Improvements to A303 Stonehenge World Heritage Site

1 11 2012

Work which will allow visitors to enjoy an improved experience when visiting the Stonehenge World Heritage Site will start on the A303 in Wiltshire on Monday, 5 November.

Stonehenge road improvementsThe six month scheme will involve improvements to the Longbarrow roundabout at the junction of the A360 and A303. This will allow the closure of the A344, which runs next to the Stonehenge monument.

Highways Agency project sponsor, Mark Arberry, said: “This is an important contribution to the long term management plan for Stonehenge to improve the setting of the monument and ensure its preservation as an iconic World Heritage Site. “The proposed improvements to the northern and eastern approaches to the roundabout will accommodate changes in traffic flows following the A344 closure and the centre of the roundabout itself will be moved.”

New lanes will be added to the roundabout to take the extra traffic caused by the closure of the A344 and the centre of the roundabout itself will be realigned.

English Heritage has been fully consulted during planning for the scheme and an archaeologist will be on site during the excavation work.

Traffic signals will be used for minor advanced works on the A360 north of the roundabout for one week between 9am and 3pm from the 29 October. The main work will require lane closures on the approaches to Longbarrow Roundabout for the duration of the work with a temporary 40mph speed limit in place.. The A360 south of Longbarrow will be closed for up to eight days and nights on dates to be confirmed during either February or March. Clearly signed diversion routes will be in operation using the A345 or the A36 dependant on journey destinations.

The scheme has been planned to cause the least possible disruption but road users are advised to allow extra time for their journeys.

Traffic updates: http://www.fleetdirectory.co.uk/

Stonehenge news blog sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ www.StonehengeTours.com
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ollow us on Twitter for updates: https://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Merlin at Stonehenge

 





Visit Wiltshire. New look website aims to boost tourism in Wiltshire

19 10 2012

Discover a county rich in heritage

VisitWiltshire has launched a brand new tourism website, http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk  The redesign of the site has focused on building a portal which showcases the best of Wiltshire tourism to give visitors a user-experience that is inspirational, informative, engaging and welcoming.

VisitWiltshire is forecasting that the new website will increase the number of visitors to http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk by 30 per cent.

The new website will be promoted extensively to VisitWiltshire’s target UK and international markets through a number of digital marketing initiatives launching in October – including, for the first time ever, video advertising on the London Underground.

Fiona Errington, marketing manager for VisitWiltshire, said: “Our aim in developing this site has been to raise awareness of Wiltshire’s fantastic tourism offer, inspiring new visitors, and encouraging repeat visitors to stay longer and explore the whole of the county.

Visit Wiltshire Website Extract
Take some time out and escape to Wiltshire this year. Find out more about this mysterious and beautiful part of the UK, let us be your guide for all the information you will need.

Stonehenge & Avebury

Wiltshire is proud to be the home of Stonehenge and Avebury which form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and our mystical landscape.

Take a tour of Stonehenge and discover more about the neolithic man and the landscape they shaped. At Avebury, walk amongst the stones, visit the Alexander Keiller Museum to find out about the arcaeological excavations Keiller did in the 1930s and visit the Avebury Manor and Garden, nearby West Kennet Long Barrow.

Link: http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/explore/stonehenge-and-avebury
Link: http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/news/9993296.New_look_website_aims_to_boost_tourism_in_Wiltshire/

Merlin says “Great to see Visit Wiltshire have launched a new web site, which will  help tourism in the West”

News blog sponsored by “Stonehenge Guided Tours” – www.StonehengeTours.com

Stonehenge News Blog





Lasers at Stonehenge. British Archaelogy

12 10 2012

At last, after all these years, we’ve got the very first comprehensive study of the actual stones at Stonehenge. As part of its research into Stonehenge and its landscape that will feed into displays at the new visitor centre, English Heritage commissioned Greenhatch Group surveyors to produce the first complete, high resolution 3D digital model of Stonehenge and its immediate landscape, using lasers and a bit of photogrammetry. (http://mikepitts.wordpress.com/)

At last, after all these years, we’ve got the very first comprehensive study of the actual stones at Stonehenge

Then Marcus Abbott (ArcHeritage) and Hugo Anderson-Whymark (freelance lithics specialist) analysed the data, created new digital images and news ways of seeing them, added some of their own photos and spent time amongst the real stones.

