The mute, enigmatic stones in Wiltshire reveal as much about those who have tried to fathom their secrets as about those who constructed them. If we can now say with twentieth-century archaeological certainty that the first wooden phase of Stonehenge was begun by Neolithic settlers in 2800 B.C., we can also say that well into the eighteenth century, elixirs made of ground bits of Stonehenge were a popular folk medicine. If the seventeenth century saw the dawn of serious archaeology, it found Inigo Jones as certain that Stonehenge was Roman as was Dr Charleton that it was Danish, while Aubrey and Stukeley proferred a theory that caught on for two centuries (and still draws white-robed believers to the site at the midsummer solstice). For them Stonehenge was a Temple of the Druids. Stonehenge has long held sway over the archaeologist, the mystic, the astonomer and the poet, and a large part of its fascination for the individual observer is that it still evokes such a wide range of feeling and thought. In the photographs of Barry Brukoff and the words of John Fowles, Stonehenge is explored from every curious angle: the stone monument woven with light and sky lays down its challenge to our knowledge and to our imagination as it has to generations before us. There is the intellectual miracle that the builders may have detected the moon's long cycle 2000 years before the Greeks; the work miracle of transporting the huge stones; the mystery of why the architecture of Stonehenge is unique of its kind; and countless other puzzles. John Fowles holds that even if we may now scientifically dismiss Stukeley's blinding certainty that Stonehenge was built by the Druids who were the priests of one of the last tribes of Israel, his folly holds the key to all that has subsequently become of Stonehenge in the communal imagination: its symbolic appeal, its Britishness, its refusal to be buried in scientific certainty, its power to haunt us with its insoluble questions. Barry Brukoff's photographs capture this presence and poetry.
Used availability for John Fowles's The Enigma of Stonehenge
September 1980 : UK Hardback
November 1980 : USA Hardback
October 1980 : USA Hardback