We were saddened yesterday to hear of the passing of Aubrey Burl, well-known to many afficionados of our megalithic past. Indeed, it is unlikely that any of our readers will be without at least one of his books in their library.

Arguably the leading authority on British stone circles, his work encompassed megalithic structures on the Atlantic seaboard from the Orkneys in the north, to Brittany in the south. Whilst his work focussed on the astronomical aspects of many of the monuments, he assiduously avoided embracing some of the wilder claims of the archaeo-astronomy community.  Eschewing the idea of ‘observatories’, instead he believed that many of the monuments were associated with, and used for, ritual practices concerning death and fertility.

The various versions of his gazetteers will be considered as standard reference works on the subject for many years to come. He will be sorely missed.