Bradford researchers help uncover hidden secrets of Stonehenge

12 09 2014

Bradford archaeologists are part of an international research team that has uncovered a host of previously unknown archaeological monuments around Stonehenge in a project that will transform our knowledge of this iconic site.

Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath, can be seen on BBC iPlaver here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04hc5v7/operation-stonehenge-what-lies-beneath-episode-1

Results from the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project are unveiled today at the Stonehenge_new_monumentsBritish Science Festival in Birmingham. They show how, using new remote sensing techniques and geophysical surveys, the team has uncovered 17 previously unknown ritual monuments around the site, along with dozens of burial mounds – all of which have been mapped in minute detail.

Researchers at the University of Bradford are partners in the project, which is led by the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, in Austria.

Alongside previously unknown features, the team has also uncovered new information on other monuments, including the Durrington Walls ‘super henge’, a vast ritual monument of more than 1.5 kilometers in circumference which is situated a short distance from Stonehenge.

Hundreds of burial mounds, and settlements from the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman period have also been surveyed at a level of detail never previously seen. Taken together, the results show how new technology is reshaping how archaeologists understand the landscape of Stonehenge and its development over a period of more than 11,000 years.

Dr Chris Gaffney, Head of Archaeological Sciences at Bradford, says: “The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes project is the pinnacle of a recent trend to apply new and rapid technologies to collect accurate non-invasive data for mapping our buried heritage.

“In many respects, the Stonehenge project goes far beyond any other project – both in the complexity of the data sets generated but also in the immense impact it will have on our understanding of Britain’s greatest and best-known archaeological site.

He adds: “Archaeology studies the past, but, in the application of remote sensing at this scale, the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project demonstrates how future researchers will investigate our archaeological heritage. Increasingly, the investigation and understanding of iconic sites across the globe will be enhanced by rapidly mapping the larger-scale environment that they have come to dominate.”

British project leader Professor Vincent Gaffney, Chair in Landscape Archaeology and Geomatics at the University of Birmingham, and Chris Gaffney’s brother, said:

“This project has revealed that the area around Stonehenge is teeming with previously unseen archaeology and that the application of new technology can transform how archaeologists and the wider public understand one of the best-studied landscapes on Earth.

“New monuments have been revealed, as well as new types of monument that have previously never been seen by archaeologists. All of this information has been placed within a single digital map, which will guide how Stonehenge and its landscape are studied in the future.

“Stonehenge may never be the same again.”

The results of the project will be featured in a major new BBC Two series, Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath, is due to be broadcast at 8pm on Thursday 11 September.

Full article: http://www.bradford.ac.uk/life-sciences/news-and-events/news/bradford-researchers-help-uncover-hidden-secrets-of-stonehenge.php

The Stonehenge News Blog





Among the Ancient Stones, Magic as Potent as Ever

10 09 2014

stonehengenews:

Great article Stonehenge Guided Tours. Have you published your 2015 Stonehenge access dates yet?

Originally posted on Stonehenge Travel Company:

WILTSHIRE DOWNS, England — Standing at the center of the Stone Circle of Stonehenge in the moments before dawn, lulled by low-hanging rain clouds, I am, for a while, unable to understand why so many pilgrimages have been made here.

Stonehenge SunriseSure, the setting is attractively pastoral, with gently rolling fields and dark patches of trees on distant hills. But the vista verges on the ordinary. I can even make out the line of a highway not far off, cutting across the meadows, commuters’ headlights poking through the mist. In the half-light, the surrounding stones seem almost familiar and scarcely mysterious.

Is this really the place that Thomas Hardy called “a very Temple of the Winds,” describing it “rising sheer from the grass,” its stones seeming to hum with sound? Did Christopher Wren, the great architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, really think so much of Stonehenge that he left…

View original 1,028 more words





US President Barack Obama visits Stonehenge.

7 09 2014

US President Barack Obama paid a visit to Stonehenge on his return home from the Nato summit in Newport.

The White House said the presidential helicopter Marine One stopped at Boscombe Down Airbase, Wiltshire, before his motorcade drove to the ancient monument.

The president was then given a guided tour by curator Heather Sebire.

English Heritage, which manages the site, said it was “an honour” to host the president.

General manager of Stonehenge, Kate Davies, said: “His office told us the president was very interested to see the iconic monument for himself.

“Every day people from all over the world make the trip to the ancient stones but this visit was a particularly special one.”

Ms Sebire said Mr Obama “was fascinated by the story of the stones, what we know about them and the mysteries that have yet to be solved”.

we know about them and the mysteries that have yet to be solved”.

President Obama at Stonehenge
The president ented that he had “knocked this off my bucket list”
 

She went on: “He described the atmosphere around the stones as ‘really special’ and his visit to Stonehenge as ‘a highlight of my tour’.

“It was a beautiful still evening and it was a privilege to show the US president around this unique monument which continues to inspire and intrigue people.”

