Recommended Reading

I’ve sectioned this into categories of ‘types of sites’ (e.g., stone circles, holy wells, cursuses, etc), folklore, regional guides, and whatever else I think of which helps any newcomers look at decent material in the respective fields.  Those titles marked with an asterisk * are vital reading for students.

Cairns & Tombs

*Ashbee, Paul, The Bronze Age Round Barrow in Britain, Phoenix House: London 1960.
*Ashbee, Paul, The Earthen Long Barrow in Britain, Geo: Norwich 1984.
Barnatt, John & Collis, John, Barrows in the Peak District, J.R. Collis: Sheffield 1996.
Bateman, Thomas, Ten Years’ Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave Hills, in the Counties of Derby, Stafford and York, Moorland Publishing: Buxton 1978.
*Davidson, J.L. & Henshall, A.S., The Chambered Cairns of Caithness, Edinburgh University Press 1991.
*Greenwell, William & Rolleston, George, British Barrows, Clarendon Press: Oxford 1877.
Grinsell, Leslie V., The Ancient Burial Mounds of England, Methuen: London 1936.
*Henshall, Audrey S., The Chambered Tombs of Scotland – 2 volumes, Edinburgh University Press 1963 & 1972.
*Henshall, A.S. & Ritchie, J.N.G., The Chambered Cairns of the Central Highlands, Edinburgh University Press 2001.
Joussaume, Roger, Dolmens for the Dead, Guild: London 1988.
Kinnes, Ian, Round Barrows and Ring Ditches in the British Neolithic, British Museum: London 1979.
Marsden, Barry H., The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire, privately printed: Bingley 1977.
Marsden, Barry H., The Early Barrow Diggers, Tempus: Stroud 1999.
*Mortimer, J.R., Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, A. Brown: London n.d. (1905)


*Collingwood, W.G., Northumbrian Crosses of the Pre-Norman Age, Faber & Gwyer: London 1927.
Rimmer, Alfred, Ancient Stone Crosses of England, Virtue: London 1875.
*Sharpe, Neville T., Crosses of the Peak District, Landmark: Ashbourne 2002.
*Tyack, George S., The Cross in Ritual, Architecture and Art, William Andrews: London 1900.
Vallance, Aymer, Old Crosses and Lychgates, Batsford: London 1920.

Cup & Ring Stones (prehistoric rock art)

Beckensall, Stan, Northumberland’s Prehistoric Rock Carvings – A Mystery Explained, Pendulum: Rothbury 1983.
Beckensall, Stan, Prehistoric Rock Motifs of Northumberland – 2 volumes, Abbey Press: Hexham 1991-92.
Beckensall, Stan, Cumbrian Prehistoric Rock Art, Abbey Press: Hexham 1992.
*Beckensall, Stan, British Prehistoric Rock Art, Tempus: Stroud 1999.
Beckensall, Stan & Laurie, Tim, Prehistoric Rock Art of County Durham, Swaledale and Wensleydale, County Durham Books 1998.
Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
*Bradley, Richard, Rock Art and the Prehistory of Atlantic Europe, Routledge: London 1997.
*Brennan, Martin, The Stars and the Stones: Ancient Art and Astronomy in Ireland, Thames & Hudson: London 1983.
*Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
*Brown, Paul & Barbara, Prehistoric Rock Art in the Northern Dales, Tempus: Stroud 2008.
Hadingham Evan, Ancient Carvings in Britain: A Mystery, Garnstone: London 1974.
Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Argyll, Dolphin Press: Poole 1977.
Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Galloway and the Isle of Man, Blandford: Poole 1979.
Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland, BAR: Oxford 1981.
Sharkey, John, The Meeting of the Tracks: Rock Art in Ancient Wales, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch: Llanrwst 2004.
*Simpson, James, Archaic Sculpturings of Cups, Circles, etc., Upon Stones and Rocks in Scotland, England and other Countries, Edmonston & Douglas: Edinburgh 1867.
*Twohig, Elizabeth Shee, The Megalithic Art of Western Europe, Clarendon: Oxford 1981.


