Stonehenge: one road gone but fog surrounds the future of the other

29 01 2014

Originally posted on The Heritage Journal:

SH fog

The Prime Minister has just said  the Government is “committed” to ending the traffic nightmare on the A303 between Devon and London. Everyone will welcome that (although even the preliminary study isn’t going to be produced before the next election). But from the point of view of prehistory fans the big issue that springs to mind is what will it mean for Stonehenge? There are three big reasons for concern:

1. For years English Heritage supported putting the A303 at Stonehenge in a massively damaging cut-and-cover tunnel.

2. Then, they supported a bored “short tunnel” despite the opposition of UNESCO and nearly all archaeological and heritage organisations on the grounds it too was very damaging.

3. It was cancelled due to cost but just last month Simon Thurley said they’d continue to argue for the tunnel, “with all our strength”.

We did ask WHICH tunnel [

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Neolithic-looking extras finding work for Stonehenge Empire Film

25 01 2014

It was perhaps the most bizarre request for extras issued in the West for a while – skinny men and women were required who had the look of the Neolithic about them.

Stonehenge, WiltshireThat meant “lean or athletic-framed” men and women who might have been just about fit enough to pull a huge lump of rock from west Wales to Salisbury Plain.

Filming has continued this week on a multi-national new TV series which sets out to be the definitive docu-drama about the building and use of Stonehenge ever made.

The BBC has joined forces with TV channels in the US, Canada, France, Austria, Germany and more to commission Stonehenge Empire, an epic documentary telling the story of the West’s most famous landmark.

And that means as well as discovering the latest from the so far ten-year project investigating the stones, re-enactments of the days when Neolithic people dragged the huge stones to the final spot near Amesbury are included.

So actors and jobbing extras across the West were summoned to be the Neolithic people.

And being in the background requires a certain look.

“They would have been Caucasian and fairly classic looking,” a spokesman for the extras agency said and added “Character faces are also good.”

Females had long hair with a natural tone, while males needed to be either bald, semi-bald with long hair at the back, or have longish hair.

“Beards are also beneficial,” the notice said.

Some actors went further than others in the pursuit of the perfect recreation of the world of the henge builders.  Lee Ravitz, an actor from Hertfordshire, played a “trepanning patient” in the docu-drama – which involved pretending to have a hole drilled in his skull.

The film will be screened over two, one-hour-long episodes and will change the way we look at Stonehenge, according to the creative director from film company October, Adam Bullmore.

“Stonehenge Empire will dramatically change the way we understand Stonehenge and the prehistoric culture that flourished around it,” he said. “Instead of seeing Stonehenge as an extraordinary achievement of an otherwise relatively primitive, prehistoric people, it will reveal Stonehenge as the epicentre of a truly remarkable and highly sophisticated ancient civilisation.”

The BBC are excited by the prospect of the film, which could be screened later this year, and uses CGI to recreate the vast scenes of thousands working on the stones.

Martin Davidson, BBC commissioner, said: “This is a really exciting project which will, using drama, CGI and the latest archaeological discoveries, allow us to properly understand the achievements and character of the people that built it; people who mastered deep mining and sophisticated engineering.”

Tristan Cork: tristan.cork@b-nm.co.uk
Article source from The Western Daily Press: : http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Neolithic-looking-extras-finding-work/story-20492638-detail/story.html#ixzz2rO9iDeQj

Stonehenge Empire Film: http://realscreen.com/2013/12/04/wcsfp-13-bbc-cbc-unite-for-stonehenge-copro/

Stonehenge Film links: http://www.stonehenge-avebury.net/Media/Stonehenge&AveburyFilms.html

The Stonehenge News Blog





THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF OUR AREA – AN ENTERTAINING AND ILLUSTRATED TALK BY TV PERSONALITY JULIAN RICHARDS

14 01 2014

Julian is a local archaeologist who is well known to the general public through his television programmes “Meet the Ancestors” and “Blood of the Vikings”.

 meettheancestorsHe is one of the leading experts on Stonehenge, and has most recently carried out investigations for the project   “What’s Under Your School”, which included Coombe Bissett and Broadchalke.

