New Stonehenge sunset alignment theory ‘shown to be correct’

25 06 2015

A new theory that the tallest stone at Stonehenge points towards the midsummer sunset has been observed to be correct, it has been claimed.

Stonehenge steward Tim Daw said his pictures of the midsummer solstice sunset on 20 June 2015 showed how it aligned to the tallest stone

Stonehenge steward Tim Daw said his pictures of the midsummer solstice sunset on 20 June 2015 showed how it aligned to the tallest stone

Earlier this year Tim Daw, a steward at the site, said he had discovered the previously unknown alignment, involving a line of stones at 80 degrees to the axis of the monument.

The theory was tested when the solstice sun set at 21:26 BST on Saturday.

Mr Daw said he was “really thrilled” at the finding.

“It wasn’t the best evening for a sunset picture as a bank of cloud came in at the wrong moment but it was close enough to prove the point,” he added.

“I put forward this theory. I said ‘this stone, the sun will set along its back’ [on] Midsummer. Yes it did.

“[There was] a wonderful sunset last night. We could see the sun going down directly in line with… the back of this stone. It was fantastic.”

Some 23,000 people attended the neolithic site at Stonehenge to watch the sun rise at 04:52 BST, while others gathered at the nearby Avebury stone circle.

The figure was down on the estimated 36,000 who attended last year and the 30,000-40,000 expected this year.

Wiltshire Police said the celebrations were “positive and peaceful”.

Article source: BBC Wiltshire

The Stonehenge News Blog





More than 23,000 see sunrise at Stonehenge during “peaceful and positive” summer solstice

21 06 2015

Solstice celebrations were quieter than expected this year with nowhere near the predicted 40,000 visitors descending on the Stones.

More than 23,000 see sunrise at Stonehenge during "peaceful and positive" summer solstice

More than 23,000 see sunrise at Stonehenge during “peaceful and positive” summer solstice

Police said the night passed in “a positive and peaceful manner” as around 23,000 people turned up to see the sunrise.

Superintendent Gavin Williams, who led the policing operation, said: “Solstice 2015 has been a great success with approximately 23,000 people celebrating at Stonehenge in the positive, friendly atmosphere as they waited for the sunrise.

“This year the crowds were able to see the sun as it appeared over the horizon, before it disappeared under low cloud.

“There have been a lower number of arrests compared with previous years at Stonehenge, nine people were taken into custody mainly in relation to drugs offences.

“We issued 31 cannabis street warnings, issued five cautions for possession of a class A drug and made 43 drugs seizures.

“The majority of people respected the conditions of entry and the amnesty bins provided were used. 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.”

Full story in the Salisbury Journal

The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations. Managed Open Access 2015

2 06 2015

English Heritage is pleased to be providing Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice on 20th – 21st June 2015.  Please help them to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the Conditions of Entry and guidelines set out on these pages. CELEBRATING THE SUMMER SOLSTICE AT STONEHENGE  Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site and has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Summer Solstice since time immemorial.

Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2012

Stonehenge Summer Solstice Sunrise

During Managed Open Access for Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, we support all individuals and groups conducting their own forms of ceremony and celebration providing that they are mutually respectful and tolerant of one another. Stonehenge is a place seen by many as a sacred site – please respect it and those attending. English Heritage continues to work closely with the many agencies and people from all sectors of the community and we would like to thank them for their help and support. Parking and entry to the Monument will be free, subject to the Conditions of Entry. Please do not arrive at the Solstice car park or Stonehenge in advance of the opening times listed below. Please note: As Summer Solstice this year occurs on a Saturday/Sunday, the roads around Stonehenge will be very busy. We strongly advise visitors to leave their cars at home and travel to Stonehenge using public transport.   The nearest train station is Salisbury and there will be a regular bus service from Salisbury to Stonehenge. Please follow @eh_stonehenge on Twitter for travel updates on the night.

Solstice Events UK are offering their usual tours and transport options from London and Bath.  They can be booked here

TIMINGS FOR SUMMER SOLSTICE AT STONEHENGE
  • SOLSTICE CAR PARK OPENS 19.00 hours (7pm) Saturday 20 June
  • ACCESS TO STONEHENGE MONUMENT FIELD19.00 hours (7pm) Saturday 20 June
  • LAST ADMISSION TO SOLSTICE CAR PARK 06.00 hours (6am) Sunday 21 June – or earlier if full
  • STONEHENGE MONUMENT FIELD CLOSES 08.00 hours (8am) Sunday 21 June
  • SOLSTICE CAR PARK TO BE VACATED 12.00 hours (12 Noon) Sunday 21 June

We hope the weather will be kind and wish you a peaceful and celebratory solstice.