Anati, Emmanuel, Camonica Valley, Alfred Knopf: New York 1961.
Cunkle, James R. & Jacquemain, M.A., Stone Magic of the Ancients, Golden West: Phoenix 1996.
David, Bruno, Landscapes, Rock Art and the Dreaming, Leicester University Press: London 2002
Flood, Josephine, Rock Art of the Dreamtime, Angus & Robertson: Sydney 1997.
Garlake, Peter, The Hunter’s Vision: The Prehistoric Art of Zimbabwe, British Museum: London 1995.
Ginner, P., Fosbrook, H.A. & Leakey, L.S.B., Tanganyika Rock Paintings, TTC: Dar-es-Salaam 1951.
Kelen, Leslie & Sucec, David, Sacred Images: A Vision of Native American Rock Art, Gibbs Smith: Salt Lake City 1996.
Kuhn, Herbert, Rock Pictures of Europe, Sidgwick & Jackson: London 1956.
*Layton, Robert, Australian Rock Art: A New Synthesis, Cambridge University Press 1992.*
Marshack, Alexander, The Roots of Civilization: The Cognitive Beginnings of Man’s First Art, Symbol and Notation, Weidenfeld & Nicolson: London 1972.
Ridley, Michael, The Megalithic Art of the Maltese Islands, Dolphin Press: Poole 1976.
*Slifer, Dennis, Signs of Life: Rock Art of the Upper Rio Grande, Ancient City Press: Sante Fe 1997.
*Slifer, Dennis, The Serpent and the Sacred Fire: Fertility Images in Southwest Rock Art, Museum of New Mexico 2000.
*Vastokas, J.M. & R.K., Sacred Art of the Algonkians: A Study of the Peterborough Petroglyphs, Mansard: Peterborough 1973.  

Cursus Monuments

Barclay, Alistair & Harding, Jan (eds.), Pathways and Ceremonies: The Cursus Monuments of Britain and Ireland, Oxbow: Oxford 1999.
Barclay, A., Lambrick, G., Moore, J. & Robinson, M., Lines in the Landscape, Oxford Archaeology 2003.
*Bradley, Richard, Altering the Earth, Society Antiquaries Scotland: Edinburgh 1993.
Dymond, D.P., ‘Ritual Monuments at Rudston,’ in Proc.Prehistoric Soc., 32, 1966.
Hedges, John D. & Buckley, D.G., The Springfield Cursus and the Cursus Problem, Essex County Council 1981.
*Loveday, Roy, Inscribed Across the Landscape: The Cursus Enigma, Tempus: Stroud 2006.
Milstead, I., The Rudston Terminus problem: integrated non-intrusive exploration of Cursus Monuments, York 2003.
*Pennick, N. & Devereux, Paul, Lines on the Landscape: Leys and other Linear Engimas, Hale: London 1989.
Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Neolithic Cursus Monuments of Scotland, RCAHMS 2009.


Bord, Janet & Colin, Earth Rites, Granada: London 1982.
*Briggs, Katherine M., Pale Hecate’s Team, RKP: London 1962.
Briggs, Katherine M., Fairies in Tradition and Literature, RKP: London 1967.
Briggs, Katherine M., A Dictionary of Fairies, Penguin: Harmondsworth 1979.
*Briggs, Katherine M., The Vanishing People, Batsford: London 1978.
*Evans-Wentz, Walter Yeeling, The Fairy Tradition in Celtic Countries, Oxford University Press 1911.
Hartland, E.S., The Science of Fairy Tales, Methuen: London 1925.
Hole, Christina, British Folk Customs, Hutchinson: London 1976.
Spence, Lewis, British Fairy Origins, Watts: London 1946.
Spence, Lewis, The Fairy Traditions in Britain, Rider: London 1948.


