Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Why was Stonehenge built? The eight most popular theories

Was it a spiritual temple, burial ground or even built by aliens? There are many theories about Stonehenge's purpose but here are the most popular ones.

Giant concert venue

(REX FEATURES)
A university professor with an expertise in sound (and who also happened to be a part-time DJ) said that he believed Stonehenge was created as a dance arena for listening to "trance-style" music.
Rupert Till said that the standing stones had the ideal acoustics to amplify a "repetitive trance rhythm".
He used a computer model to conduct experiments in sound, which he said revealed that the 5,000 year old monument may have been used for ancient raves. 

A long barrow near the stone circle at Stonehenge (REX FEATURES)
Earlier this year archaeologists found that Stonehenge could have been a graveyard for a community of elite families.
The British team analysed the ancient remains of 63 bodies buried around Stonehenge, finding that the first monument was originally a graveyard for a community of elite families, whose remains were brought to Stonehenge and buried over a period of more than 200 years.
However the team also discovered that the earliest burials long predate the monument in its current form.

Health spa

In 2008 archaeologists Geoffrey Wainwright and Timothy Darvill said that there was evidence Stonehenge had been sought after by pilgrims for its healing properties.
They said that ancient chipping of the rocks helped to indicate that Stonehenge was the equivalent of Lourdes, a French commune framed for its supposed miraculous healing powers.
Wainwright and Darvill said that the state of skeletons which had been recovered from the area around Stonehenge, showed that many people were ailing when they went to the stone circle.

Team building exercise

Researchers from the University College London claimed that Stonehenge was built as part of an annual winter solstice ritual which resembled "Glastonbury festival and a motorway building scheme at the same time".
As many as 4,000 people may have gathered at the site each year, when the entire population numbered only tens of thousands.
Tests on remains found at the site revealed that people came to the site from as far as the Scottish Highlands at the same time every year to feast, and built the monument together.

Ancient calculator

In 1963 astronomer Gerald Hawkins proposed the theory that Stonehenge was a computer for predicting eclipses of the sun and moon.
He identified 165 key points in the Stonehenge complex and found that many of them very strongly correlated with the rising and setting positions of the sun and moon.
Stonehenge has long been studied for its connections with ancient astronomy. Some Archaeoastronomers have claimed that Stonehenge represents an "ancient observatory,"
Stonehenge has become an increasingly popular place for people to celebrate the summer solstice. However in 2005 findings indicated that our ancestors visited Stonehenge to celebrate the winter solstice.

Sex symbol

In 2003 a researcher at the University of British Columbia said that Stonehenge was, in fact, an ancient sex symbol constructed to look like the female sexual organ.
Anthony Perks said: "Stonehenge could represent, symbolically, the opening by which Earth Mother gave birth to the plants and animals on which the ancient people so depended."

Alien development

Swiss author Erich von Däniken claimed in his 1968 book Chariots of the Gods? that the technologies and religions of many ancient civilisations were given to them by extraterrestrials.
This influenced the building of Stonehenge as well as the Egyptian pyramids and Easter Island.
On his website Vin Daniken calls himself the "world's most successful non-fiction writer of all time". Others may disagree but he has sold over 65 million copies of his books worldwide.

Druid temple

Many believed that Stonehenge was a Druid temple in the 17th and 18th centuries after antiquary John Aubrey first proposed the theory.
According to English Heritage he surveyed Stonehenge in the late 17th century, and his studies of stone circles in other parts of Britain led him to conclude that they were built by the native inhabitants.
Since the Druids were the only prehistoric British priests mentioned in the classical texts, he attributed Stonehenge to the Druids.
It is now much more likely that Stonehenge predated the Druids by hundreds of years.

Source: By  - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/howaboutthat/10523016/Why-was-Stonehenge-built-The-eight-most-popular-theories.html

Stonehenge Tourist News

Sarsen.org: The Architects of the Stonehenge Visitor Centre Ex...

Sarsen.org: The Architects of the Stonehenge Visitor Centre Ex...: Here's the full press release from Denton Corker Marshall: New Stonehenge Visitor Centre Opens Denton Corker Marshall’s new Stoneh...

Monday, 16 December 2013

Stonehenge transformed

 The long-awaited Stonehenge exhibition and visitor centre will open on 18 December. For the first time, visitors will have a proper introduction to one of the world’s most important prehistoric monuments.  
This is the first phase of English Heritage’s £27million project to transform the visitor experience of the iconic site, made possible by a £10m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and substantial gifts from the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Linbury Trust and the Wolfson Foundation.
Stonehenge at sunrise.
Photo English Heritage
Visitors will be able to see original objects used in its construction and those connected with Neolithic and Bronze Age men and women, their lives, their rituals and daily struggles. The reconstructed face of a 5,500 year-old man buried in a long barrow 1.5 miles from Stonehenge – the most advanced reconstruction of a Neolithic man’s face to date - is a highlight.
A special exhibition will display important objects, never seen together before, that tell the story of the changing understanding of Stonehenge over centuries. These include two rare 14th-century manuscripts which are among the earliest known drawings of the monument, Roman coins and jewellery, and early surveying equipment.
A 360-degree virtual experience will let visitors ‘stand in the stones’ before they enter the gallery. This three-minute film, based on state-of-the-art laser scan images of the stone circle, will transport the viewer back in time through the millennia and enable them to experience the summer and winter solstices.  
Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive, English Heritage, said: “At last, visitors to Stonehenge will be able to get a sense of the people who built this monument, of their lives, their deaths and their ceremonies. Visitors will, for the first time, learn the astonishing history of the stones and will see objects, many never seen before, that will bring the stones to life.
“Instead of just a stopover or a quick photo opportunity, we want our visitors to step back in time and into the shoes of those who created and used this extraordinary place, to marvel at original everyday objects they used, to walk the surrounding landscape as they did, and to sit in the dwellings that they would have built. It makes the real encounter with the stones themselves so much more exciting.”
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “Stonehenge is one of the UK’s most iconic sites, undeniably worthy of its UNESCO World Heritage status attracting one million tourists every year from the UK and all over the world. So it’s only right that, after decades of indecision, we can now offer them the visitor experience and exhibition centre they deserve. A huge amount of work has gone into getting this right and making sure people can see the stones and their story in a whole new light.”
Bettany Hughes, award-wining author, historian and broadcaster, said: “I have no doubt that those who first constructed Stonehenge did so with awe and with a profound appreciation of the beauty and power of the world around. For millennia men and women have travelled to the site to try to share that experience. Now in the 21st century with the help of these developments, we can appreciate both the intriguing story of the site - and its mystery.”

