Clive Ruggles


… is the study of beliefs and practices relating to the sky in the past, especially in prehistory, and the uses to which people's know- ledge of the skies was put.


Professional bodies

Free software tools

Basic declination calculator


by Andrew Smith

See the Tools page for more info


Springer Handbook (2014):


Ocarina Books publishes and distributes books relating to archaeo- and ethnoastronomy



This list of my books and selected papers and articles contains links and downloadable copies where available.

Stonehenge avenue and “Bluestonehenge”

Stonehenge avenue runs for almost 3km up to Stonehenge from West Amesbury henge, by the banks of the River Avon. Excavations in 2009 suggested that this location once held a circle of bluestones that were subsequently moved to Stonehenge, around the same time that the ditches of the avenue were dug.

The final stretch of the avenue leading up to Stonehenge is famously aligned upon winter solstice sunset and summer solstice sunrise, as is the axis of Stonehenge itself. An excavated section across the avenue in 2008 yielded a big surprise, however…

Between the avenue ditches were a number of deep natural fissures in the chalk running parallel to the avenue ditches, suggesting that the latter were simply an elaboration of the natural features and therefore (at first sight) that the solstitial orientation of the avenue is fortuitous. However, what is to us a coincidence of nature—the existence of natural ruts aligned upon winter solstice sunset—could actually have served to identify the top of those ruts as a place of huge sacred power and cosmic significance, and explain why it went on to become such an important focus for ritual activity, including the construction of Stonehenge itself. It is possible that this alignment was recognised long before the Neolithic.

The short (100m-long) avenue at Durrington Walls henge was also an elaboration of a natural feature—an accumulation of frost-shattered flint running along the bottom of a dry valley—and was also roughly solstitially oriented, in this case towards summer solstice sunset.

For more details see the full paper: Stonehenge's avenue and 'Bluestonehenge', by Michael J. Allen et al., published in Antiquity 90 (2016), 991–1008.

Go to the Antiquity website

Return to the research page

Return to the publications page

Return to the home page

Astronomical heritage

Portal to the Heritage of Astronomy

Read more on the UNESCO–IAU Portal to the Heritage of Astronomy and about astronomical heritage in general

Free downloads

ICOMOS–IAU Thematic Studies on Astronomical Heritage

No. 1 (2010): See here for more information or click here to download a copy directly (46 Mb)

No. 2 (2017): See here for more information or click here to download a copy (19 Mb)


Astronomical World Heritage


Download a copy of an article published in A&G (Aug 2019 issue)

Stonehenge and Ancient Astronomy


Download a copy of the Royal Astronomical Society’s factsheet

Alice Ruggles Trust

If you are looking for things related to Alice and/or information about stalking, please visit the Alice Ruggles Trust website