Salisbury: printed for the author, and sold by E. Easton: sold also by R. Horsfield, No. 22, Ludgate-Street; and J. White, Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields, London, MDCCLXXI. . Full Calf. First edition of one of the earliest astronomical analyses of Stonehenge, the Druid temple in Wiltshire. Medium 4to (295 x 232mm): vi,73, pp, with 3 folding plates engraved by Palmer, depicting divers aspects of the Stonehenge site, and one woodcut in the text. (Two views engraved by H. Roberts were issued to accompany the volume, but were not published with it and are often not present.) Period speckled calf with later (but not recent) respining to style, board edges ruled in gilt, gilt dentelles, red leather lettering-piece gilt, blue marbled end papers. An attractive unsophisticated example, square and tightly bound, text block clean and bright throughout, with foxing to verso of plates only. (Lowndes, p. 2424-2425. Bibliotheca Britannica II, p. 864 (mentioning three plates only) Allibone II 2146 ("Two views of Stonehenge, engraved by H. Roberts should accompany this volume.") Upcott III, xliii (mentioning southwest and northeast views of Stonehenge, "which generally accompany the volume, but were not published with it."). Near Fine+. Item #BB1737
Stonehenge today is a broken stone circle (called the "sarsen ring"), 30 meters in diameter, of hewn blocks weighing between 25 and 50 tons each. There is also an inner, horseshoe-shaped arrangement of five lintel-capped pairs called "trilithons." The whole arrangement is surrounded by a low earthwork embankment 100m in diameter with only one gap, to the northeast, in which direction lies another boulder known as the "heel stone." In 1771, John Smith surveyed Stonehenge and recognized that the heel stone is aligned in the direction of the sunrise of the summer soltice and and went on to discover "the uses of all the detached stones, as well as those that formed the body of the Temple." In fact, Smith wasn't the first to notice the site's alignment with summer and winter solstices. The English antiquarian John Aubrey in the seventeenth century and the English archaeologist William Stukeley in the eighteenth both had drawn the site and shown that its axis lay along the midsummer sunrise. Still, Smith added important clues to the unraveling of the sites uses, and "astronomically explained, and mathematically proved [Stonehenge] to be a temple erected in the earliest Ages, for observing the Motions of the Heavenly Bodies," and later enthusiasts have taken notice. In Indiana Jones and the Dance of the Giants, the second novel in the Indiana Jones series, Dr. Henry Walton Jones, the American archaeologist, reads a copy of Smith's tome on a train, in 1925, as he heads toward his first teaching job in London. Later in the novel, Indie travels to Stonehenge, in search of a golden scroll that will prove the true existence of the sorcerer Merlin, whom, as Smith records, was linked historically to the Wiltshire site. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).