In one sense the results are not surprising: it was obvious to anyone with eyes that that we could learn a lot about Stonehenge with a proper study of the stones. And yes, we have learnt a lot. But just about all the details are revelatory.

There are four different areas where new things are really going to change the way we think about the monument:

  • how the stones were dressed and what the original monument looked like
  • prehistoric carvings – difficult to see and unknown to visitors: the new discoveries have doubled the number of such carvings known in the whole of Britain
  • damage by tourists: the scale of damage done by souvenir collectors in the 18th and 19th centuries had not been recognised before
  • graffiti: dates range between 1721 and 1866, though most were carved 1800–1850 – and they’re almost everywhere.

And this must be just the beginning. There are more details yet to see (there is still scope for new and higher resolution survey), and new things to think about in the vast data set.

http://mikepitts.wordpress.com/

If you know Stonehenge, from this alone you can see at once how much new information has been revealed. Amongst other things, it seems fair to draw from this (and other new data) that the sarsen circle probably WAS complete; and that the whole thing was designed to be seen from the north-east, approaching up the Avenue – so the implication follows that the setting midwinter sun you’d be facing to the south-west was the key alignment.

British Archaeology also published the pioneering Stonehenge laser study done in 2002.

Please follow Mike Pitts excellent archaelogy Blog: http://mikepitts.wordpress.com/
L
ink: http://www.archaeologyuk.org/ba/ba73/index.shtml
L
ink: http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/

 

British Archaeology magazine

 

The Council for British Archaeology’s award-winning bi-monthly magazine is the authoritative, in-depth source of information and comment on what’s new, interesting and important in UK archaeology.
Link: http://new.archaeologyuk.org/british-archaeology-magazine

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

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Stonehenge – New Evidence for its Solstitial Function and Approach

9 10 2012

Using the latest 3D laser scanning technology, an English Heritage analysis of Stonehenge has found new evidence of the importance of the two solstices to its creators, including that of the midwinter sunset.

Approach and View from North East Important
The laser scan has revealed significant differences in the way the stones were shaped and worked. These differences show that Stonehenge was not only aligned with the solstices, but that the view of the monument from the Avenue, its ancient processional way to the north east, was particularly important. To approach and view the stone circle from this direction means that the midwinter sunset had special meaning to prehistoric people, and that they made deliberate efforts to create a dramatic spectacle for those approaching the monument from the north east.

The view of Stonehenge as seen from the north east, a view now found to be most important to the creators.

The view of Stonehenge as seen from the north east, a view now found to be most important to the creators.

Stones in the North East Segment Larger and More Uniform

A detailed analysis of the first comprehensive laser survey of Stonehenge reveals that those stones on the outer sarsen circle visible when approaching from the north east have been completely pick dressed – that is, the brown and grey crust on the surface has been removed exposing a fine, bright grey-white surface. By contrast, the outer faces of surviving uprights in the south-western segment of the circle were not pick dressed.

These stones facing north-east are also the largest and most uniform in shape, unlike the south-western segment of the monument where there are several smaller and more irregular stones. The lintels are also exceedingly well worked and finished, compared to those that survive elsewhere in the monument.

Stones on Solstitial Axis most Carefully Shaped and Dressed

The study also shows that the techniques and amounts of labour used vary from stone to stone. These variations provide almost definitive proof that it was the intent of Stonehenge’s builders to align the monument with the two solstices along a north-east/south-west axis.

The sides of the stones that flanked the solstice axis were found to have been most carefully worked to form very straight and narrow rectangular slots. These stones include two of the north-east facing sarsens in the outer circle, the Great Trilithon in the inner sarsen horseshoe, and a now isolated upright stone in the south-west segment of the outer circle.

