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Cracking the Stone-Age Code

First transmitted in 1970, Professor Alexander Thom asserts his theory that Stonehenge and other megalithic sites were used to record time and predict solar and lunar eclipses.Magnus Magnusson looks at Thom's evidence and hears what different archaeologists think of the suggestion that Stone Age Britons could make such elaborate calculations. If Thom's theory is correct, previous archaeological certainties about the knowledge and ability of people in the Stone Age would be overturned.

Release date:

50 minutes

Last on

Sat 31 Oct 1970 21:15
BBC Two except East, South East, Yorkshire

Did You Know?

Alexander Thom's book Megalithic Sites in Britain, published in 1967, caused huge controversy within academic archaeology. Thom's premise that Stone Age culture used complex mathematics and applied this to constructing monuments undermined the progressional idea of culture as continually advancing from savagery to civilisation. Glyn Daniel commissioned the eminent astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle to consider Thom's evidence for Archaeology magazine. Hoyle found that Thom's theories were essentially accurate.


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Role Contributor
PresenterMagnus Magnusson
ParticipantProf Alexander Thom
ParticipantProf Richard Atkinson
ParticipantHumphrey Case
ParticipantGlyn Daniel
ParticipantJacquetta Hawkes
ParticipantA. H. A. Hogg
ParticipantDr Ewan Mackie
ParticipantStuart Piggott
ProducerPaul Johnstone
DirectorDavid Collison

Featured in...

Chronicle: Archaeology on Television Collection

Archaelogy Collection

This programme is online as part of the Chronicle: Archaeology on Television Collection.