Archaeologists uncover Pagan skeletons at housing development near Stonehenge

21 05 2013

Archaeologists have discovered six Pagan Saxon skeletons dating back over 1,000 years on a housing development site just a few miles from Stonehenge.

Wessex Archaeology

Wessex Archaeology

The discoveries, which also include round barrows dating back to the Bronze Age 4,000 years ago, were unearthed at a redundant brownfield development site in Amesbury, Wiltshire, which is also famous for the Amesbury Archer – an early Bronze Age man found buried among arrowheads.

The remains are thought to be those of adolescent to mature males and females. Five skeletons were arrayed around a small circular ditch, with the grave of a sixth skeleton in the centre. Two lots of beads, a shale bracelet and other grave goods were also found, which suggest the findings are Pagan.

The site is now being excavated for other artefacts by Wessex Archaeology, led by Phil Harding, known for his work on Channel 4’s Time Team, while colleagues back at the unit’s laboratory examine the remains and jewellery, which have already been removed.

Phil said: “Given that the Stonehenge area is a well-known prehistoric burial site, it was always very likely some interesting discoveries would be made here. The fact that these round barrows were previously unknown makes this particularly exciting.

“Finding the skeletons also helps us to get a clearer picture of the history of this area. To my knowledge these are the first Pagan Saxon burials to be excavated scientifically in Amesbury. “

Landowner Aster Group is building 14 affordable homes at the redundant brownfield site, which will be available to rent from 2014.

Anna Kear, Aster’s regional development director for Hampshire and Wiltshire, said: “Wiltshire is a treasure trove of archaeology, drawing people from across the world.

“Discovering a burial site in this beautiful county is always a possibility when building affordable homes. We’re working with everyone involved to ensure Phil and his team can investigate this exciting find while the build continues.”

Contractor Mansell, a Balfour Beatty brand, was preparing the site for the build when it made the discovery.

Site manager Brian Whitchurch-Bennett, of Mansell, said: “When we’re working in an area of historical importance we always undertake archaeological investigations to make sure that our construction works don’t damage hidden remains or artefacts. The findings within this particular site really are a one off, we’ve been amazed by the number of discoveries and the level of preservation. It’s certainly a project to remember.”

The archaeologists are expected to be on site for six weeks in total. Footage from the site may also be included in an archaeological production for ITV’s History Channel, due to be aired in January 2014.

Source: Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com: http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2013-05-17-Archaeologists-uncover-Pagan-skeletons-at-housing-development-near-Stonehenge

Merlin @ Stonehenege
The Stonehenge News Blog





Druids and Pagans to get time off to visit Stonehenge under new EU work rules

8 04 2013

New guidance advises bosses to respect atheists and to “consider seriously” adapting work duties on faith grounds

Pagans, vegetarians and ecologists should have their beliefs respected at  work along with mainstream faiths, according to European advice to bosses.

Druids and Pagans @atStonehenge

Getty Images

It means druids will be able to take leave to observe rituals and make  pilgrimages to mystical sites such as Stonehenge.

Christian nurses will be allowed to pray for patients, Muslims to take leave  to visit Mecca, vegetarians can refuse to handle meat and sit on leather chairs  and ecologists refuse to fly.

The new guidance also advises bosses to respect atheists and to “consider  seriously” adapting work duties on faith grounds.

But the Equality and Human Rights Commission guidelines, drafted after  several rulings in the European Court of Human Rights, were slammed  yesterday.

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Society, said: “It is  right to accommodate people’s needs in a civilised society but we have to make  sure we draw the right line. It’s not fair to accommodate an employee if others  have to take extra shifts or if their workplace becomes uncomfortable through  others pushing their religion.

“The right to manifest beliefs can’t trump the rights of others.”

The guidance comes after the court in ­Strasbourg, France, ruled in  January the UK was wrong to stop ­Christian BA check-in clerk Nadia Eweida,  61, wearing a cross at work.

The commission’s chief executive Mark Hammond said: “It provides advice and  clarification to help employers avoid costly and ­divisive legal  action.”

Lnk Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/druids-time-visit-stonehenge-under-1817343

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge visitors to ‘experience’ standing in the ancient circle

25 03 2013

A 360 degree cinema is being developed so visitors to Stonehenge can experience standing inside the ancient circle.