Since all other stones have visibly more natural, less neat outlines, this strongly suggests that special effort was made to dress those that flank the NE/SW axis to allow a more dramatic and obvious passage of sunlight through the stone circle on midsummer and midwinter solstices.

Laser scan of the Great Trilithon reveals its extremely straight, neat outline and smooth surface, compared with all the other trilithons. It suggests that Stonehenge creators made deliberate efforts to shape and dress it more carefully due to its special position on the solstice axis, just as they did for other stones that flank this axis.

Laser scan of the Great Trilithon reveals its extremely straight, neat outline and smooth surface, compared with all the other trilithons. It suggests that Stonehenge creators made deliberate efforts to shape and dress it more carefully due to its special position on the solstice axis, just as they did for other stones that flank this axis.

Solstitial Alignment Currently Severed by Road to be Restored

Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge Director at English Heritage, said: “The new presentation of Stonehenge will enable visitors to appreciate the importance of the solstitial alignment far better. It’s why we are closing the A344 – which severs the alignment – to enable the stone circle to be reunited with the Avenue.”

The new Stonehenge visitor centre at Airman’s Corner, 1.5 miles west and out of sight of Stonehenge, is scheduled to open in late 2013.

Findings Exceed Expectations

Analysis of the laser scan has also led to the discovery of many more prehistoric carvings, including 71 new Bronze Age axeheads, which bring the number of this type of carvings known at Stonehenge to 115.

Susan Greaney, Senior Properties Historian at English Heritage, said: “We didn’t expect the results to be so revealing about the architecture of Stonehenge. It has given further scientific basis to the theory of the solstitial alignment and the importance of the approach to the monument from the Avenue in mid winter.

“Analysis of the different techniques used to dress the stones may even help to refine the chronology of the construction. Disappointing to some, the scan has also ruled out many poorly defined lines and hollows previously thought to be possible prehistoric carvings.”

English Heritage commissioned the first comprehensive laser survey on Stonehenge in 2011. Archaeological analysis was then carried out to examine the high-resolution data that was produced for all the stone surfaces.

Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/about/news/stonehenge-solstitial-function/

Blog sponsored bt ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ www.StonehengeTour.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge up close: digital laser scan reveals secrets of the past

9 10 2012

Most detailed analysis yet of prehistoric stone circle shows how masons spent more time making key areas look the best

Like any corner-cutting modern builder, the ancient stonemasons who built Stonehenge lavished the most work and best materials where they would be first seen –shining in the last light of the setting winter solstice sun, or at dawn on the longest day.

Stonehenge: a digital laser scan has revealed tool marks from 4,500 years ago, and graffiti made by Victorian visitors. Photograph: Yoshihiro Takada/Corbis

Stonehenge: a digital laser scan has revealed tool marks from 4,500 years ago, and graffiti made by Victorian visitors. Photograph: Yoshihiro Takada/Corbis

The first complete 3D laser scan of the stone circle has also revealed tool marks made 4,500 years ago, scores of little axehead graffiti added when the enormous slabs were already 1,000 years old, and damage and graffiti contributed by Georgian and Victorian visitors.

The survey, carried out for English Heritage, exposes numerous details now invisible to the naked eye and will be used in displays for the long-awaited new visitor centre, due to open late next year. It shows the stones in unprecedented precision, from the double-decker bus height sarsens from Salisbury Plain that give the monument its unmistakable profile, to the smaller bluestones brought from west Wales by means still hotly debated, and the stumps of stones that have almost been destroyed.

It also confirms the importance of the prehistoric monument’s alignment on the winter and summer solstice. The largest, most uniform and most imposing stones, carefully shaped and dressed through hundreds of hours of work with stone hammers, were set where they would be seen first by people approaching the monument from north-east along the Avenue, a processional way that would have been particularly spectacular at the midwinter sunset.

In an epic piece of work, the stones facing in that direction were laboriously shaped to appear straight and regular, their original rough brown surfaces hammered away, or pick-dressed, to expose the lighter inner layer of stone, which when newly worked would have shone in the sunlight. The gigantic lintels that bridge the uprights were also elaborately worked to even their size and height.