Early Neolithic man - ancestor of Stonehenge creators
The reconstruction of the early Neolithic face, using forensic evidence derived from skeletal analysis, is the face of a man 25 – 40 years old, of slender build, born about 5,500 years ago - about 500 years before the circular ditch and banks, the first monument at Stonehenge, was built.
He was among those people who were active on Salisbury Plain in early Neolithic Britain and helped to explain why people chose this area to erect the stones a thousand years later: the area already held significance. His presence emphasises the fact that Stonehenge is part of a remarkable landscape of prehistoric monuments which visitors can now explore on foot as part of their visit.
Specially trained volunteers will embark on building a group of Neolithic houses in January, complete with furniture and fittings. These will be the highlight of an outdoor gallery, to open at Easter 2014, and are based on evidence of houses excavated at nearby Durrington Walls where the builders of Stonehenge most probably lived. 
Experience Stonehenge in a more dignified setting  Visitors will have a heightened sense of anticipation when they arrive at the visitor building as Stonehenge is not visible - it will only emerge slowly on the horizon during the ten-minute shuttle ride to the monument.
At the stone circle, there will be opportunities to walk and explore the surroundings of the monument including the Avenue, Stonehenge’s ancient processional approach, guided by new interpretation panels specially developed with the National Trust.
The Avenue has been reconnected to the stone circle after being severed by the A344 road for centuries. The whole area is now free of traffic, and newly sown grass is establishing on the former route of the road.
A sensitively designed modern building
Designed by leading practice Denton Corker Marshall, the exhibition and visitor centre appears light and unimposing, sensitive to its surroundings and deferential to the stones. The galleries, café, shop and toilets are housed in a pair of single-storey 'pods', sitting beneath an undulating canopy that evokes the gentle rolling plains nearby. Locally sourced, pre-weathered sweet chestnut and Salisbury limestone are among the materials used.
Improvements to visitor facilities include
  • full disability access;
  • dedicated education space;
  • a bright and spacious café with indoor and outdoor seating for up to 260;
  • a bigger shop with a wide range of specially commissioned merchandise;
  • a visitors’ carpark with space for 500 vehicles and 30 coaches; 
  • ample toilets;
  • a pre-booked timed ticket system to help minimise queues and avoid over-crowdedness at peak times; and
  • new, downloadable and hand held free audio guides in 10 languages 
Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to tell the full story of Stonehenge’s past, its present and how it will be understood by future generations. The Heritage Lottery Fund has been working in close partnership with English Heritage and a myriad of other funders and donors to make these imaginative plans a reality. We’re proud to have invested £10m in the exhibition and visitor centre and hope it will capture people’s imaginations and inspire them to learn more about life in both Neolithic and Bronze Age times.”
Dame Helen Ghosh, Director General, the National Trust, said: “As owners of much of the surrounding land, we have supported English Heritage in bringing the Stonehenge landscape together and developing visitors’ understanding of the World Heritage Site as a whole. The removal of the A344 reconnects the monument with the landscape, giving visitors an opportunity to once again appreciate the ancient processional approach up to the stones. The new centre, with its fresh interpretation and displays, will help visitors understand the stones and the Neolithic world of ancient Britain from a different perspective.”

Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge Director, English Heritage, said: “This is a major milestone in a long journey to make the experience of Stonehenge worthy of its iconic world heritage status. When the restoration of the landscape is complete by summer 2014, visitors will be able to enjoy the special atmosphere of this place with far fewer distractions from modern-day sights and sounds. I’d like to thank our partners and the many individuals and organisations who have shared our vision and helped us to achieve this historic event.”
Notes to editors

All the permanent exhibits are on loan from Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, and the Duckworth Laboratory, University of Cambridge. All were found within the World Heritage Site. Temporary loans come from many sources including the British Museum, the British Library, Society of Antiquaries of London, and the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford University.
The Stonehenge Environmental Improvements Project is the largest capital project ever undertaken by English Heritage. It is financed almost entirely by the HLF, English Heritage commercial income and philanthropic donations.
The building is sited 1.5 miles away from Stonehenge to enable the immediate area around the monument to be free of modern structures. Work to demolish the existing facilities and car park and return the area to grass will begin imminently. The restoration of the landscape around Stonehenge will be completed in summer 2014.
Stonehenge exhibition and visitor centre, 1.5 miles from Stonehenge, Wiltshire, SP3 4DX. From 18th December, entrance will be managed through timed tickets and advance booking is strongly recommended. Adult £13.90, Concession £12.50 and Child £8.30 when pre-booked; and Adult £14.90, Concession £13.40 and Child £8.90 when bought at the door. For opening hours and online booking, please visit the Stonehenge website.

About English Heritage
English Heritage is the government’s statutory advisor on the historic environment. It is the custodian of over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites through which we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.
Further information

For press information please contact English Heritage Press Office on +44 207 973 3250, communication.team@english-heritage.org.uk.
For HLF press office please contact Katie Owen, on 020 7591 6036, out of hours mobile 07973 613 820.
Link: http://www.hlf.org.uk/news/Pages/Stonehengetransformed.aspx#.Uq_2xJCYbIU
Stonehenge Tour Guide

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Stonehenge Unveils Its £27m Makeover

Towards the end of December the sun dips ever lower in the sky, almost seeming to disappear. Then, once again, the days begin to lengthen. But this year the winter solstice is a little different – at least for those who hope to mark it at Stonehenge.

The 2013 solstice, on Saturday 21 December, comes only three days after the opening of the first phase of a

£27m rebuild of facilities at the prehistoric site in Wiltshire. Demand to take part in the annual celebrations, which have already been attracting increasing numbers, is expected to beat all previous years.
English Heritage, which runs the site, is preparing to unveil its visitor centre – after 30 years of planning rows and archaeological controversy. Situated a mile-and-a-half to the west of the stones, the new building, designed by architects Denton Corker Marshall, will showcase hundreds of items originally found at Stonehenge, many of them not displayed in public before.

Although this is the most expensive capital project yet undertaken by English Heritage, the quango is concerned not to imply there is any greater capacity for visitors who want to join the druid and pagan ceremony among the stones. Three years ago, only 2,000 people attended winter solstice; in 2012 more than 5,000 turned up.

“We are delighted to offer a warm welcome to Stonehenge this winter solstice, but as facilities are limited we are not able to accommodate any more people than last year,” Kate Davies, Stonehenge general manager, has warned.
“We don’t have the luxury of using nearby fields in winter for parking and encourage people to make use of the special bus service running from Salisbury. We are working very closely with the local authorities and agencies plus the druid and pagan community to ensure that access to Stonehenge will once again be a success.”
Sunrise takes place at 8.09am that Saturday and people will be allowed rare access to the stones as soon as it is light enough to do so safely. Entrance is free and access will continue until 9am, when the site will close, before re-opening as usual to paying visitors at 9.30am.

The solstice, regarded as the beginning of the winter season, occurs when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun. This will actually happen at 17.11pm on the 21st, but celebrations customarily take place at dawn, so access is arranged for the morning.

The Wednesday prior to the solstice will see the first members of the public sampling long-awaited improvements to the site. A 360-degree virtual “immersive experience” will let visitors stand within a virtual recreation of the stone circles before they enter a gallery that sets out the facts and theories surrounding the monument. Nearly 300 prehistoric artefacts have been loaned to the centre by the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, the Wiltshire Museum, the Duckworth Collection and the University of Cambridge.
The first special exhibition at the centre will be “Set in Stone? How our ancestors saw Stonehenge.” It charts more than 800 years of theories and debate – from 12th-century legends, to radiocarbon dating reports in the 1950s.


