Moving megaliths: the Stonehenge-Asia link

Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper

I recently gave a talk at the Society of Antiquaries in London about how observers in British colonial Asia – mostly civil servants during the years of the Raj, when the Crown claimed the right to rule India between 1858 and 1947 – recorded their impressions of people creating megaliths. In diaries, talks, books, or articles scattered across titles such as Antiquity, Folklore and the Empire Forestry Journal, colonial personnel described people working stone and moving and raising megaliths and other large objects, and – which is how I was drawn into the topic – made explicit comparisons to the great monuments at Avebury and Stonehenge.

The observers I picked out range from a school inspector across 19th-century India, who was briefly superintendent of the Calcutta Botanical Garden and later worked at the gardens in Kew, to a forester in the Malayan Forest Service, who escaped to Sumatra in…

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