‘This book is subtitled, ‘Understanding the Astronomical Meanings of Ancient Sites’, and that is exactly what it does. There have been many attempts to rationalise and find a reason for the truly remarkable structures worldwide made by our forefathers. The author uses the comparatively recent science of ‘archaeoastronomy’ and sticks to what we know and can prove concerning such iconic sites as Stonehenge and Avebury in England, Chichen Itza in Mexico, Carnac in France, The Pyramids in Egypt, Hovenweep in the USA and the truly astonishing array of ancient standing stones predating the Pyramids at Callanish on the Western Isles of Scotland. Many of the other sites (and there are many) will be unknown to the reader, yet they are there and they fulfil exactly the same function. Our ancestors attempted to recreate heaven here on earth (as above so below) and show just how powerful the appeal of the heavens was. This is irrespective of whether it is the sun, the moon or indeed the stars and how many of the structures follow, track and frequently predict the way in which these celestial bodies move through the sky. This is a beautifully presented book with full colour plates and printed on high quality glossy paper that deals with a remarkable era in human development. It sets out its message in a readily accessible form and is well worth the purchase price’
- Phenomena Magazine
Whether digging down or dipping in, this stunningly illustrated book offers an unprejudiced, congenial and revelatory journey into the realms of archaeological astronomy. Chariots of the Gods this is not, so don’t be put off by the title.
The informed and lucid narrative, suiting both young and old, casual and academic, eases you through the required principles of astronomy – the solstices and equinoxes, ‘lunar standstills’, the rising and setting stars. Then, suitable armed, you get to explore over 50 archaeological sites through spectacular photographs, floor plans and diagrams. It’s a fascinating collection that invites you to ponder the curiosity and creativity behind the structures that are seemingly aligned with the movements of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars.
This isn’t however your usual celestial geometry fare. Yes, we have Stonehenge’s Darren stones, as well as the pyramids of Egypt, Machu Picchu’s temples, Easter Island and Chichen Itza’s nine-tiered Kukulcan marvel. But this book delves deeper. This lesser-known ancient, even prehistoric, megalithic structures, sacred sites and artefacts are also subject to Ken Taylor’s scrutiny. Spanning Europe, North and Central American, India, Australia, Indonesia and China, Taylor’s research unearths an amalgam of art, history, astronomy and mythology from star charts and tomb paintings. All reveal humankind’s fascination with the heavens, whether past, present or future. Is there a connection? That’s for you to decide. One thing’s for sure, I want to connect with my credit card and get visiting.
-BBC Sky at Night