Sunday, 25 September 2011

Ancient Wessex Tour.

Erected between 3000 and 1600 BC, Stonehenge is the most eloquent testimony to the once dominant civilisations of the Stone and Bronze Ages. And what better way to unravel the mysteries of Stonehenge’s innermost circle than on a private tour in the company of an expert from English Heritage?


As well as inspecting Stonehenge's antique trilithons at close hand, our early morning visit will reveal how recent excavations have radically altered interpretations about this most monumental of temples.

The ceremonial landscape that lies around Stonehenge is richly suggestive of Wessex’s ancient patrimony: we will explore the Great Cursus, the henges of Durrington Wall and Woodhenge, and a handful of the great Bronze Age barrows that bestride the surrounding hills.

The majestic fa├žade of West Kennet chambered long barrow, framed by two enormous quarry ditches, was constructed around 3650 BC – some four centuries before the first stones were raised at Stonehenge. Immediately to the west lies Avebury, the world’s largest pre-historic stone circle, further graphic confirmation of the outstanding engineering skills of our megalithic ancestors.

We stay in Salisbury at the 17th century three-star White Hart Hotel overlooking the famous mediaeval cathedral

Itinerary


Day 1 Course assembles 1600 for two nights at Mercure White Hart Hotel, Salisbury. Evening: sherry reception followed by course introduction.

Day 2 Early morning privileged visit to Stonehenge (inner circle) followed by Neolithic henge monuments of Durrington Walls and Woodhenge, Stonehenge Cursus, King Barrows (unexplored Bronze Age barrows), Stonehenge Avenue (ceremonial approach). Evening talk.

Day 3 Avebury Henge (huge earthwork enclosing three stone circles), Silbury Hill (largest man-made mound in Europe), West Kennet long barrow (early Neolithic chambered tomb). Course disperses 1700 at hotel.

Cost

Cost of £490 includes: accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, drinks reception, breakfast, two packed lunches & two dinners, special entry to Stonehenge, excursions & admissions (except English Heritage properties for non-members).

Not included: travel insurance, single room supplement £110.

This tour is operated by the Engish Heritage and Ace cultural Tourshttp://www.acestudytours.co.uk/
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/book-and-buy/partner-products/leisure-and-travel/uk-study-tours/
http://www.stonehengetours.com/

Wessex Tour Guide

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Stonehenge traffic inquiry begins. Pendragon and Druids gives evidence

A public inquiry into plans to prohibit the use of motor vehicles at Stonehenge has begun.
The proposals, by Wiltshire Council, would see various byways closed to vehicles, with certain exceptions, within the site and part of the A344.
The reason given for the plans is to "improve the amenity of the area".
The proposals have met with opposition from various people and groups including Druid leader King Arthur Pendragon.
The inquiry, at Salisbury Rugby Football Club, is due to run until 5 October.
The inspector will then make recommendations to Wiltshire Council, which will make the final decision.

Druids and Pagans
Mr Pendragon is one of those due to give evidence at the inquiry.
He said the closure of the Netheravon Coach Road in Amesbury would prevent people from holding the three-day solstice and equinox celebrations.
"By prohibiting all people from celebrating at Stonehenge, Druids and Pagans would be disproportionately discriminated against, since the solstices and equinoxes have particular significance for our beliefs," he said.
An earlier inquiry into plans by English Heritage to close the main road east of Stonehenge and return it to grass was held in June.
English Heritage wants to stop traffic from travelling close to the stones and "restore the dignity" of the World Heritage Site by closing the A344.
The report has been submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport, who will make a final decision.

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-14985660
 
Stonehenge Tour Guide

Friday, 16 September 2011

UK Votes Stonehenge as the World's Must-See Destination in Intel's Seven Visual Wonders of the World Poll

Stonehenge Rocks Travellers' Socks to Land Top Spot
From the ancient and mysterious to the grandiose and awe inspiring, voters in Intel's Visual Wonders of the World poll[1] have chosen the world's most visually stunning locations. The poll formed part of Intel's campaign to find out what matters most to the UK in their Visual Life.