Burl, Aubrey, Prehistoric Henges, Shire: Princes Risborough 1997.
Harding, A.F., Henge Monuments and Related Sites of Great Britain, BAR 175: Oxford 1987.

Harding, Jan, The Henge Monuments of the British Isles, Tempus: Stroud 2003.
Wainwright, Geoffrey, The Henge Monuments, Thames & Hudson: London 1989.


Cunliffe, Barry, Iron Age Communities in Britain, BCA: London 1975.
Dyer, James, Hillforts of England and Wales, Shire: Princes Risborough 1992.
Hill, David & Jesson, Margaret (Eds.), The Iron Age and its Hillforts, Southampton University Archaeology Society 1971.
Hogg, A.H.A., Hill-Forts of Britain, Hart-Davis: London 1975.

Holy Wells & Healing Springs

*Bord, Janet & Colin, Sacred Waters: Holy Wells and Water Lore in Britain and Ireland, Granada: London 1985.
*Hole, Christina, English Shrines and Sanctuaries, Batsford: London 1954.
Hope, Robert Charles, Legendary Lore of the Holy Wells of England, Elliott Stock: London 1893.
*MacKinlay, James M., Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs, William Hodge: Glasgow 1893.
Morris, Ruth & Frank, Scottish Healing Wells, Alethea: Sandy 1982.
Naylor, Peter J., Ancient Springs and Wells of Derbyshire, Scarthin: Cromford 1983.
Porteous, Crichton, The Beauty and Mystery of Well Dressing, Pilgrim Press: Derby 1949.
Rattue, James, The Living Stream: Holy Wells in Historical Context, Boydell: Woodbridge 1995.
Ross, Anne, Pagan Celtic Britain: Studies in Iconography and Tradition, RKP: London 1967.
Whelan, Edna, The Magic and Mystery of Holy Wells, Capall Bann: Chieveley 2001.
Whelan, Edna & Taylor, Ian, Yorkshire Holy Wells and Sacred Springs, Northern Lights: Dunnington 1989.
Wilson, Rob, Holy Wells and Spas of South Yorkshire, Northern Arts: Sheffield 1991.

Sacred Rocks & Hills

*Bernbaum, Edwin, Sacred Mountains of the World, Sierra Club: San Francisco 1990.
Devereux, Paul, Symbolic Landscapes, Gothic Image: Glastonbury 1992.
*Devereux, P., Steele, J. & Kubrin, D., Earthmind, Harper & Row: New Yorks 1989.
*Eliade, Mircea, Patterns in Comparative Religion, Sheed & Ward: London 1958.
*Evans-Wentz, W.Y., Cuchuma and Sacred Mountains, Ohio University Press 1980.
McLuhan, T.C., Touch the Earth, Abacus: London 1996.
–  The Way of the Earth, Simon & Schuster: New York 1994.
*Michell, John, The Earth Spirit: Its Ways, Shrines and Mysteries, Thames & Hudson: London 1975.
McOwan, Rennie, Magic Mountains, Mainstream: Edinburgh 1996.
Molyneaux, Brian Leigh, The Sacred Earth, MacMillan: London 1995.


Bradley, Richard, The Prehistoric Settlement of Britain, BCA: London 1978.
Bradley, Richard, The Social Foundations of Prehistoric Britain, Longman: London 1984.
Cunliffe, Barry, Iron Age Communities in Britain, BCA: London 1975.
Oswald, Alastair, Dyer, Carolyn & Barber, Martin, The Creation of Monuments, EH: Swindon 2001.

Standing Stones

*Burl, Aubrey, From Carnac to Callanish, Yale University Press: New Haven & London 1993.
Michell, John, The Old Stones of Land’s End, Garnstone: London 1974.
*Thom, A., Thom, A.S. & Burl, Aubrey, Stone Rows and Standing Stones – 2 volumes, BAR 560: Oxford 1990.