In contrast, on the opposite side of the circle the builders only bothered to pick-dress the inner faces of the surviving uprights. The backs, they clearly reckoned, would never be studied in detail.

Clive Ruggles, emeritus professor of archaeoastronomy at the University of Leicester, said it was already clear that Stonehenge was one of the earliest examples of a monument aligned on the winter and summer solstices.

“Now we can see how the utmost care and attention was devoted to ensuring the pristine appearance of Stonehenge for those completing their final approach to the monument along the solstitial axis. The effect would have been especially powerful at the two times of year when the sunlight itself shone along the alignment – when those approaching had the midsummer rising sun behind or the midwinter setting sun ahead.”

Some hollows, cracks and lines interpreted in the past as carvings have been revealed as natural features, but what astonished Susan Greaney, an English Heritage historian and expert on Stonehenge, is the extent of surviving tool marks.

“Some are quite visible, and have long been noted, but the surprise to me was that everywhere we looked, on every surface, even on very weathered faces of stones which have been lying on the ground for centuries, we could see evidence of the stone working. On some you can see where different groups worked on different areas of the same stone – and with varying skills.”

Long after the monument was built, when Bronze Age burial mounds rich in grave goods began to be scattered across the plain around Stonehenge, and the archaeological evidence suggests those who could make or trade in metal goods had an almost shamanic status, people carved little images of daggers and axes, many now invisible to the naked eye, into the stones. Scores more have been revealed by the scan, including 71 new axe heads, bringing the total to 115 – doubling the number ever recorded in Britain.

“It is wonderful to have discovered so many more, but what is fascinating is that they are carved without regard to the importance or the siting of the stones – almost as if the people who carved them could no longer quite remember the significance of the monument and how it worked,” Greaney said.

Writing about the project in the new issue of British Archaeology, Marcus Abbott, head of geomatics and visualisation for ArcHeritage, and Hugo Anderson-Whymark, an Oxford based expert on ancient worked stone, note that the 850 gigabytes of data covering hundreds of faces of the stones were equivalent to 750m pages of printed text or 200,000 music files.

“Over the months we have recorded and scrutinised every square centimetre of Stonehenge in unparalleled detail, revealing over 700 areas of stoneworking, rock art, graffiti, damage and restoration.”

They processed the data digitally to strip away weathering and surface texture, and as well as revealing carved details, were able to show that some stones that now appear insignificant were originally much more imposing, but have either broken naturally or been quarried for building stone.

“Fallen stones were particularly vulnerable – the analysis suggests that six have lost tens of tons of stone – and as Stonehenge became a major tourist attraction in the 19th century visitors could actually hire chisels to hack away their own souvenirs.

For Greaney their work answers one of the Stonehenge mysteries – but leaves another unsolved. Some had suggested because some stones are so much less imposing and others are missing, that Stonehenge was never finished.

“I think we can say now that the monument certainly was finished – but where the stone went is still a puzzle. At Avebury you can readily see stone reused in nearby buildings from medieval times on, but Stonehenge is some distance from the nearest village, so it’s much less easy to see where the stone would have been taken – although we have looked far and wide, we have not succeeded in finding evidence of the re-use of the missing stones.”
Source: Maev Kennedy The Guardian,       

Sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle News Blog

 





The Solstice connection. Laser scanning uncovers new Stonehenge evidence.

8 10 2012

English Heritage experts have used 3D laser scanning technology to discover new evidence of the importance of the two solstices to its creators.
The laser scan has revealed significant differences in the way the stones were shaped and worked. These differences show that Laser scanning uncovers new Stonehenge evidence Stonehenge was not only aligned with the solstices, but that the view of the monument from the Avenue, its ancient processional way to the north east, was particularly important.

