In November 1997 English Heritage announced the discovery of a vast prehistoric temple in Somerset. The extraordinary wooden rings at Stanton Drew are the most recent and biggest of a series of remarkable discoveries that have transformed the way archaeologists think of the great monuments in the region including Stonehenge and Avebury. The results of these discoveries have not been published outside academic journals and no one has considered the wider implications of these finds. Here Mike Pitts who has worked as an archaeologist at Avebury, and has access to the unpublished English Heritage files, asks what sort of people designed and built these extraordinary structures - the biggest in Britain until the arrival of medieval cathedrals. Using computer reconstructions he shows what they looked like - and asks what they are for. This is the story of the discovery of a lost civilisation that spanned five centuries, a civilisation that now lies mostly beneath the fields of Southern England.
Mike Pitts, the only living archaeologist to have directed excavations at both Stonehenge and Avebury, studied at the Institue of Archaeology (University College London) before moving to Wiltshire for a stint as Curator of the Alexander Keiller Museum. He has written extensively for academic journals, as well as for radio, newspapers and popular magazines and his first book Fairweather Eden was published in 1997 to critical acclaim.