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The ‘Solarization’ of the Moon: Manipulated Knowledge at Stonehenge

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 June 2006

Lionel Sims
School of Social Sciences, Media & Cultural Studies, Docklands Campus, University of East London, 4–6, University Way, London, E16 2RD, UK;


Recent archaeological research now views the northwest European Neolithic and Early Bronze Age as a period of separation from a resilient complex of traditions of Mesolithic and even Palaeolithic origin. Extending this insight to recent findings in archaeoastronomy, this article treats the sarsen monument at Stonehenge as one among a number of monuments with lunar–solar alignments which privileged night over day, winter over summer, dark moon over full. The aim of the monument builders was to juxtapose, replicate and reverse certain key horizon properties of the sun and the moon, apparently with the intention of investing the sun with the moon's former religious significance. This model is consistent with both current archaeological interpretations of burial practices associated with the monument, and with recent anthropological modelling of hunter-gatherer cultural origins.

Research Article
2006 The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

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