Mr Obama described seeing the monument as “cool” and said it was something he could tick off his “bucket list”.

He also chatted briefly to a local family and posed for photos.

Janice Raffle, who lives near Stonehenge, had come down to the monument with her husband and three sons after hearing Mr Obama was there.

She said: “We had a brief tete a tete across the barbed wire.

“He was really a sweetie. He asked all our names and he was commenting on the fresh air and the beautiful countryside.

“He also said that I was quite outnumbered because I have three little boys as well as my husband and there was a bit of banter between the boys saying boys are best and he said well I don’t know if I agree with that.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-29083959

mote International coverage on this story:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/09/06/barack-obama-stonehenge-family-pictures_n_5776386.html
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/sep/05/after-nato-obama-visits-stonehenge/
http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/story/2014-09-05/barack-obama-stops-off-for-visit-to-stonehenge/
http://www.spirefm.co.uk/news/local-news/1388552/president-barack-obama-visits-stonehenge/
http://www.chron.com/news/article/After-NATO-Obama-visits-Stonehenge-5736351.php
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2745437/Knocked-bucket-list-Obama-makes-surprise-visit-Stonehenge-following-NATO-meeting-poses-grinning-family-walk.html
http://www.lbc.co.uk/familys-incredible-obama-stonehenge-surprise-96608

The Stonehenge News Blog





Moving on from Stonehenge: Researchers make the case for archaeoastronomy

16 08 2014

The field of archaeoastronomy is evolving say researchers seeking a closer relationship between astronomy and merging of astronomical techniques and archaeology.

Summer Solstice Sunrise over Stonehenge 2005. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Summer Solstice Sunrise over Stonehenge 2005. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The merging of astronomical techniques with the archaeological study of ancient man-made features in the landscape could prove Neolithic and Bronze Age people were acute astronomical observers, according to researchers. 

Dubbed archaeoastronomy, the developing and sometimes maligned field takes a multi-disciplinary approach to exploring a range of theories about the astronomical alignment of standing stones and megalithic structures.

Some of these theories were highlighted recently at the 2014 National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth.

Archaeoastronomy expert Dr Fabio Silva of University College London has been studying 6000-year-old winter occupation sites and megalithic structures in the Mondego valley in central Portugal.

He said recent research shows that all the entrance corridors of passage graves in a necropolis in the valley aligned “with the seasonal rising over nearby mountains of the star Aldebaran, the brightest star of Taurus”.

Dr Silva believes this link between the appearance of the star in springtime and the mountains where the dolmen builders would have spent their summers “has echoes in local folklore” which recounts how the Serra da Estrela or ‘Mountain Range of the Star’ received its name from a shepherd and his dog following a star.

Some of the most debated claims about archeological alignment continue to be those relating to Stonehenge, which remains subject to a range of theories about solar and lunar alignments. Some archaeoastronomers are however keen to move the debate beyond the famous standing stones of Salisbury Plain.

Dr Daniel Brown of Nottingham Trent University, who presented updates on his work on the 4000-year-old Gardom’s Edge in the UK’s Peak District, which he believes to be astronomically aligned, said: “there’s more to archaeoastronomy than Stonehenge.

“Modern archaeoastronomy encompasses many other research areas such as anthropology, ethnoastronomy and even educational research.”

“It has stepped away from its speculative beginnings and placed itself solidly onto the foundation of statistical methods,” he added.

“However, this pure scientific approach has its own challenges that need to be overcome by embracing humanistic influences and putting the research into context with local cultures and landscape.”

Dr Silva, who is co-editor of the Journal for Skyscape Archaeology, which promotes the role and importance of the sky in archaeological interpretation, added: “We have much to gain if the fields of astronomy and archaeology come together to a fuller and more balanced understanding of European megaliths and the societies that built them.”

Article source: http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/art495449 (By Richard Moss)

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog

 





Wessex Gallery of Archaeology Grand Opening Activity Day.

12 07 2014

To mark the opening of the new Wessex Gallery of Archaeology by celebrity anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts, the Salisbury Museum is hosting an admission-free day of action-packed interactive events, exciting living history displays and demonstrations on Saturday, 12th July in The Close, Salisbury.

 BBC Time Team and Coast presenter Professor Alice Roberts

BBC Time Team and Coast presenter Professor Alice Roberts

Have a go at flint knapping, reconstructing a prehistoric face, carving a Stone Age chalk animal or the learning the ancient art of coppicing, wool-dyeing and pottery-making.

