Stonehenge and Avebury Guides

Stonehenge and Avebury
Stonehenge and Avebury

I have a small selection of guides to Stonehenge and Avebury in my study. My favourite is the HMSO illustrated guide Stonehenge and Avebury and Neighbouring Monuments (1959). The cover is by Alan Sorrell and the text by Professor R.J.C. Atkinson. My copy is a 7th impression with amendments dating to 1970 (cost, 3s 6d [17.5p]). The book was prepared by the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works and the Central Office of Information. (Are there other examples of collaboration?) The main sections are:

  • The People and the Monuments
  • Stonehenge
  • The history of Stonehenge
  • The Avenue
  • The Barrows
  • Avebury
  • West Kennet Long Barrow
  • The Sanctuary
  • Silbury Hill
  • Windmill Hill
  • How were the monuments built?

There are several Alan Sorrell reconstructions including the building of Silbury Hill and moving the bluestones by raft.


The Department of Environment issued a ‘blue’ guide to Stonehenge. Mine is the 9th impression (1975) of the 3rd edition (1959); the 1st edition was 1959. The text is by R.S. Newall. Cost: 15p.

There is a description of Stonehenge including the Avenue, and further sections:

  • Purpose and periods of Stonehenge
  • Geology of the Bluestones
  • Transport of the Bluestones
  • Preparation, trasnport and erection of the sarsens
  • Incised representation of Bronze Age blades
  • The Druids and the date
  • Area round Stonehenge
  • The Cursus

There is also a fold-put map at the back.


Avebury had a similar volume by Faith de M. Vatcher and Lance Vatcher. My copy is the 2nd impression (1980) of the 1st edition (1976). Cost £1.

The main sections are:

  • Excavation of monuments
  • Prehistoric background
  • The Avebury region
  • Windmill Hill
  • West Kennet Long Barrow
  • Silbury
  • Avebury, AD
  • The Roman road

There are also three appendices

  • Radiocarbon dating
  • The Sarsens
  • The Museum

Again there is a fold-out map at the back.


The latest Stonehenge guide is published by English Heritage and is written by Julian Richards (2013). Cost £4.99.

This has three main sections:

  • Tour of Stonehenge
  • Tour of the Stonehenge landscape
  • History of Stonehenge

There are also ‘Special features’ including ‘The Druids’ and ‘Stonehenge and the military’.

The plan folds out from the card cover at the back.


The Avebury ‘souvenir guide’ is published by the National Trust with text by Ros Cleal. This is the 2013 reprint of the 2008 edition. Cost: £4.

The main sections are:

  • Windmill Hill and earlier Neolithic Avebury
  • West Kennet long barrow
  • The Henge
  • Stones
  • Circles within circles
  • Avenues
  • The Cove
  • Silbury Hill
  • The Sanctuary
  • Death and burial in the Bronze Age
  • Burying stones
  • Destruction
  • Avebury people
  • Avebury church and village
  • Avebury Manor
  • Wild Avebury

Author: David Gill

David Gill is Honorary Professor in the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent, and an Academic Associate in SISJAC at UEA; Professor of Archaeological Heritage.

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