Road Investment Strategy – Stonehenge and the A303

1 12 2014

Originally posted on National Trust Press Office:

Today (Monday 1 December, 2014) the Government has announced, as part of its Road Investment Strategy, that it will be investing in a new 2.9km tunnel to remove the A303 from the Stonehenge landscape.

English Heritage [1] and National Trust [2] as guardians of Stonehenge and its World Heritage Site, see this announcement as a “truly momentous decision” in the modern history of one of the most famous places in the world.

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The boring Stonehenge story takes off again

1 12 2014

Originally posted on Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper:

fund the tunnel I would really like the Stonehenge A303 problem to be sorted out – and there is a serious problem, as anyone knows who has to drive there regularly. Tunnelling has to be part of the solution, for it would achieve what nothing else could, the removal of an impermeable barrier across the world heritage site landscape. So news that the government is ready to fund major works there is good to hear. road closed But let’s save a great deal of anguish, time and money: keep the politics out of it. For those of you new to this story (you wouldn’t think there would be anyone, but to judge from online comments, there are many), here are a few pointers.

  1. Don’t waste time dreaming up complex new routes. If you can find one, be sure it’s already been thought of. The map below is a hint of the work done in this…

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Tunnel could have an “adverse impact” on Stonehenge, an advisory body on World Heritage Sites has warned.

30 11 2014

Stonehenge fears over A303 road tunnel plan

A planned dual carriageway and road tunnel could have an “adverse impact” on Stonehenge, an advisory body on World Heritage Sites has warned.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos), which advises Unesco, has expressed concern over plans for the project in Wiltshire.

The group wrote to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin earlier in November.

An announcement about upgrading the whole A303 is expected in the chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

The options include a 1.6-mile (2.5km) tunnel or two longer 1.8-mile (2.9km) tunnels that would run south of the current A303 route.

Proposals to build a tunnel beside Stonehenge were dropped seven years ago because of cost, but lobbying has continued from local councils.

A303 past Stonehenge
The A303 currently passes right past the Stonehenge site in Wiltshire
Stonehenge
The site is near Amesbury, thought to be the longest continuous settlement in the UK

Despite the road layout at Stonehenge being changed, the stretch of single carriageway still has many traffic jams.

In a letter seen by the BBC, the UK branch of Icomos said it wanted the government to “fully engage” with the World Heritage Committee to find a solution that “respects and maintains” the value of the “iconic and unique site”.

“We appreciate the very real need to address the issue of the A303 and recognise that a tunnel could have beneficial impacts on parts of the World Heritage property,” Icomos said.

“However, we are concerned that associated portals and dual carriageways could have a highly adverse impact on other parts of the World Heritage landscape that cannot be set aside, however great the benefits of a tunnel.”

The Department for Transport said it had “worked closely with key organisations” and “no decisions” had yet been made.

English Heritage, which runs the Stonehenge site, said the bottleneck road was “highly detrimental” to the ancient monument.

“We have met with a representative of Icomos UK to explain the work we’ve done and sought feedback on it,” a spokeswoman said.

Article Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-30248826

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Heaven and Earth Stonehenge Access Tour

18 11 2014

A special early evening bookable tour, learning about the stars and planetary movements and how early man may have utilised them. Over 12’s only, under 16’s to be accompanied by an adult.

stonehenge-stars1This event is next Saturday (to include a special access visit to the stones), all about the stars and planetary movements and how early man may have utilised them.

Each person is required to bring a torch.

How to Book: Call the English Heritage customer services team to book : 0870 3331183

November 22nd is also the ‘New Moon: In astronomy, new moon is the first phase of the Moon, when it orbits closest to the Sun in the sky as seen from the Earth. More precisely, it is the instant when the Moon and the Sun have the same ecliptical longitude. The Moon is not always visible at this time except when it is seen in silhouette during a solar eclipse or illuminated by earthshine. See the article on phases of the Moon for further details

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge Winter Solstice Open Access 2014

15 11 2014

English Heritage will once again welcome people to Stonehenge to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Sunrise is just after 8am on Monday 22nd December and visitors will be able to access the monument as soon as it is light enough to do so safely. Conditions of entry will be posted shortly.

