by Gerald Hawkins, Dorset: New York, 1965

Hawkins SDThis book was the first to capture the public imagination with its claims that the Aubrey and Sarsen Circle had been built to exploit the numerical recurrence of the lunar nodal cycle (18.6 years) x 3 = three in 56 years) and the Saros period (19 years minus 12 lunar months) and hence to predict eclipses. Glyn Daniel, editor of Antiquity, asked two leading scientists,Archaeologist Richard Atkinson and Astronomer Fred Hoyle, to review the book. Atkinson published a "swingeing" critique of Hawkins' proposals whilst Hoyle extended Hawkins' ideas into a full mathematical treatment, which included the possibility of the Aubrey hole circle being used as a real time simulator of the sun, the moon and the nodes, all around a circle that is then the ecliptic and within which simple rules could indeed predict eclipses, eventually published (for the public) in Hoyle's On Stonehenge. This has caused Clive Ruggles to recognise, in retrospect, the divide between two cultures within the scientific community, between archaeologists and astronomers.