 

The top seven must-see locations, in the order of ranking, as chosen by voters from all over the UK are:
  1. Stonehenge, England
  2. Rome, Italy
  3. Chatsworth House, England
  4. Cape Town, South Africa
  5. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
  6. Sahara, North Africa
  7. Aurora Borealis, Sweden
  8. New York City, USA
  9. Gower Peninsula, Wales
  10. Machu Picchu, Peru

 
The poll also showed how patriotic we are in the UK, selecting two UK locations within our top three. This was mirrored by the likes of the US, who voted for the Grand Canyon and the Golden Gate Bridge, Germany, who opted for Neuschwanstein Castle, and the Netherlands, whose Canals in Amsterdam topped both their country poll and the votes across Europe.

 
Natural beauty

 
The Visual Wonders poll also captured how male and female voters cast their favourites. Both men and women voted for Stonehenge as the must-see location in the UK, whereas mostly women voters opted for the romance and atmosphere of Rome, while mainly men chose the history and scenery of Chatsworth House.

 
The poll also had five categories: ancient, man-made, natural, religious and urban and interestingly the results show that the UK as a whole prefers natural beauty over the draw of urban life.

 
Partnering with Intel to create the Visual Wonders poll, travel deal experts Travelzoo confirmed the significance of aesthetic attraction for travellers and holiday makers. "What's really interesting in Intel's poll is the UK's thirst to discover the landmarks of history that are near to them, and in some cases right on their doorstep," said Joel Brandon-Bravo, managing director of Travelzoo in the UK. "The perfect getaway is no longer solely about the faraway beach; the rise of staycationing appears to have reignited our passion for the UK in recent years."

 
"Intel's Visual Wonders of the World poll has shown the passion that the UK has for our own visual landmarks", says Gail Hanlon, marketing director Intel UK. "As part of our Visual Life campaign this year, which encouraged using technology to get the best out of the great things that surround us every day, the enthusiasm for each of the top ten results proves how important technology can be in sharing everyday experiences."

 
The Winners

 
The mysterious structure of Stonehenge claimed top spot in the poll of must-see locations. This ancient creation is visited by thousands of people a year in the South of England and its popularity could be down to its imposing presence, or the shroud of mystery surrounding its purpose as 'experts' remain undecided as to whether it was used for human sacrifices or for charting the movement of the Sun, Moon and stars.

 
Rome, the city of 'romance' and ancient wonders came in at a close second place with the vast majority of UK female voters choosing its stunning architecture and romantic atmosphere as the reasons for choosing it as one of the world's most desirable locations.

 
Set in the heart of the Peak District in Derbyshire, Chatsworth House landed third place in the poll. Construction of the first house at Chatsworth began in 1552 and the current site offers the captivating history of the house, scenic gardens as well as a farmyard and adventure playground, making it a consistently popular choice for men and women of the UK.

 
In fourth place was the sun-drenched city of beautiful people, Cape Town, in South Africa. A city famed for its near-perfect weather, Cape Town is a location surrounded by sea and mountains, including the legendary flat-topped Table Mountain.

Other top locations from across the world that proved the most popular among UK voters include the architectural brilliance of the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt and the sweeping sands of the Sahara in North Africa.

 
The spectral beauty of Sweden's Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) were also in the top 10, alongside the vibrant buzz of New York City, USA; Gower Peninsula in Wales and the breathtaking views of Machu Picchu, Peru.