Author: Vanessa Thorpe

Guest Blogger
Stonehenge Tour Guide

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Stonehenge Empire Mini-Series Co-Pro Sells Worldwide

MONTREAL: Stonehenge Empire, a tentatively titled factual mini-series co-produced by October Films, Lightship Entertainment and Interspot Film, is headed to a handful of broadcasters around the globe.
Stonehenge Empire has been licensed by BBC Two in the U.K., Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Smithsonian Channel in the U.S., France 5, Austria's ORF and Germany's ZDF. The 2x1-hour special centers on an archeological project that has been taking place at Stonehenge for decades. It will use dramatic reconstructions and CGI to illustrate how the site looked back in the day.
Adam Bullmore, the creative director at October, said: "Stonehenge Empire will dramatically change the way we understand Stonehenge and the prehistoric culture that flourished around it. Instead of seeing Stonehenge as an extraordinary achievement of an otherwise relatively primitive, prehistoric people, it will reveal Stonehenge as the epicenter of a truly remarkable and highly sophisticated ancient civilization."
Martin Davidson, BBC's commissioning editor for history and business programming, added: "This is a really exciting project which will, using drama, CGI and the latest archeological discoveries, allow us to properly understand the achievements and character of the people that built it; people who mastered deep mining, sophisticated engineering, textile manufacturing, ship-building, 'micro' gold-working, metallurgy, glass making, overseas trade and complex astronomy and mathematics."
By Joanna Padovano

Guest Blogger
Stonehenge Tour Guide

Monday, 2 December 2013

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Origin of Stonehenge's blue stones pinpointed in Pembrokeshire

A team of geologists have identified a hill in the Preseli Hills as the site from which 11 stones known as spotted dolerites were transported to Stonehenge

New research has established that stones from Wales were definitely used in the building of one of the world’s best known prehistoric sites at Stonehenge – but that they came from a hill a mile away from the place previously assumed to be their source.
A team of three geologists including Dr Richard Bevins, Keeper of Natural Sciences at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, have identified a hill called Carn Goedog, about three miles from Crymrch in the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire, as the site from which 11 stones known as spotted dolerites were somehow transported to Stonehenge in Wiltshire.
Together with his colleagues Dr Rob Ixer of University College, London and Professor Nick Pearce of Aberystwyth, Dr Bevins will next year have a peer-reviewed paper published by the prestigious Journal of Archaological Science.
He told the Western Mail: “This is an incredibly exciting project and we didn’t want to announce our findings before they had been properly evaluated in advance of publication. We got confirmation last week that they have been verified. There was a delay of six months after we submitted the research paper and you always worry there’s a possibility they will come back with something that will cast doubt on your work. Getting such positive feedback was a great relief.”
Dr Bevins, one of the world’s leading authorities on volcanic rocks, has been studying the Preseli Hills since he was a PhD student in the late 1970s. For the latest research, he and his colleagues took as their starting point a groundbreaking paper published by the academic HH Thomas in 1923 which first put forward the theory that the so-called blue stones of Stonehenge came from Pembrokeshire. Thomas expressed the view that the stones came from another Preseli hill called Carn Meini, a mile away from Carn Goedog – and ever since archaeologists have assumed that to be the case.
Carn Goedog in the Preseli Hills - where stones used at Stonehenge came from, according to new research
Carn Goedog in the Preseli Hills - where stones used at Stonehenge came from, according to new research
But Dr Bevins said: “When Thomas was doing his research, it wasn’t possible to be as precise as it is now. By x-raying dolerites from Stonehenge and comparing them with dolerites from Carn Goedog, we know with some degree of certainty that’s where the blue stones originated.

“After this, I don’t expect to be getting Christmas cards from the archaeologists who have been excavating at Carn Meini over the years!”
Dr Bevins said he would not speculate on how the stones got from Preseli to Wiltshire.
“Thomas suggested they were transported by humans south to Milford Haven, put on a boat or boats and taken by sea to a point from which they were carried to Salisbury Plain.
“Later scientists have suggested they may have been transported naturally by rock movements during the last Ice Age.
“It’s not for me to say which of the theories is correct. We are publishing our findings and it will be for specialist archaologists to use their expertise to excavate the site and see what physical evidence they can find. If humans were involved in taking the stones, there should be some evidence of human activity at the site. Equally, if they were transported during the last Ice Age, physical evidence should be present. Our job as scientists has been to present what we have found, together with the evidence to back it up.”
Further research is ongoing that could pinpoint the origin of the stones with even greater precision.

Article: By : http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/origin-stonehenges-blue-stones-pinpointed-6317230

Guest Blogger
Stonehenge Tour Guide

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

New Visitor Center Helps Stonehenge Return to Nature

The removal of a nearby road and the construction of a new, off-site, visitor center will return England’s prehistoric stone circle, Stonehenge, to a more tranquil, natural setting.
 
October 22, 2013—There are some monuments so well known globally they need no introduction. Stonehenge, the prehistoric stone circle located near Salisbury, in the English county of Wiltshire, is one of them. Modern experiences of the circle had been marred, however, by a busy road that cut through the countryside adjacent to the monument, an associated security fence, and a nearby parking lot. Last month, English Heritage, England’s agency devoted to protecting the nation’s cultural and heritage resources, announced that a new, off-site, visitor center will be completed by this December. Work has also begun to deactivate the road—the two-lane A344—and remove the fencing and parking lot. The road’s closure and the opening of the new visitor center, located 2.1 km away from the circle, are part of efforts to return Stonehenge to a more tranquil, natural setting.

“Much of the powerful imagery of Stonehenge is drawn from its isolated setting on the windswept open Salisbury plains,” said Stephen C. Quinlan, RIBA, a partner of the London office of the architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall, which was responsible for the design of the new visitor center. Quinlan wrote in response to written questions posed by Civil Engineering online. The Stonehenge Exhibition and Visitor Centre “sits lightly on the landscape” and is meant to act as a counterpoint to the up to 40 metric ton stones, which “grow out of this landscape, their weight seeming to convey a sense of permanence and passage of time,” Quinlan noted.

The new center “is conceived as a perforated, undulating metal sheet pinned to the ground by a series of fine metal columns under which [are] a block of timber and a block of glass,” Quinlan explained. As is true of many designs, its lightweight and relatively simple appearance is actually complicated to execute.
 The Stonehenge Exhibition and Visitor Centre is located 2.1 km from the prehistoric stone circle
 The new, off-site visitor center for Stonehenge, a world heritage
site located near Salisbury in the United Kingdom, will be
completed by this December. The Stonehenge Exhibition and
Visitor Centre is located 2.1 km from the prehistoric stone circle.
Denton Corker Marshall
The three structures that comprise the center—both of the single-story pods, one timber and one glass, and the undulating canopy roof—are structurally interconnected, according to Paul Swainson, CEng, MIStructE, a structural and civil engineering consultant in the Cirencester office of global firm Sinclair Knight Merz and the lead engineer on the project, who also wrote in response to questions posed by Civil Engineering online.

“The building is lightweight and features a very large number of columns with varying loads and residual uplifts which are best resolved with a continuous slab foundation instead of discrete footings,” Swainson explained. “During the early stages of the design and consultation process, several lay consultees and commentators expressed concern that the wing-like canopy could lift the building up during extreme storm conditions. In fact, the self-weight of the raft foundation is safely in excess of any potential uplift whilst not overloading the supporting strata.”
The floating raft foundation has been placed atop fill located on retained topsoil, Swainson explained, to minimize the building’s impact on the site. By lifting the floor level so that the raft “floats” atop the fill, the design team was also able to minimize the differential settlement or rotations that might have been caused by soft spots in the soil. 