Friday 24th January, 7.30pm (Doors open 7pm)

All tickets cost £7.50 and include a ploughman’s supper and there is a cash bar available. Call Caroline on 01722 781044 for your tickets.

Link: http://www.broadchalke.info/general.php
Link: http://www.spirefm.co.uk/contribute/whats-on/?start=20

 

Guest Blogger
The Stonehenge News Blog





No picnic at Stonehenge

26 12 2013

Originally posted on The Heritage Journal:

It’s all very well English Heritage selling cute little furry birdies at their new Visitor Centre but what is to become of the REAL ones?

Jackdaws that have been gathering on the stones for many a year, regularly nesting in the crevices, certainly as far back as the 18th century. In recent times every night when the site closes they’ve been flying down to feast on bits of food left by the visitors but since the old visitor centre and carpark closed a week ago they have been having to go without their supper.

.

combined 3.

Legend has it that if ever the ravens leave the Tower of London the kingdom will fall. Does the same apply to the jackdaws of Stonehenge? What arrangements have English Heritage made to feed them so they stay at Stonehenge? The public should be told!!

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Stonehenge: good job!

19 12 2013

stonehengenews:

The feedback from the new visitor centre yesterday was nearly all positive

Originally posted on The Heritage Journal:

good job.

The feedback from the new visitor centre yesterday was nearly all positive. The architecture works well (whatever happened to the holes in the roof?!), the exhibits are impressive (although rather limited in scale) and of course the location, just out of sight from the stones, is a huge relief. It still remains to be seen how things will work out when maximum tourist numbers turn up but the general consensus seems to be: so far, so good ….

One issue did seem to keep coming up though – the fact that as from February it will be necessary to book in advance. A lot of people are complaining about that, saying an  element of spontaneity has been removed. They have a point, so the question arises, why? There’s plenty of room inside the visitor centre and at the stones so if there’s any lack of capacity it must be…

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Gallery: New multimillion-pound visitor centre at Stonehenge opens

18 12 2013

Originally posted on Metro:

For more News galleries click here

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More snapshots at Stonehenge

18 12 2013

Originally posted on Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper:

SH hats

There were people down at the new centre yesterday, adding more interest, and here are some more views. The reaction there seems to be overwhelmingly positive – to the building, which is alive to the landscape, to the displays, which are both beautifully done and bravely informative, and to the facilities. The land train may take a bit more bedding in, and of course the old car park and facilities are still there out at the monument.

car park

car park

Front, with cafe

Front, with cafe

Front, with toilets

Front, with toilets

View out front, to west

View out front, to west

View out front with cafe

View out front with cafe

View out from back, towards east and (out of sight) Stonehenge

View out from back, towards east and (out of sight) Stonehenge

Land train

Land train

Turning circle for train at the monument. My back is to Stonehenge, and on right is one of several information panels (this features the mesolithic postholes in the old – soon to be gone – car park)

Turning circle for train at the monument. My back is to Stonehenge. On right is one of several information panels (this features the mesolithic postholes in the old – soon to be gone – car park)

In the gallery, timeline images reflect in a case that displays the neolithic chalk plaques from Amesbury In the gallery, timeline images reflect…

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The new Stonehenge centre

17 12 2013

stonehengenews:

Opening tomorrow. 18th December 2013

Originally posted on Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper:

SH teddy

Here’s a first peek at the visitor centre, which opens its doors tomorrow. I guess it won’t often look like this again in mid morning.

