An exploration of the visible clues to our mysterious past from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages as represented by the many enduring stone circles. Cumbria boasts more of these monuments than any other English county. Here, our tallest mountains are ringed by about 50 circles and henges, most of them sited in the foothills or on outlying plateaux.
Were these the earliest such monuments in Britain, placing Cumbria at the heart of Neolithic society? And what traces of that society remain today in the roads we travel, the food we eat, the words we speak, or in our work and play? By observing and comparing many sites in Cumbria and beyond, and researching many sources, a greater understanding emerges.
Some circles may have been built for ritualistic purposes, or perhaps as astronomical calendars to aid early farming. Some were burial sites, but many were perhaps just places for people to meet and exchange goods and stories.
Illustrated with beautifully crafted linocuts by Denise Burden, Ring of Stone Circles describes the search for the hidden stories these monuments guard and may yet reveal if we only get to know them. (Published April 2022)
“An intriguing and often amusing journey through what little we know – and the great deal that we don’t – about our Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestry.” Steve Anglesey, Editor, The New European