Stonehenge Winter Solstice

Please be aware that parking is very limited and there is a thirty minute walk, in low light, from the parking areas to the monument.

Why 22nd December?

Many people – not least diary manufacturers – believe that the Winter Solstice always falls on 21st December. But the celebration of the winter solstice at Stonehenge is not fixed to a specific calendar date – this is because of a mismatch between the calendar year and solar year. (The actual time of the Winter Solstice this year is on December 21st at 23:03 GMT)

The solstice is traditionally celebrated at the sunrise closest to the time when the sun is stationary before beginning its transit to the north or south. This year this occurs late on 21 December, hence the winter solstice celebrations take place at sunrise on 22nd December.

Conditions of entry

Further information and the conditions of entry for the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge will be posted here a month in advance of 22nd December.**

Do not climb or stand on any of the stones – this includes the stones that have fallen. This is in the interest of personal safety, the protection of this special site and respect for those attending. As well as putting the stones themselves at risk,
climbing on them can damage the delicate lichens.

If do not have your own transport and are travelling from London then Solstice UK Events are offering their usual transport option with an expert guide.

**Stonehenge is a world renowned historic Monument and seen by many as a sacred site – please respect it and please respect each other!

The new Stonehenge visitor centre is well worth a visit and opens at 9.30am. Visit the English Heritage website
Directions to Stonehenge
Download the free English Heritage Stonehenge Audio Guide here
English Heritage Winter Solstice Link

Merlin at Stonehenge
Follow Twitter@st0nehenge for Solstice updates
The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge: The mystery of moving the trilithons

14 11 2014

Originally posted on The Heritage Trust:

 
One of the Stonehenge trilithons (right) still showing its tenon (top)
©
The Heritage Trust
 
Another attempt is to be made next year to solve the mystery of how the largest stones used to build Stonehenge were moved reports BBC News Witshire -
 
In 1996, a BBC TV programme aimed to find out how the stones for the largest trilithon were put into place, and how the lintel was placed on top. Since then the concrete replicas have remained untouched and forgotten about at an army base on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. They have now been rediscovered and the experiment will be repeated.
 
Archaeologist Julian Richards is teaming up with farmer Tim Daw to see if modern techniques are any more efficient.
 
More here.
    

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Stonehenge experiment to be repeated with ‘lost’ stones

14 11 2014

Another attempt is to be made to solve the mystery of how the largest stones used to build Stonehenge were moved.

The experiment was first carried out in a BBC documentary in 1996

The experiment was first carried out in a BBC documentary in 1996

In 1996, a BBC TV programme aimed to find out how the stones for the largest trilithon were put into place, and how the lintel was placed on top.

Since then the concrete replicas have remained untouched and forgotten about at an army base on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

They have now been rediscovered and the experiment will be repeated.

Archaeologist Julian Richards is teaming up with farmer Tim Daw see if modern techniques are any more efficient.

Mr Daw, who farms at All Cannings, near Devizes, and who created the first “Neolithic” long barrow to be built in the UK for 5,500 years, also works part-time at Stonehenge.

He said one of the most popular questions asked by visitors is ‘how were the giant stones moved?’.

“When Julian Richards mentioned there was a life-sized replica of the largest stones at Stonehenge that were looking for a home that we could do some experiments on I said ‘let’s do it’.”

The 45-tonne replicas were used in the BBC documentary Secrets of Lost Empires: Stonehenge, which was broadcast in 1996.

They have remained at Larkhill Camp, about a mile from Stonehenge ever since.

The experiment was partially successful, but now new theories have emerged about how the stones may have been moved.

“The first thing is to collect the stones from Salisbury Plain where they have been languishing for the past 20 years and get them back to my farm,” said Mr Daw.

“Hopefully next year we’ll get some teams of people [to take part in the experiment]”

Mr Daw said different theories had now emerged about how the huge stones could have been moved.

“The experts certainly think they know more. Whether they actually do know more is an interesting question.

“Without trying all the wonderful ideas of how you do it Neolithic style, just using man power – no wheels, no draught animals, no machinery – we can’t tell what is practical and what is just fantasy.”

It is hoped the result of the experiment will be turned into another television programme to air next year.

Full story: BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-30041330

Merlin at Stonehenge
Stonehenge News Blog








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