ARRIVAL

SH Airman's Cross

SH entrance 1

SH entrance 2

CAFE & SHOP ON LEFT

SH cafe

SH shop 1

SH shop 2

SH shop 3

SH shop 4

SH shop 5

SH shop 6

GALLERIES ON RIGHT

SH entrance

Smaller of the two circular video screens:

SH panorama

Video panorama on left, museum cases on right:

SH gallery 1

SH gallery 2

SH gallery 3

Lobby area with pull quotes and talking videos:

SH gallery 4

SH gallery 5

A temporary exhibition room, with some lovely large display cases, currently showing “Set in Stone?”, featuring the 14th century Scala Mundi that illustrates the stones, and other treasures:

SH gallery 6

Leaving into the area where the reconstructed neolithic houses will be, and the train pick-up:

SH gallery 7

SH gallery 8

Back inside, the panoramic video is truly spectacular. Here are some random grabs:

SH panorama 1

SH panorama 2

From today to the beginning, with an earthwork and ring of bluestones:

SH panorama 3

SH panorama 4

SH panorama 5

Meanwhile, up at the site work continues. A marker is being laid to show the solstice alignment. Waiting beside the new path, on left (look…

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Protests expected in run up to opening of £27m Stonehenge visitor centre

17 12 2013

Two different protests are to be staged at Stonehenge in the run up to the opening of a new £27 million visitor centre on Wednesday.

visitor-centre-2

One protest will involve people living in villages near the A303 who are worried about extra traffic using rural lanes while the other is about the display of human remains in one of the exhibitions in the soon to be open centre.

A spokesman for English Heritage said: “The display of human remains at the exhibition has caused some people who feel very strongly about it to protest on site.

“We respect their views and their right to peaceful demonstration, and have had useful discussions with them about how these protests can be accommodated.

“English Heritage believes that authenticity is important to tell England’s story. We use real objects and artefacts because we believe they are the best way for people to come close to history.

“We only use replicas when the real item is not available. Research shows that the vast majority of museum visitors are comfortable with, and often expect to see, human remains as part of displays.

“Stonehenge is the focus of a ceremonial and ritual landscape shaped by prehistoric people for over 1,500 years. The exhibition puts at its centre the people associated with it and as such, the remains have a rightful place in the exhibition.

“Our position is consistent with current museum practice across the UK and the presentation of human remains in the new gallery will follow strict guidelines set out by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport.”

English Heritage Commissioners considered druid leader Arthur Pendragon’s request to use replicas very carefully in September 2013 but decided that the original plan should go ahead.

“The three sets of human remains on display have been in the care of scholarly institutions for at least 10 years and do not include any freshly excavated material,” the spokesman added.

“All the three sets of remains have been scientifically dated: two sets are over 5,000 years old, one set is about 4,500 years old.”

English Heritage says it also respects people’s rights to protest about traffic issues. A spokesman said: “The project has widespread support but traffic problems on the A303 have caused concern in a few local villages.

“We respect people’s right to peaceful demonstration. Together with the police, we have had discussions with the Stonehenge Traffic Action Group (STAG) about how these protests can be accommodated.

“Their main concern is the congestion on the A303 near Stonehenge and the impact this has on nearby villages. Some people consider closing the A344 (a key part of the English Heritage scheme) has made the situation worse, so much so that drivers are abandoning the A303 in search of a faster route through local villages.

“We understand and sympathise with these frustrations, but the reality is that the A303 has long been a very busy road, even before the A344 was closed.

“The majority of traffic congestion on the A303 is caused by the year on year increase of cars using the road and by the bottleneck where the dual-carriageway becomes a single carriageway near Stonehenge.

“We agree that something needs to be done about the A303 but the decision rests with the Department for Transport. We have met with STAG, have discussed the matter with Wiltshire Council and will join with them in urging the Department for Transport to tackle this long standing problem.”

Article source By Joanne Moore: http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/headlines/10880859.Protests_expected_in_run_up_to_opening_of___27m_Stonehenge_visitor_centre/?ref=rss

Follow all the news on Stonehenge and surrounding area on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

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Stonehenge Audio Tour: Free Download from English Heritage

14 12 2013

The free audio tour for use when visiting Stonehenge. Avoid any queues for audio guides onsite and use your own device and headphones to explore the most famous prehistoric monument in the world and the ancient landscape that surrounds it.

Stonehenge Audio Tour Download

Stonehenge Audio Tour

English Heritage Website: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/
Stonehenge Audio Tour Apple Download Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stonehenge-audio-tour/id771690237?mt=8

Stonehenge News








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