 
Survey Information

 
This survey was conducted in June/ July 2011 via Intel's Facebook pages. A total of 1,715 votes were cast globally: 67 in Germany, 237 in Hungary, 38 in Ireland, 130 in Italy, 246 in the Netherlands, 136 in Southern Africa, 133 in UAE, 99 in the US, 365 in UK and 264 in the rest of the world

 
Stonehenge Tour Guide

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Stonehenge: Researchers recreate the sound of a ritual heard there 4,000 years ago

“Visitors to Stonehenge in Wiltshire rarely experience the historic site without the rumble of traffic noise from the nearby A303. But UK researchers have managed to recreate the sound of a ritual there, as heard by our ancestors 4,000 years ago. The research – which starts in an echo-free recording chamber and uses latest computer modelling techniques – has also been used to recreate the acoustics of Coventry Cathedral before it was destroyed in World War II.”


Hearing the Past can be heard on BBC Radio 4 at 1102 BST on Monday 12 September, and on BBC iPlayer.

More here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14746589

Stonehenge Tour Guide

Sunday, 4 September 2011

ADVENTURES IN ARCHAEOLOGY - EXPERIENCE STONEHENGE & PREHISTORIC WESSEX

Stonehenge Tour - September 14th - 17th 2011This break really is special! Not only do we have the renowned archaeologist Julian Richards spending time with us we also have our own private visit to Stonehenge!


Highlights Included in Your Tour

Woodhenge and Durrington Walls where we will discuss the results of the recent excavations which have produced startling new discoveries.

Stonehenge Cursus, a great ceremonial Neolithic enclosure that predates Stonehenge.

King Barrow Ridge, with its spectacular Bronze Age burial mounds, some excavated some untouched.

Winterbourne Stoke that contains every known type of southern British round barrow.

Stonehenge via The Avenue. Finally we have our special visit to Stonehenge for the rare privilege of walking amongst the stones - a wonderful way to end the day.

West Kennet long Barrow, Silbury Hill & Avebury stone circle. On day three we will continue our prehistoric investigations by exploring the Avebury area - all under the expert guidance of Julian Richards.

This tour is operated by Lindum Heritage Tours - http://www.lindumheritage.co.uk/bm/prog-lindum/stonehenge-prehistoric-wessex-2011.shtml

Other guided tours of Stonehenge can be booked through the long established 'Stonehenge Tour company' http://www.StonehengeTours.com/

Stonehenge Tour Guide

Friday, 2 September 2011

Stonehenge mystery offered clue by Welsh burial chamber

Archaeologists believe key figure involved in construction of Wiltshire ancient monument is buried at Preseli mountains site


Archaeologists are researching the grave of an important figure they believe may have played a crucial role in the construction of Stonehenge.


The burial chamber is sited above a ceremonial stone circle in the Preseli hills in west Wales, where it is believed bluestone was quarried before being taken to Stonehenge.

More research will be done to establish if the important person buried there played a role in the moving of bluestone 190 miles from west Wales to the Wiltshire monument.

The find has been made by professors Tim Darvill and Geoffrey Wainwright, who have spent the last 10 years trying to establish how and why the bluestones – or spotted dolerite – were transported from the Preseli hills to Stonehenge.

In 2008, following the first excavation at Stonehenge in more than 40 years, the professors said they had established that the bluestones – the size of a man or smaller – arrived at Stonehenge about 4,500 years ago.

Their hypothesis was that the bluestones – rather than the much larger sarsen stones that give Stonehenge its familiar shape – were the real draw because they were believed to have healing powers.

Wainwright said: "We went back to the Preselis and started doing excavations up there. The first site we explored was a big burial cairn in the shadow of Carn Menyn, where the Stonehenge bluestones come from."

The team found a circle underneath the cairn built of bluestone, the same material taken to Stonehenge, and work is being carried out to date this. But Wainwright said he would be surprised if the circle had not been created at about the same time that the bluestones were taken to Stonehenge, strengthening the link between west Wales and Stonehenge in the theory.

"Then this stone circle was covered with the huge burial cairn with a chamber in the middle. The space turned from a public ceremonial space defined by the stone circle into the burial spot of a very important person."

Wainwright said it was a "jump" to claim the person buried there was an architect of Stonehenge. "It's a hypothesis but it could well be true. There is certainly something very significant about the grave."

Stonehenge Tour Guide