By Dr. Colette M. Dowell
A ‘somewhat of a review' of Stonehenge Complete, authored by Christopher Chippendale
Stonehenge is very dear to me, as it is probably to any megalithic freak. I love its mystery and beautiful tales of the past. I even like that it has a function, a form of an observatory. I am an advocate of the wonders of Stonehenge and every time I go to England, I usually arrange private access, entering the stones inside the fence. I like to walk through the stones, I like to touch them.
Because of my strong faith in Stonehenge, I am probably pretty opinionated about what is published and said about it. I don't usually not like books; especially on topics relating to megalithic and sacred sites. I am writing an honest account of my observations of “Stonehenge Complete,” Christopher Chippindale, Thames and Hudson, 1994.
I was excited when I first entered the Metaphysical bookstore in Glastonbury, England and saw the book “Stonehenge Complete,” I eagerly purchased it in great anticipation of my reading enjoyment. When I finally sat down to check the book out I immediately began to feel a great air of disappointment hovering over and clouding my great expectations. This book was not right.
First of all, I couldn’t read the titles of the chapters. The title text is deep black and completely drowning in a background of gray text which repeats over and over, Stonehenge Complete, Stonehenge Complete.....You can't read the title of the chapter until you have read the background because the eyes can't seem to focus on little black letters while they are plowing through the subliminal programming of gray matter. It seemed like it was a form of brainwash. I felt like I was a live character in the movie, “THEY LIVE,” which is about aliens on Earth subliminally programming advertisement and creating secret agendas and propaganda, without the knowledge of Earthlings even knowing they were co-existing on Earth. Great flick. ‘Stonehenge Complete’ sounds like propaganda to me.
The tone of it is rude and very sarcastic. Chippindale consistently throughout the book tries to allure the reader in a form of dis-enchantment of Stonehenge’s history, yet does not replace the past with any original work or theories. He strips away all wonderment and mystery, trying to convert the reader into pro-archaeology, with no regards to the stars. Why?
Not only does Chippindale do a lot of intensely rooted Druid bashing, he chucks away all of the ancient romantic legends, myths and beliefs, imaging King Arthur and Merlin to look like supernatural beings created by a schizophrenic mind..................
He shows his ignorance of ley lines and insults the concept by commenting, “ ...Two of these lines were later adopted as leys, the ‘oldest crossroads’ on Salisbury Plain (whatever that means).....,” and discounts virtually all astronomical correlations and more recent modern astronomer’s theories e.g.; William Stukeley, John Wood, Alexander Thom, and notably, Professor Gerald S. Hawkins and Sir Fred Hoyle. “Over the last few years it has been the astronomical hypotheses of Stonehenge that have made the running, even though there is inadequate evidence for any astronomical alignments beyond the solar orientation of the axis.”
Chippindale does this in defense and support of archaeology, yet goes hypocritical on himself
and insults his fraternity.
“Although some astronomers tried to grasp the archaeology, and some archaeologist the astronomy, practically no one had or has sufficient grasp of both subjects fairly to explore them together. And the statistical issues, far beyond the mathematics of most archaeologist, taxed the methods of first rate statisticians.”……. “Stonehenge astronomy has a role in this, for it would demonstrate an out of the ordinary degree of accomplishment and knowledge quite at odds with the dismal vision of the archeological establishment.”
In John Michell’s book “A Little History of Astro-Archaeology,” Thames and Hudson, 1989, p. 7, there is a wonderful passage eloquently expressed, written by the author, discussing the difficulties of excepting new views, 'From Heretical to Orthodox.’ The first paragraph reads as follows;
“Theories of science and scholarship, no less than religious beliefs, are subject to constant change, the orthodoxy of one age becoming the heresy of another and visa versa. No creed, however firmly established, is proof against fluctuating mental patterns of succeeding generations; yet so precious to almost every individual is the world view or pattern of reality to which he has become accustomed that, in any department of knowledge, new ideas which challenge those currently received tend to be resisted with a degree of obstinacy incomprehensible to the outsider.”
That was nice John.
Schematic plan of Stonehenge Courtesy: Prof. Gerald S. Hawkins, Ph.D.
"Nature"1963, "Stonehenge Decoded" 1965
Chippindale dedicates almost an entire chapter trying to defame Prof. Gerald S. Hawkins' studies and findings on Stone-henge’s astronomical correlations published in his book, “Stonehenge Decoded,” Doubleday & Co., Inc. 1965. In “Stonehenge Complete,” chapter 14, ‘The Moon Behind the Megaliths,’ Chippindale begins: “Anyone bold enough to call his book Stonehenge Decoded deserves to cause a stir. That was the title chosen in 1965 by the American based astronomer Gerald Hawkins in making a claim that promoted a Stonehenge archaeo-astronomy from a total eclipse back into full light.” However Chippindale fails to report Hawkins is not alone in his findings and Chippindale is wrong when he says astronomers have not considered whether Stonehenge’s astronomical alignment could be chance. Hawkins, Hoyle and Douglas Heggie have all studied the calculations and concluded that the odds in favor of Stonehenge's astronomical significance are millions to one
I would like to quote John B. White’s statement in “Stonehenge Decoded,” concerning Hawkins’ computer findings. “The machine has established an extraordinary sun-moon correlation throughout the structure. Astronomy has done its best. It now rests with the prehistorians, the archaeologists, anthropologists, mythologists and other authorities to make use of these findings to advance our under-standing of the ‘gaunt ruin,’ which should no longer stand quite so lonely in history as it does on the great plain.”
I find it ironic that the author of a book entitled, “Stonehenge Complete,” bashes the author of “Stonehenge Decoded,” especially after having to revise the edition of “Stonehenge Complete,” in 1994, still claiming his title of being complete. Chippindale’s disclosure, “For this second edition of Stonehenge Complete, written ten years after the first, I have revised the text throughout. In the earlier chapters, alterations are minor. At the end, where recent events change much, they are large.” So was ‘Stonehenge Complete,’ complete in 1983, as first published?.......I don't think so. ........Stonehenge is not complete........
An excerpt from Hawkins’ book reads,
“There are doubtless many remarkable things yet to be discovered about Stonehenge and the other megalithic monuments. Any and all research into these mysteries is of course needed--If it is carried out with as much discipline as the builders of those monuments displayed.”
I think that is a very nice statement. It is positive.
Chippindale has taken Hawkins out of context and even borrowed his phrase Stonehenge Complete from Hawkins’ book, p. 60, for his title. Maybe all of Chippindale's bashing can be forgivable --but, I doubt it. I close with Chippindale's statement from his closing chapter, ‘In Conclusion.’ --“Even a book of this size has room for only a fraction of everything that exists to do with Stonehenge. But perhaps that is all well. Much of what has been written about Stonehenge is derivative, second rate or plain wrong. (I have read most of it, and do not recommend anyone else to.)..........”
I have read 'Stonehenge Complete,' “and do not recommend anyone else to.” CMD
Circular Times recommended reading for wonderful insight:
"Stonehenge Decoded" Gerald S. Hawkins,
Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1965.
Barnes and Noble, 1993
"Megalithomania" John Michell, Thames and Hudson, 1982.
"A Little History of Astro-Archaeology" John Michell,
Thames and Hudson, 1977, 1989.
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