent successive building or remodeling over the centuries. Ditches and banks established an enclosure, later modified by circles of posts. Sometimes, as at Stonehenge, dedicated residents finished the project with stone monuments. Over the centuries, those people died, or were killed, their bodies interred within the enclosures or nearby.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lynne Kelly on November 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was with a sudden passion for Stonehenge that I came across Hengeworld. I have read a great deal about henges in general, and Stonehenge in particular, over the last six months of obsession with the topic. This book stands out for a number of reasons.
1. It is very informative, and gave me a clear picture of what Pitts was talking about. I could physically visualize the places and various monument in location, without having to go and hunt for sizes, dates and scale, as I had to with so many other books and articles. Many other archaeologists leave out critical details because they are so familiar with the jargon, they forget that readers may not be.
2. Pitts put Stonehenge into context, giving a much broader picture than just the massive sarsens and their companion bluestones. It is so much more than that.
3. I got a really clear idea of exactly how archaeologists work. This is critical in assessing just how much of what is 'known' is really known for sure, and how much is subject to later variation.
4. There were some great anecdotes. They weren't just a good read but added to the big picture.
5. The book gave a really good image of life at the time and the changes which were taking place over the lifespan of the henges.
6. By including Stonehenge in an overview of henge monuments, Pitts made it clear that any explanation of Stonehenge must fit a broader pattern.
7. And it was a great read because it is just so well written. I would have enjoyed it for the writing alone.

Having read a great deal since I first read Hengeworld and gained a lot more expertise in the field, I have returned to Hengeworld and am finding that a second reading enables me to really absorb the finer details. It's a rare book which can be read - and thoroughly enjoyed - for general interest and also for really detailed data. Pitts achieves this.
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