Reviews - What do customers think about Temples of Stone: Exploring the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland?
There's More to Ireland Than Newgrange... Jun 23, 2008
An excellent descriptive survey of megalithic monuments and neolithic tombs of Ireland. Whether amateur or professional, or you simply possess a curiosity regarding ancient Irish culture, this book will be highly informative and enjoyable. There is wonderful detail about ancient sites in all counties, as well as a handy "finders guide" included in the book to help locate tombs and sites that are off the beaten path. Though the neolithic 'celebrity' sites are included, the many details on the lesser-known passage graves and wedge tombs sets this book apart. Beautifully written, both professionals and everyday enthusiasts will gain much from it. Excellent photos, diagrams, and I appreciated that the author focused on the significance and role that the surrounding landscape may have played in how the sites for these monuments may have been chosen. If you have an interest in this time period and want to be inspired further, I highly recommend Temples of Stone. Now, If this site would just correct the typo in the subtitle...
Serious Archeology for the General Reader May 27, 2008
This lavishly-illustrated book details the history, distribution, form and content of Irish megalithic monuments, most of which contain some human remains, and are therefore classed as tombs. But as archeologist author Carleton Jones makes clear, these were much more than tombs. By studying them, we can learn a great deal about the people who built them: their social structure, worldview, and something of their beliefs and rituals as well. Don't expect gauzy twaddle about ancient goddesses and magic here. Jones is a serious archeologist; his work is theoretically informed by the processual and post-processual schools (groups of scholars who look at archeological remains for what they can tell us about the social origins of cultural change, and groups of scholars who use archeological data to hypothesize about ancient beliefs, rituals and human experiences). It is very clear when the author is laying out facts, and when he is hypothesizing or offering interpretations. What I liked is that he is also honest about what we DON'T know about the peoples who built these monuments. Still, it's fascinating to speculate about these ancient humans whose beliefs and practices were so different from our own -- and who, as humans, shared many of our own concerns and experiences, from creating and maintaining group identities to memorializing their dead. Gorgeous color photographs, black-and-white diagrams, tables and road maps enhance this book. The author provides detailed directions for locating each monument, including driving maps and indications of whether you will need Wellies (rubber boots) to visit the site. If you plan to travel to Ireland, photocopy the section in the back with the maps and locations of the monuments so you can make sure to visit some (the book itself is rather heavy and impractical to pack in luggage).