To approach and view the stone circle from this direction means that the midwinter sunset had special meaning to prehistoric people, and that they made deliberate efforts to create a dramatic spectacle for those approaching the monument from the north east.
A detailed analysis of the first comprehensive laser survey of Stonehenge reveals that those stones on the outer sarsen circle visible when approaching from the north east have been completely pick dressed – that is, the brown and grey crust on the surface has been removed exposing a fine, bright grey-white surface. By contrast, the outer faces of surviving uprights in the south-western segment of the circle were not pick dressed.
These stones facing north-east are also the largest and most uniform in shape, unlike the south-western segment of the monument where there are several smaller and more irregular stones. The lintels are also exceedingly well worked and finished, compared to those that survive elsewhere in the monument.
The study also shows that the techniques and amounts of labour used vary from stone to stone. These variations provide almost definitive proof that it was the intent of Stonehenge’s builders to align the monument with the two solstices along a NE/SW axis.
The sides of the stones that flanked the solstice axis were found to have been most carefully worked to form very straight and narrow rectangular slots. These stones include two of the north-east facing sarsens in the outer circle, the Great Trilithon in the inner sarsen horseshoe, and a now isolated upright stone in the south-west segment of the outer circle.
Since all other stones have visibly more natural, less neat outlines, this strongly suggests that special effort was made to dress those that flank the NE/SW axis to allow a more dramatic and obvious passage of sunlight through the stone circle on midsummer and midwinter solstices.
Professor Clive Ruggles, Emeritus Professor of Archaeo-astronomy at University of Leicester, said: “This extraordinary new evidence not only confirms the importance of the solstitial alignment at Stonehenge, but also shows unequivocally that the formal approach was always intended to be from the north-east, up the Avenue towards the direction of midwinter sunset.

“We see how the utmost care and attention was devoted to ensuring the pristine appearance of Stonehenge for those completing their final approach to the monument at the two times of the year when sunlight shines along the alignment – when those approaching had the midsummer rising sun behind or the midwinter setting sun ahead.”

Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge Director at English Heritage, said: “The new presentation of Stonehenge will enable visitors to appreciate the importance of the solstitial alignment far better. It’s why we are closing the A344 – which severs the alignment – to enable the stone circle to be reunited with the Avenue.”

The new Stonehenge visitor centre at Airman’s Corner, 1.5 miles west and out of sight of Stonehenge, is scheduled to open in late 2013.

Analysis of the laser scan has also led to the discovery of many more prehistoric carvings, including 71 new Bronze Age axeheads, which bring the number of this type of carvings known in Stonehenge to 115.

Susan Greaney, Senior Properties Historian at English Heritage, said: “We didn’t expect the results of a laser scan to be so revealing about the architecture of Stonehenge and its function.”

English Heritage commissioned the first comprehensive laser survey on Stonehenge in 2011. Archaeological analysis was then carried out to examine the high-resolution data that was produced for all the stone surfaces.

Link Source:http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/news/9971558.Laser_scanning_uncovers_new_Stonehenge_evidence/?ref=twtrec
Link: High definition surveying. Laser scanning to 3D models & 2D drawing www.terrainsurveys.co.uk/
Link: http://blog.stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk/2011/09/16/3d-stonehenge-model-unveiled/
Link: http://blog.stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk/2011/03/10/laser-scan-for-stonehenge-secrets/

Sponsored by ‘Stonehnege Guided Tours’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge Cycle Challenge – 2013

3 10 2012

Join the Stonehenge Cycle Challenge and pedal into history. In September 2013 members of English Heritage will be able to take part in an exclusive sponsored cycle ride, which traces the route of the Stonehenge bluestones from Wales to Wiltshire.

Starting at the Preseli Hills in the Pembrokeshire National Park and ending inside the stone circle at Stonehenge with a celebratory glass of champagne, this really is a monumental ride of a lifetime.

When is it and who can get involved?

This three day event, which runs from 13-15 September 2013, is ideal for keen cyclists with a love of history.

The journey will cover:

  • Preseli Hills to Llandovery on day one (approx. 50 miles)
  • Llandovery to Chepstow via Brecon Beacons on day two (approx. 60 miles) and finally
  • Chepstow to Stonehenge on day three (approx 65 miles).

Cyclists will be able to take in some of the most beautiful Welsh and English countryside with plenty of water stops along the way, as well as much-deserved pub lunches.

Why cycle Stonehenge?