Stonehenge receives one million visitors a year and is a World Heritage Site Photo: Christopher Jones for the Telegraph

Stonehenge receives one million visitors a year and is a World Heritage Site Photo: Christopher Jones for the Telegraph

Access to Stonehenge has been fiercely contested for decades, with campaigners arguing that they should be allowed into the stone circle.

Now, English Heritage has developed a possible solution, a virtual visit in a 360 degree cinema where visitors can “experience” standing in the ancient circle.

It will be the centrepiece of a new £27 million centre at the site and is one of a number of audio visual attractions being built to bring the prehistoric monument to life.

These will include a 32ft “landscape wall”, on to which computer generated images of the countryside around the circle and other ancient earthworks will be projected.

In addition, there will be five “people films”, shown on screens in one of the two vast pods being built to house the visitor centre. These will provide information about the monument and prehistoric items on display

There will also be films exploring the conflicting theories over the establishment and use of the circle.

Outside the centre, replica Neolithic dwellings are being built, where visitors will be able to see how early inhabitants of the sites lived.

The plans for the centre are revealed in a series of tender documents from English Heritage, seeking firms to provide the technological content for the audio visual displays. The documents describe the “immersive 360 degree projected film” as the “most important and high profile piece of audio visual ever undertaken by EH”.

The new auditorium’s 100ft circumference will compare with about 300ft in the actual stone circle.

Robert Campbell, the head of interpretation at the centre, said: “It’s meant to give people a sense of what it is like to stand in the middle of Stonehenge because most people just won’t be able to do that. It won’t feel like you are standing in a computer programme. The idea is to take our visitors back in time.”

The virtual visits may not win over all campaigners including Pagans and Druids who want open access to Stonehenge, which was created about 5,000 years ago.

When it was first opened to the public, it was possible to walk among and even climb on the stones. However, they were roped off in 1977 due to problems with erosion.

Visitors are now kept a short distance away, although English Heritage does permit access during the summer and winter solstice, and the spring and autumn equinox. Some access visits early in the morning or late in the evening can also be booked.

Stonehenge receives one million visitors a year and is a World Heritage Site. The multi-million project is being built 1.5 miles from the stones.

By , and David Barrett (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

Merlin at Stonehenge
The Stonehnege News Blog

 





Stonehenge Spring (Vernal) Equinox 2013

16 03 2013

Four times a year the public can access the stone circle to celebrate the seasons: the Winter and Summer Solstices and the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes. Staff at English Heritage manage these events.

Seasonal festivals

It is generally accepted that Stonehenge was an ancient spiritual centre. Today, many people come to Stonehenge to welcome the sun and the seasons. There are four events each year when the stone circle is open to the public free of charge for a limited amount of time. These events are the summer and winter solstices and the vernal and autumnal equinoxes.

equinox-druidsEnglish Heritage has opened the stone circle to celebrate the solstices and equinoxes for the last ten years. These events are open to anyone and everyone for a limited time period. Pagans and Druids attend and run the ceremonies. These events attract large audiences who come to Stonehenge for many reasons:

  • # to watch the ceremony
  • # for a celebratory experience
  • # to welcome the seasons.

People come from all over the country as well as from the local area. Local Pagan and Druid groups are heavily involved in the planning of these events.  The spring equinox access is a small peaceful gathering without facilities, parking is not available in the Stonehenge Car Park

The exact time for the 2013 Spring (or Vernal) equinox at Stonehenge is 11.02am ; Sunrise on the March 20th at 6.09am.

Open Access for Stonehenge on the Spring Equinox 2013 is expected to be on the 20th of March 2013.

Expect a short period of access, from approximately 5.45am to 8.00am.

This is the second of the four ‘sky points’ in our Wheel of the Year and it is when the sun does a perfect balancing act in the heavens.

At the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox the sun rises exactly in the east, travels through the sky for 12 hours and then sets exactly in the west. So all over the world, at this special moment, day and night are of equal length hence the word equinox which means ‘equal night’.

Of course, for those of us here in the northern hemisphere it is this equinox that brings us out of our winter.

For those in the southern hemisphere, this time is the autumnal equinox that is taking you in to your winter. And this is very much how I think of the equinoxes – as the ‘edges’ of winter. This is why they can be quite hard on our bodies as it is a major climatic shift, so it is a good time to give a boost to your immune system with natural remedies and cleansing foods.