Inside the new visitor center, each of the 35 m by 35 m, steel-framed pods is topped with profiled steel roof decking that acts as a stressed-skin diaphragm and distributes the pod’s horizontal loads to its vertical stability elements, according to Swainson. The northern, glass pod contains cross-braced column bays positioned within internal partitions for structural stability, while the southern, timber pod is stabilized by timber insulated panels designed as stressed-skin diaphragms.
 Illustration depicting the 311 raking colmns that support the roof
 The 311 raking columns that support the roof of the visitor center
extend from both the concrete raft foundation and from the two
single-story blocks’ roofs. The weight of the foundation will
counteract any uplift forces that the wind might generate, even
in extreme conditions. Sinclair Knight Merz
The 40 m wide by 80 m long canopy roof that extends over the internal pods comprises “a steel grillage of curved and straight 200 mm by 100 mm box sections [that] supports softwood timber rafters and curved plywood sheeting [up] to the deck and soffit surfaces,” Swainson said. The 311 raking columns that support the roof extend from both the concrete raft foundation and from the pods’ roofs. The shorter columns, which spring from the roofs, “act as inverted cantilevers with a moment-resisting connection to the grillage beams to stabilize the grillage and transfer horizontal loads acting on the canopy to the pods, and thence to the raft foundation,” Swainson explained.

Once the visitor center opens, work will begin in earnest to decommission the existing facilities and parking lot. The removal of these will bring the imagery of Stonehenge as an isolated, windswept site closer to reality. The A344 road, now closed, passes directly next to the circle’s “Heel Stone,” a stone marker located outside the circle that aligns perfectly with the rising sun during the summer solstice and the setting sun during the winter solstice. The A344 sliced through the “Avenue,” Stonehenge’s ancient processional approach, so its closure also reunites the approach with the stone circle.

“The A344, being an ancient route and an early turnpike, is in itself of significant archaeological interest. As a result, the removal of the road was not planned as a straightforward engineering and landscaping task,” Swainson explained. Because the line of the road was established by a historic Act of Parliament, English Heritage required that it remain a visible, although unobtrusive, aspect of the landscaping surrounding the circle. The extent to which the road will remain was determined through a careful examination of the modern road’s subsurface layers.
“Intrusive investigations of the road discovered a modern pavement buildup comprising layers of asphalt and dense macadam overlying a compacted, unbound stone layer founded on the weathered chalk subsoil,” Swainson said. “It was not clear from these investigations whether the deeper stone material was part of the original turnpike but undoubtedly a [portion] may well have been.”
In areas where the grade of the road was deep enough to allow it, the existing pavement will be left in situ, “punctured to permit free draining and the deeper growth of grass roots, and overlaid with a defined depth of chalky soils to support the reestablishment of a natural chalk grassland,” Swainson explained.

Approximately 50 percent of the closed road is at a grade that does not allow for it to be unobtrusively hidden in this manner, so the asphalt and macadam layers will be removed and chalky soil layered atop the road’s deeper stone layers.

The restoration of the road surface back to grass is anticipated to be complete by summer 2014, according to English Heritage. The £27-million (U.S.$43-million) Stonehenge Environmental Improvements Program, which includes the visitor center and roadwork, also covers the construction of a series of small, reconstructed Neolithic huts that will be built by volunteers once the center opens.
Stonehenge is located in an area of Britain that is home to a number of prehistoric sites that were constructed over a span of 2,000 years beginning in approximately 3700 B.C., according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (See, for example, “Engineers Stabilize Deteriorating Cultural Relic,” in the Jnauary 2008 issue of Civil Engineering magazine.) Stonehenge has been identified as one of the world’s wonders since at least the 12th century, according to UNESCO.

By Catherine A. Cardno, Ph.D. http://www.asce.org/CEMagazine/Article.aspx?id=23622328308#.UmduXXZwbmI

Stonehenge Tourist Guide

Monday, 21 October 2013

The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project

Sarsen.org: The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project pdf: Download of pdf and online access: http://www.academia.edu/1751987/The_Stonehenge_Hidden_Landscapes_Project The Stonehenge Hidden Land...

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Early Photo of the Stonehenge Parchmarks

Sarsen.org: Early Photo of the Stonehenge Parchmarks: (click to embiggen) An early postcard (1930?) shows Gowland's prop holes as pale parchmarks and also the stoneholes 17,18 and 19 ...

Monday, 14 October 2013

Were these dazzling artefacts at the King of Stonehenge's burial site Britain's first Crown Jewels?

They may not be studded with jewels and pearls, but these shining bronze artefacts may be Britain's first Crown Jewels.
Britain's greatest treasures from the mysterious golden Age of Stonehenge are to go on permanent display for the first time ever.
This will be the largest collection of Early Bronze Age gold ever put on public display.


Amongst the ancient Stonehenge era treasures
placed on permanent display for the first time, are a
beautifully decorated gold lozenge
They will be displayed in the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, 15 miles north of Stonehenge, is exhibiting 500 Stonehenge period objects, including 30 pieces of gold treasure which have rarely been seen by the public before

Amongst the ancient Stonehenge era treasures placed on permanent display for the first time, are  a beautifully decorated gold lozenge, and a magnificent bronze dagger with a gold-covered haft.
There is also a golden sheath for a dagger, a ceremonial axe, gold beads, necklaces, ear-rings, pendants and other items of gold jewellery, a unique jet disc (used to fasten a luxury garment), rare traces of ancient textiles and two of the finest prehistoric flint arrow head ever found.
David Dawson, Director of the Wiltshire Museum, said: 'Stonehenge is an iconic monument – but this is the first time that such a wide range of high status objects from the spectacular burials of the people who used it, has ever been put on permanent display.'

The new facility not only features treasures from the Age of Stonehenge, but also recreates some of the key places they were unearthed.
Archaeologists have recreated the famous Bush Barrow burial, where a Bronze Age chieftain was buried in regal splendour overlooking Stonehenge itself. 
The museum hopes that the new display will help attract substantial numbers of additional tourists to Devizes, generating jobs in the local community.

The new facility, consisting of four new galleries – form the centre-piece of the relaunched Wiltshire Museum.  The museum is run by the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, an independent charity founded 160 years ago. It now has 1,000 members.
The large specially-designed new high security and humidity-controlled exhibition facility, constructed inside the museum, cost £750,000 to build, with funding coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, Wiltshire Council, the North Wessex Downs Area of Natural Beauty and other sources.
Read the full article (by By Anna Edwards) and spectacular pictures in the Daily Mail

Stonehenge Tour Guide



Thursday, 10 October 2013

Have your say on future of Stonehenge

PEOPLE are being invited to have their say on plans to protect and enhance Stonehenge for the future.
The World Heritage Site is managed by a partnership of public bodies, landowners and residents who meet regularly to discuss the Stonehenge World Heritage Site Management Plan.
The plan sets out the main issues for the site and actions to protect and enhance its “outstanding universal value”.
The last management plan was produced in 2009, when it coincided with a complete review of the location of the Stonehenge visitor centre, scheduled to open later this year.

A number of drop-in sessions are being held for people to discuss the plans: at Durrington Library on October 23 from 2pm to 5pm; The Bowman Centre, Amesbury, on October 24 from 12noon to 3pm; Amesbury Library on October 24 from 4pm to 7pm; Shrewton Recreation Hall on October 29 from 10am to 1pm; and Salisbury Library on October 29 from 4pm to 7pm.