Stone Circles

Barnatt, John, Stone Circles of the Peak, Turnstone: London 1978.
Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
*Burl, Aubrey, Four Posters – Bronze Age Stone Circles of Western Europe, BAR 560: Oxford 1988.
*Burl, Aubrey, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press: New York & London 2000.
*Devereux, Paul, Places of Power, Blandford: London 1990.
Pitts, Mike, Hengeworld, Arrow: London 2001.
*Thom, A., Thom, A.S. & Burl, Aubrey, Megalithic Rings: Plans and Data for 229 Monuments in Britain, BAR: Oxford 1980.
Waterhouse, John, The Stone Circles of Cumbria, Phillimore: Chichester 1985.

Traditional Cosmologies²

*Crualaoich, Gearoid O’, The Book of the Cailleach, Cork University Press 2004.
*Deren, Maya, Divine Horsemen: The Voodoo Gods of Haiti, Delta: New York 1970.
*Eliade, Mircea, Patterns in Comparative Religion, Sheed & Ward: London 1958.
*Eliade, Mircea, The Sacred and the Profane, Harcourt, Brace & World: New York 1959.
Eliade, Mircea, Images and Symbols, Harvill: London 1961.
Eliade, Mircea, Australian Religions, Cornell University Press 1973.
Eliade, Mircea, A History of Religious Ideas – Volume 1, Collins: London 1979.
*Eliade, Mircea, Shamanism, Arkana: London 1989.
Eliade, Mircea, Rites and Symbols of Initiation, Spring: Woodstock 1995.
Elkin, A.P., The Australian Aborigines, Angus & Robertson: Sydney 1948.
Elkin, A.P., Aboriginal Men of High Degree, University of Queensland Press 1994.
Grieve, Mrs M., A Modern Herbal, Penguin: Harmondsworth 1977.
Harrison, Jane, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, Meridian: New York 1857.
Jensen, Adolf E., Myth and Cult among Primitive Peoples, Chicago University Press 1973.
*Kalweit, Holger, Dreamtime and Inner Space, Shambhala: Boston 1988.
Kalweit, Holger, Shamans, Healers and Medicine Men, Shambhala: Boston 1992.
Lewis, I.M., Ecstatic Religion, Routledge: London 1989.
McLuhan, T.C. (ed.), Touch the Earth, Abacus: London 1989.
Michell, John, The Earth Spirit, Thames & Hudson: London 1975.
Middleton, John (ed.), Myth and Cosmos, University of Texas Press 1986.
*Neumann, Erich, The Great Mother, Princeton University Press 1974.
*Ray, Reginald, Indestructible Truth, Shambhala: Boston 2000.
Ray, Reginald, The Secret of the Vajra World, Shambhala: Boston 2001.
Rees, Alwyn & Brinley, Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales, Thames & Hudson: London 1961.
*Schultes, Richard Evans & Hofmann, Albert, Plants of the Gods, Hutchinson: London 1979.
Sheldrake, Rupert, The Rebirth of Nature, Century: London 1990.
*Walsh, Roger, The Spirit of Shamanism, Mandala: London 1990.

¹ For specific county folklore surveys and references, please see the relevant Bibliographies in the Sites & Monuments Gazetteer county survey sections.

² The study of traditional cosmologies and myths are highly important in all studies of prehistoric sites, in that they give the student very different mythic perspectives (or social cosmologies if you prefer) about the relationship that traditional societies had with the natural world, compared to the paradigm modern humans have developed in separating themselves from the natural world. (modern society is detached from Nature, whereas all earlier cultures were implicit parts of it)  Grasping some of the fundamental, organic, experiential differences is of primary importance and these differing cosmological frameworks are essential to understand (though integrate may be a more accurate word), thus enabling clarification of a variety of otherwise puzzling ingredients.  Studies of comparative religious ingredients are, therefore, essential to the student.  If however, such matters are deemed to be of little concern, you’re obviously just a tourist.