Facial reconstruction and chalk carving
Along with a free view of the new Wessex Gallery, members of the public will have the opportunity to see amazing Norman falconry displays; try on beautiful Norman dresses, or get suited and booted in a knight’s hefty chainmail armour complete with sword. There will also be ancient coppicing, stone masonry, pottery-making and wool dyeing demonstrations as well as a chance for people to try their hand at reconstructing a prehistoric face, carve a Stone Age chalk animal and experience an Anglo Saxon burial ritual.
With more than 2,500 rare and exciting pieces on show, the Gallery provides a fascinating look at early Britain.
“The Grand Opening of our new Wessex Gallery is going to be a fantastic all-day event with lots of exciting activities to see and do for all age groups,” says Adrian Green, Salisbury Museum director. “It’s also a great opportunity for people to see our amazing new Wessex Gallery which brings the prehistory and history of Stonehenge and Wessex to life. It’s one of the best displays and collections of its kind in the world with more than 2,000 rare and fascinating artefacts which tell the story of Stonehenge and early Britain from the mathematical genius of the ancient Britons to the transformational Roman and Norman invasions.”
The new gallery replaces the old Stonehenge, Pitt-Rivers and Early Man galleries and was funded with a grant of nearly £1.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Wessex Gallery Grand Opening is on Saturday, 12 July from 10am to 4pm at Salisbury Museum, The King’s House, 65 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EN. For further visitor information ring 01722 332151 or visit: www.salisburymuseum.org.uk
Admission is free on the opening day.

Merlin @ Stonehenge
Stonehenge News Blog

Run by: Salisbury Museum





1000’s flock to Stonehenge for Solstice Sunrise

21 06 2014

THOUSANDS of druids, revellers, tourists and families stood side by side to welcome the sunrise at Stonehenge this morning.

Stonehenge Solstice Sunrise

 

The longest day falling on a weekend and the clear sky drew a crowd of about 36,000, 15,000 more than last year, to the Summer Solstice at the ancient monument.

While party-goers banged drums and cheered in the stone circle, the Loyal Arthurian War Band druids performed their spiritual ceremony by the Heel Stone.

People come from all over the world to be a part of the celebrations at Stonehenge and the bumper crowd were treated to one of the best sunrises at the monument in years.

This year’s mood seemed more subdued than previous and Wiltshire Police said 25 arrests were made at Stonehenge and two at Avebury, which were mainly for drug related offences.

Superintendent Gavin Williams said: “We are please the Solstice celebrations have been enjoyable events for the majority of people attending. The road system worked well and many people used the public transport as we advised.

“Every year there are new challenges for us at Solstice but it is always a pleasure to see so many people enjoying the event.”





Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations 2014: Web Links and Information

19 06 2014

English Heritage are pleased to be providing Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice on 20-21 June solstivce-stone
2014.

Please help us to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the Conditions of Entry and guidelines set out on these pages.

“It is a place seen by many as a sacred site – therefore please respect it and those attending. “

 

You can follow @eh_stonehenge on Twitter for travel updates on the night.

You can also follow @ST0NEHENGE on Twitter for Stonehenge pics and info

Tweet us your Stonehenge Summer Solstice pics using the hashtag #henge

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

USEFUL LINKS:

ENGLISH HERITAGE WEBSITE

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY:

DIRECTIONS TO STONEHENGE

TRAVELLING TO STONEHENGE SUMMER SOLSTICE:

ON-SITE FACILITIES DURING SUMMER SOLSTICE – DOWNLOAD A CAR PARK AND MONUMENT MAP HERE

Download the free Stonehenge audio guide and listen en-route to the Stones

Summer Solstice event at Stonehenge we will be operating a special shuttle service between Salisbury and Stonehenge: http://tinyurl.com/qz2p4ep

For information on accommodation providers in the county of Wiltshire and other attractions and services in the area, please see the Visit Wiltshire website.

Stonehenge is approximately 2½ miles (4 kms) from the town of Amesbury. The nearest bus and railway stations are in Salisbury, which is 12 miles (19 kms) away from Stonehenge.

As the roads around Stonehenge will be very busy, it is recommended that you leave your car at home and travel to Stonehenge by public transport.  The local bus company, Salisbury Reds, will be running a special service from Salisbury railway station and Stand U in New Canal, to a drop-off point near Stonehenge.  The buses will also stop at any recognised bus stop along the line of the route, which is via Amesbury. CLICK HERE FOR SALISBURY SHUTTLE SERVICE

Timings for Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

  • SOLSTICE CAR PARK OPENS
    19.00 hours (7pm) Friday 20 June
  • ACCESS TO STONEHENGE
    19.00 hours (7pm) Friday 20 June
  • LAST ADMISSION TO SOLSTICE CAR PARK
    06.00 hours (6am) Saturday 21 June
  • STONEHENGE CLOSES
    08.00 hours (8am) Saturday 21 June
  • SOLSTICE CAR PARK TO BE VACATED
    12.00 hours (12 Noon) Saturday 21 June  

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

Sunset and Sunrise on the Summer Solstice

Sunset and sunrise occur at the following times:

  • Sunset on Friday 20 June 2014 is at 21.26 hrs (9.26pm)
  • Sunrise on Saturday 21 June 2014 is at 04.52 hrs (4.52am)
The Stonehenge News Blog







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