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Davidson DP, Davidson I, Davidson PB. Navigation in the Neolithic. 2010.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/7123
Navigation in the Neolithic
This brief note introduces and puts into context the online publication in a dedicate website (www.megalithicnavigation.co.uk) of a collection of papers by Peter Davidson (1974; 1986a; 1986b; 1986c; 1986d; 1986e; 1988) about megalithic stone arrangements in coastal areas of western Europe. It summarises why he researched and wrote the papers and how the work may present hypotheses suitable for further research about navigation in the Neolithic. Across the western seaboard of Europe there are many small groups of large stones, referred to as megaliths, of which those at Stonehenge are the best known (for example Chippindale, 2004). In general these seem to be arranged in circles, linear arrays, or some combination of these. Long tradition has encouraged investigation of what sorts of things they could have been marking, highlighted by the work of Alexander Thom (Thom, 1967; Thom, 1971; Thom and Thom, 1978; Ruggles, 1988). The apparent arrangement of the stones at Stonehenge in relation to the movements of the sun and the moon encouraged the belief that astronomical observation could be made using the alignments (Hawkins, 1965). What is more difficult is to show how astronomical observation could have been an important enough part of the lives of the stone-arrangers to justify the often very large investment.