This article is missing information about the reception and impact of Burl's work, and specifically does not state what any of the multiple reviews cited say about the books. Please expand the article to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page.(February 2009)
Harry Aubrey Woodruff Burl MA, DLitt, PhD, FSA, HonFSA Scot (born September 24, 1926) is a British archaeologist most well known for his studies into megalithic monuments and the nature of prehistoric rituals associated with them. Before retirement he was Principal Lecturer in Archaeology, Hull College, East Riding of Yorkshire.
Burl has received a volume edited in his honour. He has been called by The New York Times, "the leading authority on British stone circles".
Burl's work, while considering the astronomical roles of many megalithic monuments, is cautious of embracing the more tenuous claims of archaeoastronomy. In 'Prehistoric Avebury' Burl proposes that Circles and Henge monuments, far from being astronomical observatories for a class of 'astronomer priests' were more likely used for ritualistic practices, connected with death and fertility rites, and ancestor worship, similar to practices observed in other agricultural cultures (in particular the rituals of Native North American Tribes such as the Algonquin and the Pawnee). Rituals would have been performed at key times of the year, such as the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice, to ensure a successful harvest from the land.[page needed]
His approach led him to question what he sees as the over-romanticised view that Stonehenge was built from bluestones hauled by hand from the Preseli Hills in south west Wales to Salisbury Plain. Rather, the stones were left close to the site by earlier glaciers and then exploited by the monument's builders [improper synthesis?] Others have argued that the bluestones have been traced to only the Preselli Hills through their chemical signature and that they could not have come from elsewhere. Additionally, it was claimed that there was no known glacier with a course linking the hills with Salisbury Plain or a glacier from anywhere that reached far enough south. On the other hand, recent research by earth scientists shows that glacier ice reached the Scilly Isles on at least one occasion and that ice which crossed Pembrokeshire did cross the coasts of Somerset and Devon.
^"(Harry) Aubrey (Woodruff) Burl". Contemporary Authors Online. Gale, 2005. Retrieved on November 25, 2009.
^Alex M. Gibson, and D. D. A. Simpson. Prehistoric Ritual and Religion: Essays in Honour of Aubrey Burl. Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton, 1998. ISBN 978-0-7509-1598-4
^"MagicStones: Prehistoric Avebury" by Paul Johnspon The New York Times Book Review, Page BR3, October 21, 1979 link
^Burl, Aubrey. Great Stone Circles: Fables, Fictions, Facts[page needed]
^Burl, Aubrey. The Stone Circles of the British Isles.
^Burl, Aubrey. 2001. "Stonehenge: how did the stones get there? - Aubrey Burl Explains How the Myth of the Stones Transported from South Wales to Salisbury Plain Arose, and Why It Is Wrong". History Today. 51: 19.