SUNSET AND SUNRISE

Sunset and sunrise occur at the following times:

  • Sunset on Saturday 20th June 2015 is at 21.26 hrs (9.26pm)
  • Sunrise on Sunday 21st June 2015 is at 04.52 hrs (4.52am)

Visit the English Heritage Website for full details The Stonehenge News Blog Follow @ST0NEHENGE on twitter for frequent updates





Stargazing in June: From the Stonehenge summer solstice to a cosmic embrace

1 06 2015
Two of our solar system’s most sensational planets will get together for a tryst

Two of our solar system’s most sensational planets will get together for a tryst

Let’s start by winnowing out the mythical chaff from the factual wheat. The Druids didn’t build Stonehenge; they came on the scene about 2,000 years later, and – according to the Roman writer Pliny – they didn’t worship in stone temples but in ‘‘forests of oak’’.

It was only in the 7th century that the antiquarian John Aubrey associated the Druids with Stonehenge. In 1740, a fellow neo-Druid called William Stukeley measured Stonehenge, and realised that its central line pointed ‘‘full northeast, being the point where the sun rises at the summer solstice’’. At that point, the link between Stonehenge, the Druids and the midsummer sunrise was set in tablets of stone.

But hang on. Instead of standing in the centre of the great stone circle and looking outwards, you could equally well place yourself at the Heel Stone and look through the centre of Stonehenge, towards the south-east. That’s the direction where the Sun sets, at midwinter.

In fact, Stukeley’s original account describes this bearing, with ‘‘the principal diameter or groundline of Stonehenge, leading from the entrance up to the middle of the temple to the high altar’’. So why did he choose the opposite direction as being critical to the Druids?

Stukeley was a Freemason. For Masons, the western part of the sky is the direction of death. The north-east is spiritually all-important because it is the point where the Sun rises on the feast of St John (the traditional Christian date for midsummer, on 24 June).

That’s why Stukeley picked out midsummer as the key season for Stonehenge. There’s no reason, though, to believe that our distant ancestors felt the same way. In fact, there are two great monuments in the British Isles which are unambiguous markers for the solstice, because they contain deep passageways that are lit up by Sun only once a year. In the case of Newgrange in Ireland and Maeshowe in Orkney, that date is the winter solstice..

Now archaeologists have provided the clinching evidence that Stonehenge, too, was erected to mark midwinter’s day. Mike Parker Pearson has excavated Durrington Walls, a huge settlement near Stonehenge. Here he’s found the remains of orgiastic feasts: bones of cows and pigs that had been brought vast distances – some from Cornwall, and others from the far north. Clearly, people came from all over the country to hold ceremonies at Stonehenge.

And the bones reveal the season that they travelled. The growth of the pigs’ teeth, and the amount they had worn, showed that they had been slaughtered for the table at the age of nine months. Given that piglets are naturally born in the spring, Parker Pearson is adamant that people were ‘‘feasting on pork at midwinter  most likely around the midwinter solstice’’.

So, if you want to truly celebrate as our ancestors did, don’t go to Wiltshire this month. Instead, go to Stonehenge on 22 December, to view the sun setting behind the giant portals of stone.

What’s Up

This month, two of our solar system’s most sensational planets are about to get together for a tryst. For the whole of spring, luminous giant Jupiter has been lighting up our evening skies. But dazzling Venus – Earth’s twin in size – has been sneaking up in the opposite part of the sky. Our neighbour world, cloaked in a dense atmosphere of carbon dioxide, reflects sunlight amazingly: it is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon.

On 30 June, the two brilliant worlds tangle in a cosmic embrace. Separated by a space less than the diameter of the moon, Jupiter and  Venus will make a stunning sight low in the western sky. Otherwise, the summer constellations are making their appearance. Orange Arcturus, in Boötes, lords it over the night skies. Next to it, the small-but-perfectly-formed Corona Borealis – the Northern Crown – is a beautiful reminder that warmer days are on the way.