Here in Wiltshire (as with the rest of rural Britain), it was traditional to drink dandelion and burdock cordials at this time as these herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after its winter hardships.

As the Vernal Equinox heralds the arrival of spring, it is a time of renewal in both nature and the home, so time for some spring-cleaning!

This is more than just a physical activity, it also helps to remove any old or negative energies accumulated over the dark, heavy winter months preparing the way for the positive growing energy of spring and summer.

As with all the other key festivals of the year, there are both Pagan and Christian associations with the Spring Equinox.To Pagans, this is the time of the ancient Saxon goddess, Eostre, who stands for new beginnings and fertility.

This is why she is symbolized by eggs (new life) and rabbits/hares (fertility).

Her name is also the root of the term we give to the female hormone, oestrogen.By now, you may be beginning to see the Christian celebration derived from this festival – Easter.

And this is the reason why the ‘Easter Bunny’ brings us coloured eggs (and if you’re lucky chocolate ones!) at this time of year.

So, as nature starts to sprout the seeds that have been gestating in her belly throughout the winter, maybe you can start to think about what you want to ‘sprout’ in your life now and start to take action.

Solstice Events UK have been offering ‘non obtrusive’ small group guided tours of the solstice and equinox events for many years and we welcome their approach and ‘thought provoking’ trips.  It works out much cheaper and certainly more convenient at that time of the morning. London departures can be booked here

Link: http://pagancalendar.co.uk/
Link: http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/longest-day/
Link:  http://www.stonehengetours.com/stonehenge-spring-equinox-tour-2013.htm
Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/education/resources/stonehenge/business-management/events/

Merlin says “See you there and remember – RESPECT THE STONES!”

Stonehenge on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehnege News Blog





Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012

11 12 2012

English Heritage will once again allow people access to Stonehenge for the celebration of the Winter Solstice, the first day of the winter season. Sunrise is at 8.09am on Friday 21 December and visitors will be able to access the monument as soon as it is light enough to do so safely. Entrance is free and will be available from roughly 7.30am until 9am, when the site will close – before re-opening as per usual to paying visitors at 9.30am.

Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012

Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2011

The exact time of the Solstice this year, when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun, is at 11.11am on 21 December, however it is generally accepted that the celebration of this special event takes place at dawn and therefore access is permitted at Stonehenge earlier that morning.

Over the last few years, the popularity of Winter Solstice has grown considerably, with many families and young people joining the druid and pagan community in the celebrations. Two years ago, 2,000 people attended Winter Solstice and in 2011 that figure more than doubled to a record 5,000 people.

Peter Carson, Head of Stonehenge, said: “We are delighted to offer people a warm welcome to Stonehenge this Winter Solstice but as facilities are limited, we are not able to accommodate any more people than last year. We don’t have the luxury of using nearby fields in winter for parking and encourage people to make use of the special bus service running from Salisbury. We are working very closely with the local authorities and agencies plus the druid and pagan community to ensure that access to Stonehenge will once again be a success.”

Additional notes
Access may not be possible if the ground conditions are considered poor or if it is felt that access might result in severe damage to the monument.
Public have in previous years used byway 12 for parking on the morning of 21st December. Additional car parking for approximately 800 cars will be available on the A344 (which will be closed to through traffic), plus the Stonehenge Visitor Centre Car Park.

Connected:
New theory of a Winter Solstice Sunrise Alignment -Solstice and the Winter Solstice leaflet (ISBN 9780957093010)
(Background on the Winter Solstice Sunrise Alignment theory is here)
Countdown to doomsday. Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012

Link source: http://www.sarsen.org/2012/11/winter-solstice-at-stonehenge-2012.html

Winter Solstice updates: Follow Stonhenge on Twitter –  https://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Merlin says “Respect the Stones”

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Arthur Pendragon, Stonehenge and the Solstice

12 10 2012

THE RAVING OUTLAW BIKER-DRUIDS AND THEIR 1575-YEAR-OLD KING

Visit Stonehenge on the summer solstice of any year and you’ll see 20,000 people partying in and around the ancient rock formation. The crowd is usually made up of around one third tourists, one third pilled-up teenagers in sportswear, and one third neo-druids. It’s a genuinely bizarre sight. Don’t get me wrong—I enjoy chewing my own face off at archaeologically significant sites as much as the next guy, but in a time when British disobedients seem to spend more time in police kettles than they do in squats, you have to wonder how all of this is, y’know, allowed.

