Touching the earth lightly: New Stonehenge Visitor Centre wins Royal Institute of British Architects award

10 05 2014

Originally posted on The Heritage Trust:

The Stonehenge Exhibition and Visitor Centre by architects Denton Corker Marshall on opening day last December
©
The Heritage Trust

This is Wiltshire reports -

The £6.9m building, named in a prestigious ceremony at City Hall, Bristol, yesterday, takes an Australian aboriginal dictum of ‘touching the earth lightly’ to perch on an archaeological landscape creating a vastly improved visitor experience. A major part of the £27million Stonehenge Environmental Improvements Programme – the largest capital project ever undertaken by English Heritage – the new visitor building, is 2.1km (1.5 miles) to the west of Stonehenge.

RIBA South West Awards recognise examples of innovative and outstanding new architecture within the region. Chair of the jury, John Pardey of multiple award-winning John Pardey Architects said of the English Heritage project: “The building follows the concept sketch by the architect Barry Marshall. A forest of thin square columns dancing at different angles like tree…

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The weeds are starting to grow at Stonehenge

10 05 2014

Originally posted on Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper:

stones

The works are far from over, but the visitor centre is starting to bed in, there is less bare mud about and on a wet sky windy spring day it was possible to experience a bit of the Stonehenge we will be learning to know in future. It feels good.

I was there for a press view of what English Heritage grandly calls its “external gallery”, the near complete group of imagined neolithic houses round the back of the visitor centre. Whether or not they are in the least bit neolithic (wheat ears dangling from the thatch look suspicious), the houses are fun and I imagine will be popular with visitors, especially kids. Until newly planted trees grow up to obscure them, they make a nice earthy, rounded contrast to Denton Corker Marshall’s ephemeral linearity.

We walked to the stones with Heather Sebire as guide – the first time I…

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Amesbury – including Stonehenge – is the UK’s longest continually-occupied settlement

6 05 2014

Amesbury in Wiltshire confirmed as oldest UK settlement.

A Wiltshire town has been confirmed as the longest continuous settlement in the United Kingdom.

Amesbury - including Stonehenge - is the UK's longest continually-occupied settlement

Amesbury – including Stonehenge – is the UK’s longest continually-occupied settlement

Amesbury, including Stonehenge, has been continually occupied since BC8820, experts have found.

The news was confirmed following an archaeological dig which also unearthed evidence of frogs’ legs being eaten in Britain 8,000 years before France.

Amesbury’s place in history has also now been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records.

David Jacques, from the University of Buckingham, said: “The site blows the lid off the Neolithic Revolution in a number of ways.

“It provides evidence for people staying put, clearing land, building, and presumably worshipping, monuments.

“The area was clearly a hub point for people to come to from many miles away, and in many ways was a forerunner for what later went on at Stonehenge itself.

“The first monuments at Stonehenge were built by these people. For years people have been asking why is Stonehenge where it is, now at last, we have found the answers.”

Mr Jacques said the River Avon, which runs through the area, would have been like an A road with people travelling along it.

“They may have had the equivalent of local guides and there would have been feasting,” he added.

“We have found remains of big game animals, such as aurochs and red deer, and an enormous amount of burnt flint from their feasting fires.”

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The dig unearthed the largest haul of worked flints from the Mesolithic period

Previously, Thatcham in Berkshire, 40 miles from Amesbury, held the record for the longest continuous settlement in the country.

The dig in Amesbury also uncovered 31,000 worked flints in 40 days as well as animal bones such as frogs’ legs.

Mr Jacques said our ancestors were eating a “Heston Blumenthal-style menu”.

The find was based on a report by fossil mammal specialist Simon Parfitt, of the Natural History Museum.

Andy Rhind-Tutt, the founder of Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust, said there was “something unique and rather special about the area” to keep people there from the end of the Ice Age, to when Stonehenge was created and until today.

“The fact that the feasting of large animals and the discovery of a relatively constant temperature spring sitting alongside the River Avon, may well be it,” he said.

The dig was filmed and made into a documentary by the BBC, Smithsonian, CBC and others to be screened later in the summer.