* A DRUID leader is calling for protests over ancient human remains being displayed at the new Stonehenge visitor centre when it opens in December.
King Arthur Pendragon is organising a protest outside Salisbury Library on October 29, as well as at the grand opening of the visitor centre on December 18.
Earlier this year, King Arthur failed in a legal battle to get ancient remains he calls The Guardians re-interred at Stonehenge.
“Since The Guardians were removed from Stonehenge in 2008 for analysis, we have mounted a campaign to raise awareness and gathered many signatures of support, calling for their return and re-interment at Stonehenge which we believe was and should have remained their final resting place,” he said.
By Hannah White : Salisbury Journal. http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/10727100.Have_your_say_on_future_of_Stonehenge/

Stpnehenge Tour Guide

Monday, 30 September 2013

Stonehenge prepares to open visitor centre after decades of rows and delays

Construction of museum, cafe and shop 1.5 miles from stones follows series of scrapped plans and missed deadlines
 
On 18 December, a mere 24 years after the parliamentary public accounts committee denounced the visitor facilities at one of the world's most famous ancient monuments as "a national disgrace", and 85 years after the idea was first mooted, a new £27m visitor centre will open at Stonehenge.
The English Heritage chief executive,
Simon Thurley, outside the soon-to-be-completed
Stonehenge visitor centre. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
For the first time there will be a museum-quality gallery interpreting the site and displaying original finds, as well as a cafe and shop. There was a distinct air of incredulity among many of the English Heritage staff, bruised and battered survivors of decades of debate, funding rows, public inquiries and planning consultations, sites identified and then abandoned, grandiose plans announced and promptly cancelled, landmark dates including the millennium and the Olympics missed, even as they stood in hard hats and hi-vis jackets in the shadow of the almost completed building.
"We've looked at this building so many times as a computer drawing, it still feels a bit like being in a computer drawing now," the chief executive, Simon Thurley, said.
On a grey morning the new building, to the west and out of sight of the stones, designed by the London office of the Australian firm Denton Corker Marshall, is elegant if very grey – "certainly not a Fred Flintstone imitation Stonehenge", Thurley said. An undulating lightweight roof is supported by 211 narrow steel columns, sheltering a glass box holding the cafe and shop, and a chestnut timber-covered box holding the displays. The exhibition will include a 360-degree projection based on minutely detailed laser scans of the stones, and original finds on loan from the museums at Salisbury and Devizes. The opening exhibition will include Bronze Age gold, among the greatest treasures of the Devizes museum.

Visitors will buy tickets or, English Heritage hopes, book them online in advance, visit the exhibition explaining the site as well as the centuries of argument and excavation that have managed to comprehend it, and also a recreated Neolithic village – which, unlike the modern steel and glass, can't be built yet until the season is right for cutting thousands of hazel rods.

The visitors will then clamber into a less gaudy cousin of those land trains that trundle along many seafronts, three small wagons towed by a Land Rover, and be driven the 1.5 miles to the stones along the old A344, which will be closed to all other traffic. The other end of the road has already been closed, and is being dug up and turfed over where it used to pass within yards of the edge of the stones. The vehicle will pause at the top of the hill giving the first sight of the monument, allowing anyone who wants to to walk the rest of the way, before dropping the others a short walk from the stones.
There may be some disappointment that the romantic vision in artists' impressions of earlier attempts to resolve the site, with happy tourists strolling among the stones with sheep nibbling acres of unfenced turf downland, will not be realised. The stones will be still be fenced off – though Thurley promised "something much less aggressive" than the previous industrial chainlink – and visitors will still be barred from entering the circle, except on specially booked groups.
"If we let millions of people in to trample the grass, in a confined space which still contains archaeological material, it would soon become a muddy quagmire," Thurley said.
There will also be many vehicles trundling along the road. The site already gets almost a million visitors a year, and that is expected to rise. At peak times they hope to transport 850 people an hour, at 60 to each transporter.
Thurley said the new building "sits very lightly in the landscape".
"This is a completely reversible building – if it's ever necessary, it can all be taken up and taken away, leaving the site to revert to the chalk of Salisbury Plain."
The mere thought of demolishing the building is enough to make his colleagues shudder. The centre is the third design, and the second by the present architects. Their original plan, part of an £87m project to be located east of the stones, was abandoned in 2007 when the government ditched the promise to bury the A303 road in a tunnel under the site, on cost grounds.
Even the present, much more modest scheme was only rescued by the Heritage Lottery Fund when one of the first actions of the coalition government was to scrap a promised £10m grant.
The A303, a main artery towards the south-west, still roars past the site, with traffic regularly slowing to a crawl where it narrows to two lanes.

Thurley promised that the fight is not over. "This is definitively not it. The absolutely crucial thing is to close the A303, and English Heritage will continue to argue this with all its strength. It is absolutely imperative that the road goes, and the stones are returned to the tranquillity of the chalk downland in which it was built."
Surprisingly, at the site there was some affection for the present huddle of huts. The people crouched against the misty chill over paper cups of tea included business travellers and dog walkers, used to stopping off in the free car park for a break, and a free if grim loo, with the stones as a spectacular backdrop.

"Looks bloody expensive. How much is it going to cost?" one man snarled, squinting at the photograph of the new centre.
His suspicions may be justified. The present car park and buildings will be bulldozed when the new centre opens, and although there will be free access to the smart new cafe, the car park will charge. The full admission price will not be announced until advance booking opens in early December, but it will be more than the present £8 adult ticket.
"Whatever it costs, it will be very good value," the Stonehenge director, Loraine Knowles, said.

Stonehenge timeline

8500 to 7000BC: pits from timber posts mark the earliest human constructions on the site.
3100BC: a circle of earth banks and ditches is made.
2500 to 2300BC: rearrangements of huge sarsen stones from Salisbury plain, and smaller bluestones from the Preseli hills in Wales. An outer circle of uprights and lintels gives the monument its world-famous profile.
1968: a "temporary" visitor centre opens.
1986: Stonehenge is declared a Unesco world heritage site.
1989: the parliamentary public accounts committee condemns the visitor facilities and interpretation at Stonehenge as "a national disgrace".
1992: Edward Cullinan Architects wins a design competition for a new visitor centre on army land at Larkhill, north of the stones.
1995: a Highways Agency planning conference recommends a 2.5-mile bored tunnel to bury the A303 under the site.
1996: an £83m scheme is announced to restore a grassland setting for the stones and a new visitor centre – to open in time for the millennium.
2001: new plans are made for a £65m Australian-designed Denton Corker Marshall visitor centre, east of the stones at Countess roundabout.
2007: the Labour government scraps the £540m road tunnel under Stonehenge on cost grounds, and English Heritage scraps the visitor centre.
2008: Lord Bruce-Lockhart, chair of English Heritage, says "it is inconceivable that the inadequacies of the site should be allowed to continue any longer".
2010: a new £27m design by Denton Corker Marshall wins planning permission – to open in time for the 2012 London Olympics.
June 2010: the coalition scraps a £10m grant for the new visitor centre. The Heritage Lottery Fund gives £10m.
June 2013: the A344 closes where it passes within yards of the stones.
18 December 2013: a £27m visitor centre is to open at Airman's Corner, 1.5 miles west of the stones

: theguardian.com
          

  • Stonehenge Tourist Guide.
  • Friday, 27 September 2013

    A Year at Stonehenge - A Book Review

    The new collection of photographs called A Year at Stonehenge is well worth a closer look than you might at first think: no, you have not seen enough photos of Stonehenge yet.