What to look out for

1 June: 5.19 pm: full moon

6 June: Venus at greatest eastern elongation

9 June 4.42 pm: moon at last quarter

16 June 3.05 pm: new moon

24 June 12.03 pm: moon at first quarter; Mercury at greatest western elongation

30 June: Venus and Jupiter close conjunction

Read the full story in the Independent. Heather Couper , Nigel Henbest

The Stonehenge News Blog





2015 Stonehenge Summer Solstice News

21 05 2015

Stonehenge will close its normal visitor operation at 1500hrs (3pm) on Saturday 20th June and all day on Sunday 21th June 2015.

Detailed Information
• Last admission to Stonehenge on Saturday 20th June 2015 will be 1300hrs (1pm)
• The Stonehenge Visitor Centre will close at 1500hrs Stonehenge Summer Solstice Sunrise(3pm) and will remain closed for the period of Managed Open Access
• Sunset on Saturday 20th June 2015 is at 2126hrs (9.26pm) and sunrise on Sunday 21st June 2015 is at 0452hrs (4.52am)
• Stonehenge re-opens for normal admissions at 0900hrs (9am) on Monday 22st June 2015
Please note that the Stonehenge coach park will be closed during Managed Open Access for Summer Solstice and we will not be able to accommodate any commercial coaches on site during this time.

English Heriitage Top Tips for Group Visits
• Please remember to call or email with your booking well in advance to secure your preferred time slot
• Please ensure your final numbers are confirmed correctly – no refunds can be made once payment has been received or an invoice raised
• Please arrive at Stonehenge within your designated time slot. If your journey is delayed by more than 30 minutes due to exceptional circumstances, call with a revised arrival time so we can do our best to accommodate you
• If your group wishes to go off separately ensure your tour leader/guide/driver agrees a meeting point and time for the group within your timescales for the visit
• English Heritage offer coach drivers, tour leaders/guides and Blue Badge Guides one complimentary hot drink (excluding luxury hot chocolate) at Stonehenge. This is limited to one coach driver and one tour leader/guide or Blue Badge Guide per group and only available when accompanying groups

For all Stonehenge group bookings and enquiries, contact the exclusive Stonehenge line –
Mon-Fri 09.00-17.00
Tel: + 44 (0) 370 333 0604 (charged at local rates)
Email: stonehenge.traveltrade@english-heritage.org.uk

For all general Travel Trade enquiries, contact the English Heritage Travel Trade Team –
Mon-Fri 09.00-17.00
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7973 3529
Email: traveltrade@english-heritage.org.uk

The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge Riverside Project. A film from the AHRC

16 05 2015

This film from the AHRC is the latest in our specially commissioned series which celebrates the AHRC’s 10th anniversary. This film looks back to the year 2007 and the Stonehenge Riverside Project.

Led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson, the Stonehenge Riverside Project brought together academics from around the globe in one of the largest field archaeology research studies of the 21st Century.

The project set out to further understanding of Stonehenge and neighbouring complex, Durrington Walls. The project looked at the sites in the context of the surrounding landscape, and in doing so several remarkable discoveries were made including a new stone circle dubbed, ‘Bluehenge.’ The discovery catapulted the project to the forefront of the world‘s media and made front page of newspapers all over the world.

Link: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/News-and-Events/Watch-and-Listen/Pages/Stonehenge-Riverside-Project.aspx

The Stonehenge News Blog





Miliband’s megalith

6 05 2015

Originally posted on the urban prehistorian:

It is made of limestone, and takes the form of a monolithic beige block, over 2m in height. It sits on some kind of trolley arrangement, and so is presumably portable. There is writing on the stone, starting with block capitals:

A BETTER PLAN.

A BETTER FUTURE.

Below this are six statements which are aspirational and vacuous at the same time. And below that a squiggly signature and a logo.

For the Labour Party.

For Ed Miliband.

It is election fever.

miliband and his megalith

I am describing Miliband’s megalith, or is has become known in the press, ‘Miliband’s manifesto monolith’, and more widely still, as #EdStone in social media. It is a remarkable standing stone version of the successful ‘pledge card’ that characterised the rise to power of New Labour and Tony Blair in 1997. It was unveiled by Ed Miliband itself, with a group of over-enthusiastic flag-wavers, on Sunday 3rd May…

View original 1,146 more words








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