The project was led by the University of Buckingham

Article source: BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-27238503

Historic Amesbury – the Home of Stonehenge

Nestling within a loop of the River Avon alongside the A303 just 1.5 miles from Stonehenge, Amesbury is a destination not to be missed. With recent evidence of continuous settlement since before 7500BC and a breath-taking Mesolithic collection that is greater in quantity (from one single location) than any other found in this country, the town’s new Museum at the Melor Hall, Church Street will amaze visitors with its story of life before the Stones and its mind blowing artefacts from the Town where History began.

Visit Wiltshire Website: http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/ideas-and-inspiration/amesbury-museum-and-heritage-centre-p1536253

Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust: https://www.facebook.com/AmesburyMuseum

Salisbury Reds (transport to and from Amesbury): http://www.salisburyreds.co.uk/ptv-amesbury.shtml

Local Tour Operators including Amesbury and Stonehenge:
Salisbury, Stonehenge and Sarum Audio Tours: http://www.salisburystonehengetours.co.uk/
The Stonehenge Travel Company: http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

The Stonehenge News Blog

 





2014 Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

6 05 2014

English Heritage is pleased to be providing Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice on 20-21 June 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. The full Conditions of Entry can also be downloaded from their website.

midsummer-sunset

We have a duty of care to ensure public safety and are responsible for protecting Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments. If we are to ensure that future access is sustainable, it is essential that everyone observes and abides by these Conditions of Entry.

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.

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. It is a place seen by many as a sacred site – therefore 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 Friday/Saturday, 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. See Travel for further information. 

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

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

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)

Link Source: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/summer-solstice/?lang=en

Stonehenge News Blog

 





Tunneling the A303 at Stonehenge is the sensible option – John Glen

29 04 2014

Salisbury’s MP says he’ll keep pushing for traffic problems on the A303 next to Stonehenge to be sorted out once and for all.

John Glen’s told Spire FM that there’s only one logical solution:

“There will be enormous battles between environmentalists, locals who want a Article imagesolution to the issue and the National trust who are the land owner around Stonehenge, and a Tunnel will be the safest option to please everyone.”

The Government’s now started a new feasibility study to look into the possible options and are due to make an announcement in the Autumn.

Mr Glen has a message for the Government as they look into what happens next:

“If I was a transport minister, and I wanted to improve transportation links to the South West; which have been particularly important given what we’ve seen happen over this last winter, then I would need to be pretty sure that any measures I put in place, would avoid there being a bottleneck at Stonehenge.”

Meanwhile, ideas to tunnel part of the A303 past Stonehenge have been described as ‘jumping the gun’ by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Kate Fielden from the Wiltshire branch of the CPRE is also secretary of the Stonehenge Alliance – she says there are mixed views on the issue at the moment:

“At the present time, the Stonehenge Alliance feels that there is insufficient evidence to show that it would be justified. I do know though, and the CPRE recognises, that there are problems at Stonehenge, especially at weekends and at holiday times. That’s becoming intolerable really for local people.”

Kate also says the local habitat is key and therefore a tunnel could work:

“It’s difficult when you live close by something to stand back and realise that this whole site is something that is considered internationally to be of the highest significance. I think we have to take the bull by the horns and do a proper job if that is the job that has to be done. It would be completely unthinkable to dual that road on the surface.”

Link sourc: http://www.spirefm.co.uk/news/local-news/1268711/tunneling-the-a303-at-stonehenge-is-the-sensible-option—john-glen/

Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge tunnel plans could be revived

25 04 2014

Tunnel beneath Stonehenge could be reconsidered as part of plans to ease traffic congestion

Plans for a 1.3 mile road tunnel beneath the site and bypass have been proposed before but were dropped in 2007 due to the estimated £470 million cost

Plans for a 1.3 mile road tunnel beneath the site and bypass have been proposed before but were dropped in 2007 due to the estimated £470 million cost Photo: ALAMY

Plans to build a road tunnel under Stonehenge could be revived as the Government looks to ease bottlenecks on some of Britain’s most congested stretches of road.

A study to be completed this summer will consider whether a dual carriageway or underground tunnel could solve the traffic problem caused by drivers slowing down to admire one of Britain’s most famous world heritage sites.

Plans for a 1.3 mile road tunnel beneath the site and bypass have been proposed before but were dropped in 2007 due to the estimated £470 million cost.