    The large format book from Frances Lincoln Ltd. combines an eyes-wide-open look at one of the most

    A Year at Stonehenge - Cover Image Courtesy Aurum Press


    famous monuments in the world from Stonehenge archaeologist Mike Pitts, with the finely detailed architectural photographs of James O. Davies. The combination is a vivid reminder of the physical peculiarities of a monument so much of us think we already know.

    Link: http://archaeology.about.com/b/2013/09/27/a-year-at-stonehenge-a-book-review.htm
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/askangus/2013/09/book-review-a-year-at-stonehenge/

    Stonehenge Tour Guide

    Friday, 13 September 2013

    Expert casts light on Stonehenge mystery

    Revellers gather at the World Heritage site at Stonehenge in
    Wiltshire to watch the sunrise during the summer solstice,
    marking the longest day of the year
    Revellers gather at the World Heritage site at Stonehenge in Wiltshire to watch the sunrise during the summer solstice, marking the longest day of the year

    
    The thousands of people attending the summer solstice at Stonehenge this year – and for the past 13 years – might have got it completely wrong, for experts have revealed that the ancient monument just happens to align with the solstice sunrise.
    Instead, the stones were built to align with an Ice Age landform, a series of naturally occurring fissures cut into ridges in the landscape – and it’s pure coincidence these align with the midwinter sunset in the south west and the midsummer sunrise in the north east.
    That is the latest expert view from a lengthy project to discover as much as possible about Stonehenge, led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson, who has had the first chance in more than a century to have a dig around under the A344, one of the two major A-roads that surround the stones.
    The road was closed earlier this year, and will ultimately be grassed over, but its Tarmac ran over the path of The Avenue, the ancient pathway that once led to the stones from a nearby river and places where Stonehenge’s users are thought to have lived.

    When they dug up the road, they discovered The Avenue is half-natural.
    “This natural landform happens to be on the solstice axis, which brings heaven and earth into one,” said Prof Parker Pearson. “So the reason that Stonehenge is all about the solstices, we think, is because they actually saw this in the land.
    “It’s hugely significant because it tells us a lot about why Stonehenge was located where it is and why they were so interested in the solstices. It’s not to do with worshipping the sun, some kind of calendar or astronomical observatory; it’s about how this place was special to prehistoric people,” he said.
    As well as being allowed to scrape away the layers of history under the newly-closed road, the dry and hot summer of 2013 has also helped to yield new information – thanks to a short hose.
    English Heritage keep the grass around the stones well-watered to maintain the lush greenery, but the hose doesn’t reach one corner where the grass turned brown like much of the West this summer.
    In the brown patch, two members of staff spotted discoloured areas of grass – or parchmarks – which are the tell-tale sign that mighty stones once stood there.
    That means experts are now convinced – even though the presence of stones there once was not picked up on the high-tech surveying equipment over the years – that the outer sarsen circle would have been a complete circle.

    “The problem is we’ve not had a decent dry summer in years,” said Prof Parker Pearson. “Stonehenge is regularly watered, and these have shown up only because the hose was too short.”

    Stonehenge theories
    Local legend had Stonehenge built by Merlin, who brought the bluestones from Wales. For many years, it was assumed the stones’ alignment with the sunrise on the summer solstice meant its purpose was for sun worship. More practically, a follow-up theory had Stonehenge built as a huge and elaborate astronomical clock. One book claimed it was the landing marker for aliens.

    Stonehenge Guide

    Sunday, 1 September 2013

    Neolithic skull fragment discovered on banks of Avon from around the time Stonehenge was built.

    Archaeologists say 'exceptional' find by dog walker near Pershore, Worcestershire, raises more questions than answers.

    Part of a 5,000-year-old skull found on the banks of the Avon.
    Archaeologist says that where the fragment was found
    was unlikely to be where it was buried.
    Photograph: Richard Vernalls/PA
    A 5,000-year-old mystery has been sparked after part of a human skull was found on a riverbank. Archaeologists said the unbroken piece of upper skull was in "fabulous" condition with the intricate marks from the blood vessels still visible on the inner surface.
    There are suggestions it may have belonged to a middle-aged woman from the neolithic period – around the time Stonehenge was built. The skull is also prompting questions about where it may have come from.
    A dog walker stumbled across the fragment, which measures 15cm by 10cm (6in by 4in), this year but initially thought it was part of a ball or a coconut shell. The next day he returned to the site on the banks of the Avon near Pershore, Worcestershire, for a closer look and, realising what it was, called police.
    West Mercia police contacted experts at Worcestershire Archaeology, who sent the skull to be radiocarbon dated.
    "When I first saw the skull, I thought it may have been Anglo-Saxon or Roman but I knew that it was not recent due to the colour," said Nick Daffern, senior archaeologist. "But we were all surprised when the radiocarbon dating put it at between 3,338 BC and 3,035 BC, or about the middle neolithic period.
    "It is so well preserved, it is unthinkable that this had been in the river for any length of time which begs the question as to where it has come from.
    "We know of Roman, Saxon and medieval burials along the river, but this is very rare – it is an exceptional find. "
    He added: "I don't think it was found where the remains were buried. I think we've got a riverside burial and then flooding has brought this down the river. Finding that burial site though would be like finding a needle in a haystack."
    Daffern said that without the rest of the skeleton it was difficult to draw conclusions about the person found, and certainly there is no clue as to how they met their death.
    "Myself and a forensic anthropologist believe it is a woman due to the slightness of the skull and the lack of any brow ridges although our conclusions are very tentative because we're dealing only with the top of a skull," he said.
    "There's no trauma to the bone, and where it has broken those are natural breaks, nor is there any sign of disease so we've no idea as to cause of death.
    "The natural fusion of the bone in the skull leads me to believe it may be an older woman, possibly in her 50s, but that is very tentative again. Unfortunately, it remains a bit of a mystery."
    The find is a few miles from Bredon hill, which has been a scene of human activity down the ages and still boasts the earthen ramparts of an iron age hill fort. However, finds of neolithic remains are rare.
    "Whenever we come across neolithic remains, there seems to be a solid dividing line between where they buried their dead and where they lived, and that is no accident," he said. "But it is frustrating as an archaeologist because although we have the physical evidence, we still don't have the answers as to why."
    The skull is only the second set of neolithic remains to be found in the county, although two large 6,000-year-old "halls of the dead" were found in nearby Herefordshire this year but without any human remains present.

    Article from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/aug/30/neolithic-skull-fragment-avon-river-pershore
    Stonehenge Tourist Guide

    Tuesday, 6 August 2013

    Stonehenge bones exhibit druid's legal bid

    A public body has been served legal papers by a druid who wants to prevent it putting human remains on display at Stonehenge.

    King Arthur Pendragon has criticised English Heritage for the "macabre manner" it plans to display "ancestral remains" at a new visitor centre.
    In May, King Arthur Pendragon lost a
    separate legal bid to have bones, found in 2008, reburied

    English Heritage said: "Museum visitors are comfortable with, and often expect to see, human remains."

