Boyle Somerville, “Instances of orientation in prehistoric monuments of the British Isles”

Archaeologia 73, 193–224 (1923)

Henry Boyle Townshend Somerville (1863–1936) was a member of the well-known Irish family. He served in the Royal Navy, retiring in 1919 with the rank of Vice-Admiral. He became interested in astro-archaeology in 1908, while charting the waters near Lough Swilly in Northern Ireland, and as a result made surveys of prehistoric sites in Ireland and later in Scotland. This paper gives some conclusions of his research.

Somerville was indebted to the work of Sir Norman Lockyer and A. L. Lewis, but was more conservative in his choice of targets for orientation. Although he did not deny the possibility of orientation to the moon, stars, or natural features, this paper deals only with orientation to sunrise or sunset.

See John Michell, A Little History of Astro-Archaeology, 2nd edn (1989), pp. 40–42; obituary in The Times, 26 March 1936, p. 16, col. B.

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