Yesterday, the Government outlined detailed plans for a “feasibility study” which will examine all possibilities for easing congestion along the route.

It pledged to deliver its final proposals in this year’s Autumn Statement along with the findings of five similar road-widening proposals on the A27 corridor, the A47 between Peterborough and Great Yarmouth, Trans-Pennine routes and two areas of the A1 around Newcastle.

Countryside campaigners attacked the plans which they claimed would scar beauty spots by laying extra tarmac along stretches of land which have remained untouched since Roman times.

Plans to widen the A27 include parts of the South Downs, Britain’s newest national park, while parts of the Norfolk Broads national park and the Northumberland coast could be affected under plans for the A47 and A1, they said.

The A303/A30/A358 corridor, which forms the main route from London to the south west, was highlighted by ministers last summer as one of six areas where solutions were urgently needed for the country’s most “notorious and long standing” congestion hot spots.

The A303 in particular is frequently gridlocked during summer weekends at a number of points where the dual carriageway narrows to a single lane, bringing holiday traffic to a standstill.

The feasibility study will “look to initially build on work done to date on potential proposals” rather than drawing up new solutions, beginning several plans for new stretches of dual carriageway including a 12km passage from Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge).

But the study will also “draw upon” work from a range of other projects including historic plans to tunnel beneath the prehistoric monument, with sources insisting all options are on the table.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England said several of the spots under examination, including Stonehenge, are only congested at certain times of year and do not merit major development.

Ralph Smyth, senior transport campaigner for the CPRE, said: “The traffic [at Stonehenge] hasn’t increased in the last 10 years and it does not justify the huge cost of a tunnel.”

A long tunnel would at least be preferable to a dual carriageway at the surface, which could cause the historic site to lose its world heritage status, he added.

Last month John Glen, Conservative MP for Salisbury, said a tunnel was the “only realistic” solution to protect Stonehenge while solving traffic problems which he said had turned the stretch into the “devil’s highway”.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said the six studies would “develop solutions to some of the most notorious and  long-standing hot spots on the national road network.”

An English Heritage spokesman said: “We want to make certain the necessary improvements to the A303 are delivered in a way that will ensure the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.”

By , Transport Correspondent: Full article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/10783496/Stonehenge-tunnel-plans-could-be-revived.html

The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge News: Stones may be moved to new visitor centre

1 04 2014

A leaked report has revealed that English Heritage intend to move the Stones from the current location closer to the new visitor centre. Visitors currently have to travel some 2km by land train to the Stone Circle and it makes perfect commercial sense to make the monument more accessible to visitors. All plans are subject to approved planning permission

The Heritage Lottery could help fund moving the Stones

The Heritage Lottery could help fund moving the Stones

A recent customer survey also revealed that 95% of 2014 visitors ‘agree’ or strongly agree’ that it would be a better experience if the Stones were closer to the souvenir shop, toilets, cafe and museum. This would also reduce carbon footprint and save valuable sightseeing time.

Local archaeologists support the idea and would give archaeological evidence as to how the Stones were moved in the first place. They would use ancient skills and technologies and could utilise the volunteers from the Neolithic house project. Concerns have now been raised about the ancient monuments act of 1913, but experts are confident a solution could be found.

Davinvi Construction, the current contractor who are completing the landscape restoration work said it would make sense to move the Stones this summer whilst they have heavy plant machinery and skilled labour on site, although it may be tricky moving some of the larger rocks, they added.

Circular stadium seats could surround the monument during the busy Solstice events and even a 3D simulation of the sunset and sunrise could amaze audiences from around the world. Suggestions of a glass roof covering the entire monument could overcome the poor weather conditions often experienced on the Solstice and guarantee a perfect sunrise every time.

Larkhill Commanding Officer Will Ruinit was delighted to hear the latest proposal and can now fast track the MOD plans to erect watch towers and a new missile base on the Solstice ‘sun gap’ alignment without further protests.

At time of going to press local Druid, King Arthur was unavailable for comment but a spokesman quoted “He will definitely not be happy.”

Have your say
There will be an opportunity to voice your concerns at the ‘Who’d a Thought It Inn’ Lockeridge, near Marlborough on April 8th. See you next Tuesday.
Please send you comments and feedback to Aprilfool@gottcha.com








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