This sponsored ride, open to both individuals and teams, will raise much needed money to help fund improvements to the unique prehistoric landscape surrounding Stonehenge.

These improvements include:

  • A new environmentally sensitive visitor centre 1.5 miles away at Airman’s Corner
  • Removing the current car park and facilities at the Stones and returning these areas to grass
  • Closure of the A344 with the section from Stonehenge Bottom to Byway 12 reverting to grass, allowing Stonehenge to be reunited with its ancient processional way

Find out more about our ambitious plans to transform Stonehenge.

Please note: a registration fee will be charged to cover the cost of the safe running of this event.

How to get involved

If you would like to take part in the Stonehenge Cycle Challenge, you can register your interest by emailing: cycle.stonehenge@english-heritage.org.uk

Or why not support Stonehenge without breaking out into a sweat by donating online.

Blog sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “Im out of breath just thinking about it”

Stonehnege News Blog





Moving the Stonehenge Bluestones: At last a successful method is demonstrated!

3 10 2012

Without a single archaeologist in sight, a couple of boat builders and an inspired TV company show just how easy it can be to load a full-size bluestone onto a replica Bronze-Age boat. Robin Heath was there and took some photographs
Stonehenge Bluestone experimentOn the 15th August, near Poppit Sands, in Cardigan, West Wales, several skilled artisans showed how they would load a boat with a multi-ton bluestone. They did this with a force 7 on-shore gale battering the shore-line. In the time it took for the tide to come in, a flawless lowering took place of a large bluestone onto a prepared cradle within a near-replica of the boat found at Ferriby during the early 70s.
Moving the BluestonesThe Ferriby boat has been dated around 2000 BC, making it much too late for the period of bluestone moving (given at around 2700 – 2400 BC depending on which source one reads). But the boat is entirely believable as a design possible within the known technology of that period. Basically, if one can make Stonehenge, replete with mortice and tenon joints and tongue and grooving in stone, then one can make planks and joints in wood!. The remains of timber roundhouses reveal how timber was strung and stitched together.
On the 15th August, near Poppit Sands, in Cardigan, West Wales, several skilled artisans showed how they would load a boat with a multi-ton bluestone. They did this with a force 7 on-shore gale battering the shore-line. In the time it took for the tide to come in, a flawless lowering took place of a large bluestone onto a prepared cradle within a near-replica of the boat found at Ferriby during the early 70s.

Under the direction of a film crew working for the state-side Discovery Channel, not a single multicoloured pullover bearded archaeologist was harmed during this risky undertaking, primarily because none were employed. Instead, the company wisely sought out highly skilled local craftpeople, Nick, Dougie and Paul, time-served in the construction and repair of wooden boats including one (www.Keewaydin.com) weighing in at over 100 tons, and having much experience of building large wooden structures for maneuvering seemingly unfeasibly heavy weights. They delivered the goods with utter confidence and without fuss. The spectacle was a joy to behold.

The history of replicating aspects of how the bluestones were moved from sites in the Preseli mountains of West Wales is colourful, to say the least.  In 1923, Dr H H Thomas, a petrologist, wrote a seemingly innocent paper indicating that most of the Stonehenge bluestones had originated from just a very few outcrops around Carn Meini, near the village of Mynachlog ddu in North Pembrokeshire. Ever since a series of vitriolic and quite emotional arguments have periodically flared up to either applaud Dr Thomas on finally nailing this vital question for Stonehenge researchers, or to completely rubbish his experimental methodology because the stones “must have got there by the action of glaciation.”

The question is an important one, because if moved by the hand of man, it poses some humdinger other questions about the capabilities and intentions of the Stonehenge builders. These are uncomfortable to mainstream archaeologists, many of whom lie awake at night racked with anxiety whenever the present rather cosy model of Neolithic life is threatened by increased reality.