Turns out, it has to do with the guy pictured above, who used to be the leader of an outlaw biker gang, but now claims to be the legendary monarch, King Arthur. Arthur, formerly known as John Rothwell, rose to fame in the 90s when he won his case at the European Court of Human Rights to allow open access to Stonehenge for religious festivals like the summer solstice.

Today, as the elected “Battle Chieftain” of the Council of British Druid Orders, King Arthur and his Loyal Arthurian Warband represent the political wing of Britain’s neo-druid community. I headed down to Stonehenge to visit the only living 1575-year-old king.

Please take the time to read the full article by By Matt Shea, Photos by Andrea Herrada
http://www.vice.com/read/all-hail-king-arthur-uther-pendragon

Stonehenge News Blog sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ www.StonehengeTours.

Merlin says “Always great see Arthur up at the stones doing his bit”

Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge marks Autumn Equinox.

23 09 2012

100’s of people gathered at Stonehenge to mark this years Autumn Equinox and enjoyed a spectacular sunrise.

Stonehenge has been an important religious site for over 4,000 years. Modern druids have been celebrating the Autumnal Equinox there since the early 20th Century.

On September 21st – 23rd every year 100’s of people travel to ancient religious sites, such as Stonehenge and Avebury in England, in order to celebrate the Spring and Autumn Equinox. The Autumn Equinox is also known as Mabon and is an important festival day for many modern pagans.

People were unable to access Stonehenge during the Equinox and Solstice after a ban was imposed in 1985 at the request of English Heritage. This ban was lifted in 2000 and annual celebrations have been held ever since

Almost all pagans celebrate a cycle of eight festivals. Four of the festivals have Celtic origins and are known by their Celtic names, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. The other four are points in the solar calendar. These are Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, and the Summer and Winter Solstices.

Autumn Equinox Photo stream – click here

The Autumnal Equinox marks the moment when the sun crosses the equator on its apparent journey southward and we experience a day and a night that are of equal length. It’s the time of the final harvest when many crops including apples, grapes, nuts, squash, corn, and berries are gathered. Astrologically speaking, this is the date when the Sun enters the sign of Libra, the balance.Stonehenge Autumn Equinox 2012

The equinoxes (there are two- the Vernal Equinox, when the Sun enters Aries around March 21, is the first day of spring) have a rich place in mythology and ancient tradition. From Stonehenge in the British Isles to the pyramids in Central America, ancient cultures created means by which to measure the change of the seasons. For example, the Anasazi Indians of Chaco Canyon, NM made a hole between some boulders that the sun could shine through. The shafts of sunlight made a dagger shape of the far wall and they drew a spiral there to mark the equinox. It is said that the Druids would cut wands from the willow trees at this time of year. The willow was sacred to them and the wands were seen as powerful tools for use in divination.

Mythically, this is the day when the god of light is defeated by his twin and alter-ego, the god of darkness. It is the time of year when night conquers day- propelling us toward the Winter Solstice which marks the longest night of the year. Mabon, a Welsh god who symbolizes the male fertility of the land, is associated with the Autumnal Equinox. In some myths, he is seen as the male counterpart to Persephone of the Greek myths.

During the weeks around the Equinox, assess your harvest of the seeds of dreams and goals you planted earlier this year. Analyze your progress, acknowledge your successes, and give thanks. After that point of balance, natural law encourages us to turn inward for growth. Like Persephone going to the underworld on her annual journey, the time from the Autumnal Equinox to the Winter Solstice is a perfect opportunity to take a deep look inside yourself. Weed out what has completed its cycle and nourish the roots of what you want to grow again in spring.

Link: http://beforeitsnews.com/spirit/2012/09/autumnal-equinox-2012-harvest-your-gold-2445928.html
L
ink: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/09/110921-autumnal-equinox-northern-hemisphere-first-day-fall-2012-science/
Link:

Blog sponsored by The Stonehenge Tour Company – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “A Spectacular sunrise and a peaceful gathering made this years Equinox celebrations one to remember”

The Stonehenge News Blog








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