    In May, he lost a separate legal bid to have bones, found in 2008, reburied.

    Mr Pendragon wants fake, rather than real, human remains to be used and is seeking a court and interim order to prevent English Heritage from putting the bones on display.

    The £27m scheme to build a new visitor centre and close the road alongside the ancient monument is due to be completed by the end of the year.

    Mr Pendragon said: "Proceedings are sought in the Royal Courts of Justice to prohibit the exhibition of skeleton and cremated human remains taken from the environs of Stonehenge by English Heritage in their new visitors centre, due to open later this year."
    Royal line
    In a previous statement, English Heritage said: "The remains of three human burials found in the landscape will be displayed with ample explanation along with archaeological objects, providing visitors with a direct connection to the people who lived and worked there."

    In an earlier legal bid, Mr Pendragon claimed the cremated remains of more than 40 bodies, thought to be at least 5,000 years old and which were removed from a burial site at Stonehenge in 2008, were the remains of members of the royal line and he wanted them re-interred.

    He lost a High Court bid to have those bones reburied in 2011 and permission to take the case to a full judicial review was refused in May.

    English Heritage said the remains it plans to display are not from the 2008 excavation and their "presentation, treatment and storage" would follow strict UK guidelines.

    Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-23545168

    Stonehenge Tour Guide

    Monday, 29 July 2013

    Thursday, 4 July 2013

    National Trust Stonehenge Landscape Events - Summer 2013


    Ancient ceremonial landscape of great archaeological and wildlife interest

    Within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, the National Trust manages 827 hectares (2,100 acres) of downland surrounding the famous stone circle.
    Walking across the grassland, visitors can discover other prehistoric monuments, including the Avenue and King Barrow Ridge with its Bronze Age burial mounds.
    Nearby, Winterbourne Stoke Barrows is another fascinating example of a prehistoric cemetery. While Durrington Walls hides the remains of a Neolithic village.
    The best approach to the famous stone circle is across Normanton Down, a round barrow cemetery dates from around 2600 to 1600BC. Must be booked in advance
     
    Wings over Stonehenge
     
    Stonehenge Landscape
    Dates: 4 dates between 17 July 2013 and 19 October 2013

    Price: Adult £5, Child £0 (under 16)

    Walk in the slipstream of the early pioneer military aviators at Larkhill. See where the Bristol Boxkite made its first flight in 1910 and

    where the first British military aeroplane unit was formed in 1911. These walks will cover how aviation developed on Lark Hill from

    1909-1914 and how military aviation 'took off'around Stonehenge from 1914-1918. These walks aim to recreate the period with

    contemporary photographs and maps and include viewing the early hangars and crash sites.

    Booking Essential

    Summer archaeology walk
    Stonehenge Landscape
     
    Dates: 5 dates between 6 July 2013 and 31 August 2013

    Price: Adult £5, Child £0 (under 16)

    Explore the downs in summer with an afternoon walk up on the downs to visit the ancient archaeology and varied wildlife of the

    Stonehenge World Heritage Site. On this three mile walk with views of the Stone Circle, we'll visit ancient earthworks that have

    revealed much about the people who once lived and celebrated here. Talking points include the Cursus, the many and varied barrows,

    an ancient avenue connecting ceremonial centres, and a rich diversity of wildlife.

    Booking Essential

    Autumn archaeology walk
    Stonehenge Landscape
    Dates: 5 dates between 14 September 2013 and 9 November 2013

    Price: Adult £5, Child £0 (under 16)

    Explore the downs in autumn with an afternoon walk up on the downs to visit the ancient archaeology and varied wildlife of the

    Stonehenge World Heritage Site. On this three mile walk with views of the Stone Circle, we'll visit ancient earthworks that have

    revealed much about the people who once lived and celebrated here. Talking points include the Cursus, the many and varied barrows,

    an ancient avenue connecting ceremonial centres, and a rich diversity of wildlife.

    Booking Essential

    Geocaching - give it a go!
     
     
    Stonehenge Landscape
     
     
    Dates: 15 August 2013 2:00pm and 1 November 2013 2:00pm

    Price: All Tickets £3

    Never tried geocaching before? You're missing out on the fun! Try your hand at treasure hunting - we'll lend you a GPS device for the

    afternoon. Geocaching is about finding 'caches' that have been hidden by other 'geocachers' - some, like ours, include small toys and

    trinkets. Bring something with you to swap for something from a cache!

    Booking Essential

    Really wild bug hunt
    Stonehenge Landscape
    Dates: 9 August 2013, 10 August 2013 and 11 August 2013

    Price: Child £3 (under 16)

    Come with us on a walk through the Stonehenge landscape for a hunt in Seven Barrows Field. Farmed for crops not so long ago, the

    field is now chalk grassland - and full of minibeasts! Hunt for bugs and find out about the amazing lives they lead.

    Booking Essential
     
     
     
     
    Walkies around Stonehenge
    Stonehenge Landscape
    Dates: 7 September 2013, 5 October 2013 and 30 October 2013

    Price: Adult £5

    Bring your four legged friends with you for a ramble around the Stonehenge landscape. Find out about the people who built these

    ancient monuments, and the wildlife that can be found here today.

    Booking Essential

    Go wild! with 50 Things
    Stonehenge Landscape
    Dates: 7 dates between 31 July 2013 and 4 November 2013

    Price: Adult £0, Child £4 (under 16)

    Get stuck in and active with the National Trust's 50 Things challenge - bug hunting, kite flying, tree climbing and birdwatching are just

    some of the activities to tick off your list today!

    Booking Essential

    Durrington Walls to Stonehenge... and back again!
    Stonehenge Landscape
    Dates: 22 September 2013 10:30am

    Price: Adult £7.50, Child £0 (under 16)

    Explore the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and especially the close connections between the two great henge monuments of

    Durrington Walls and Stonehenge. Your guide will take you on a circuit of around 6 miles over the downs, also exploring some of the

    less visited monuments that together form the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

    Booking Essential

    Wildlife wonders of Stonehenge
    Stonehenge Landscape
    Dates: 20 July 2013 8:00am and 8 September 2013 10:00am

    Price: Adult £6.50 (includes hot drink and cake), Child £0 (under 16)

    Join the RSPB's experts to explore the ancient wonder and summer wildlife of King Barrow Ridge, on a family friendly walk of around

    two miles.

    Booking Essential

    Stargazing and storytelling, meteors and myths
    Stonehenge Landscape
    Dates: 10 August 2013 8:30pm

    Price: Adult £8, Child £3 (under 16)

    Join our friendly team of astronomers for an adventure exploring the night sky with telescopes, alongside legends told by our own

    starry storyteller, activities, and toasting marshmallows. As well as learning about the constellations, we hope the season's meteor

    shower will be putting on a show! Telescopes and expertise are provided by Chipping Norton Amateur Astronomy Group, storytelling

    with Lizzie Bryant.

    Booking Essential

    Hidden history: Nelson and the Nile Clumps
    Stonehenge Landscape
    Dates: 1 August 2013 10:30am

    Price: Adult £5, Child £0 (under 16)

    On the 216th anniversary of the Battle of the Nile, explore the downs to discover some surprising hidden histories. This circular walk

    around the archaeologically rich downs with views of the Stone Circle offers a rare chance to see the Nile Clumps up close along the

    way. These fine clumps of beech trees are said to commemorate Nelson's greatest victory.

    Booking Essential



     
     
     
    Hidden history: Stonehenge barrows
    Stonehenge Landscape
    Dates: 8 September 2013 2:00pm and 20 October 2013 10:30am

    Price: Adult £2, Child £0 (under 16)

    Find out about some of the Bronze Age people whose remains lie buried in the barrows around the Stonehenge landscape. This is a

    gentle stroll to the Cursus Barrows and back, of less than a mile overall.

    Booking Essential

    Walk with an archaeologist: Durrington Walls and Stonehenge
    Stonehenge Landscape
    Dates: 23 July 2013 10:00am

    Price: All Tickets £20

    Join Neolithic expert and National Trust archaeologist Dr. Nick Snashall for a day in the Stonehenge landscape to explore the

    relationship between Stonehenge and the great henge of Durrington Walls. We'll be walking around five and a half miles.

    Booking Essential

    Walk with an archaeologist: Ancient ways

    Stonehenge Landscape

    Dates: 26 September 2013 10:00am

    Price: All Tickets £15

    Join Neolithic expert and National Trust archaeologist Dr. Nick Snashall on this half day exploration of the Stonehenge landscape and

    walk in the footsteps of the ancients along the routes of the Great Cursus and the Stonehenge Avenue. Plus, find out about the latest

    exciting discoveries including recent geophysical research. We'll be walking around four miles.

    Booking Essential

    Stonehenge Games
    Stonehenge Landscape
    Dates: 22 August 2013 1:00pm

    Price: Child £3 (under 16)

    Can you win the 100 inch dash, throw a discus, or knock down 'Stonehenge'? Come along and see if you can win gold at our family

    friendly games. There are lots of games to part in for all ages and ability - even parents can join in too! Accompanying adults free.
     

    Stonehenge Tour Guide




     

    Friday, 21 June 2013

    Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2013: 20,000 Celebrate Ahead Of Heritage Site Renovation

    More than 20,000 people have celebrated the summer solstice at Stonehenge ahead of a "historic moment" in the £27 million transformation of the site. The huge gathering of people marked the event in a "positive, friendly atmosphere" as they waited for the sun to come up, but cloudy skies prevented them from basking in a beautiful sunrise.
    summer solstice at stonehenge
    Crowds gather at dawn amongst the stones at Stonehenge in Wiltshire for the Summer SolsticeThis year there have been a lower number of arrests compared with previous years, with 22 taken into custody mainly in relation to drugs offences, police said. Superintendent Matt Pullen from Wiltshire Police said: "Solstice 2013 has been a great success with approximately 21,000 people celebrating in the positive, friendly atmosphere as they waited for sunrise.

    "The weather held but unfortunately the cloud cover was too dense to see the sun come up." He added: "The majority of people respected the conditions of entry and the amnesty bins provided were used. Approximately 70 cannabis street warnings were issued. As with previous years, the passive drugs dogs proved very effective. The success of the event depends largely on the good nature of those attending and we are pleased that people could enjoy solstice in the spirit of the event. Wiltshire Police worked closely with partners and in particular English Heritage to ensure that everyone had a safe and happy solstice."
    A section of the road running alongside the neolithic monument will be permanently closed on Monday June 24 as part of a long-awaited refurbishment of the World Heritage Site. The closure and grassing over of the A344 will reconnect Stonehenge with the landscape, allowing visitors to walk between the stone circle and the prehistoric avenue from which people would have once approached the monument.
    It is part of works which include the creation of a new visitor centre around 1.5 miles away from the monument, with a cafe, shop and museum showing artefacts and exploring theories about Stonehenge, as well as three replica neolithic houses. Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge director at English Heritage, said the closure of the road was "a real milestone in terms of the history of the site".
    summer solstice at stonehenge
    Revellers celebrate ahead of the site's 27m refurbishment

    She said that although Stonehenge never failed to impress visitors, the setting of the stones had marred people's appreciation and enjoyment of the site. English Heritage had wanted to close the road since it was nominated as a World Heritage site and inscribed in 1986, she said. "It really is a historic moment," she added.
    In the first stage, the road immediately adjacent to the stones will be closed, and work will begin to remove tarmac and grass it over. Once the visitor centre currently under construction opens in December, a longer section of the A344 between Stonehenge and the new facilities will be shut to traffic and become the route for visitors walking or travelling by shuttle to the stones.
    The cramped existing car parking and visitor facilities, first built in 1968, next to the monument will be removed and the area returned to grass. Knowles said: "When you are in Stonehenge in the future, when grass is established, you will be able to make the link between the monument and the rest of the heritage landscape to the north, accessing the avenue, the route by which the monument was approached when it was used as a place of great ceremony."
    Closing the road was "absolutely fundamental to all the improvements we're making to the setting of the monument and all the improvements we are making to the visitor experience ", she said. The site gets more than one million visitors a year. Barb and Rick Oddy, from Vancouver, Canada, visiting on a coach tour just before the solstice, agreed that closing the road to link up the landscape was a good thing.
    Oddy said of the monument: "It's amazing. I can't decide which theory I believe and I think it's amazing how they (the stones) got here from Wales." But concerns have been raised that the changes to the site will adversely affect coach tours, which come to Stonehenge as one of a series of destinations, with suggestions operators may bypass the site because of the extra time involved in transferring groups from a more distant visitor centre by shuttle to the monument.
    The busy A303, which runs on the other side of Stonehenge, will remain as plans to put the road into a tunnel proved too expensive. The refurbishment was due to be finished in time for the London Olympics, but was delayed as a result of Government cuts which left English Heritage seeking to fill a £10 million funding gap. It was met by an increased grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other sources.

    PA/Huffington Post UK: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/21/susummer-solstice-at-stonehengemmer-solstice-at-stoneh_n_3476668.html

    Stonehenge Tour Guide

    Monday, 10 June 2013

    English Heritage Prepares For Summer Solstice At Stonehenge

    The English Heritage is preparing for the arrival of thousands of gatherers at Stonehenge for this years Summer Solstice on the 20 - 21st June. Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site in Wiltshire and has been seen as a place of worship and celebration for millennia. Special preparations are underway including changes to visitor opening hours and road closures to ensure public safety and the protection of the site itself.

    Summer Solstice At Stonehenge

    Last year the event proved hugely popular, with druids and pagans flocking to the site despite overcast skies, wind and rain. BBC reporter Will Walder described the experience ''It was wet, misty and muddy but there was an atmosphere that something really special was about to happen. People were whistling and cheering and then falling silent before starting again. Tambourines and drums were being played but then at 4:52 am people were looking from left to right to try to see the sun and had to resort to watches and mobile phones to mark the moment".
    The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and is celebrated by pagans across the world. The Solstice usually falls in the northern hemisphere on the 21st June each year.
    Stonhenge is estimated to have been constructed around 3900 BC. It is believed that the three phases of construction took over 30 million hours of labour to achieve. Speculation for the reason behind its construction varies from human sacrifice to astronomy.

    Link Article: Oxford Royale Academy: http://www.oxford-royale.co.uk/news/2013/06/07/english-heritage-prepares-for-summer-solstice-at-stonehenge.html

    Stonehenge Tour Guide