This ‘bluestone argument’ has recently been reactivated through the work of a team of geologists and archaeologists whose most well-known spokesperson, the amiable Professor Mike Parker-Pearson (Sheffield), oversaw the excavation of a buried and large megalith from a lowland outcrop on the northern side of the Preselis near Pont Saeson, near Brynberian, in 2011.Although not a classic spotted bluestone, this beast’s geology exactly matched that of the nearby outcrop and also matched the chemistry of several others of the “non-bluestone bluestones” at Stonehenge. The theory is put forward that, based on the evidence so far, no ice-age could have moved this stone or other ones from this site over the Preselis to Stonehenge. That the outcrop lies adjacent to a tributary of the Nevern river also supports the theory of transport by river, then the sea, as per the now traditional theory first promoted in the 1950s by Professor Richard Atkinson (Cardiff) and described within his still remarkably comprehensive book Stonehenge (Unwin, 1956). A later edition of his book has a Byronic illustration ( by Alan Sorrell) of a raft holding a doomed bluestone and crewed by savages being lashed by a Pembrokeshire so’westerly.

Now Atkinson really was old school archaeologist. Never far from a cigarette holder and always sporting a bow-tie, ‘Dickie’ Atkinson produced a classic 1950s TV re-inactment of bluestone moving using ‘multiple punts’ and other supposedly neolithic craft on a stretch of the Bristol Avon, using public schoolboys as stone-age stone movers. It was all rather Enid Blyton and Eton mess.

This may appear laughably naïve to us today, yet later attempts have been far more dangerous to life and limb than this first filmed effort. Perhaps it was the lashings of ginger beer that fortified the crews on the Atkinson boats, or perhaps it was just that folk had far more common sense than today, for since then, two attempts have sent bluestones tumbling to the bottom of Milford Haven, or Neyland, and at least four people have been hospitalized with crushing and fracturing injuries as a result of attempting to lift or move these heavy monoliths.

During the heady days of the new millennium, a lottery funded attempt to take a bluestone from Carn Menyn to Stonehenge became part of local folklore, and is a story that will be told to grandchildren by their grandparents for a while yet, as it contains all the tragedy, farce and comedy of a good narrative. The fated single stone now languishes in 70 feet of water opposite Pembroke Dock, where it lends support to the dangerous theory that suggests, perhaps, we have actually devolved in our abilities as a species since the Stone Age.

Those who have taken the trouble to read my own contributions to the matter of Stonehenge (in books, presentations and via http://www.skyandlandscape.com) will appreciate that another question needs to be asked concerning the monument. Once they are seen to have been moved to Salisbury Plain by the hand of man, it goes beyond how the bluestones arrived there and becomes why they were so important in the monument? It is 135 miles (as the crow flies) from Preseli to Stonehenge, and these stones were not moved without some powerful driving motivation. What might that be, eh? If the glaciation theory is attenuated by this new evidence, then ipso facto the argument for the bluestones having been moved by human intent is fortified. And this then begs a really tricky ‘geomantic’ question: Might the location of the bluestones, rather than their geological composition, be a significant reason for their required presence at Stonehenge?

No one in academia presently wants to get anywhere near this question, yet today’s successful positing of a fat bluestone into the bowels of a believable neolithic boat scores an important point in supporting the theory that the moving of the bluestones occurred through human intent. That being the case, why the Neolithic culture should have been compelled to undertake such a task now surely commands our utmost attention.

Watch the increasing thrumming emanating from various blogs and websites manned 24/7 by researchers, zealots, seekers, bigots and unemployed folk sporting archaeology degrees. Finally, watch the documentary on the Discovery Channel when it comes out!

Written by
Source Link: http://www.matrixofcreation.co.uk/megalithic-sciences/item/93-moving-the-bluestones-at-last-a-successful-method-is-demonstrated

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Merlin says “The BIG  debate continues – Glacier V Bronze Age Boat”

 The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge life-sized Neolithic homes to be built

2 10 2012

A contract to build three life-sized Neolithic homes at Stonehenge in Wiltshire has been put out to tender.

English Heritageis inviting contractors to bid for the £60,000 project, which is part of a £27m scheme to improve the setting of the monument.

Using authentic materials, the prehistoric homes will be based on those excavated at Durrington Walls.

English Heritage said the buildings will provide a “real and tangible link for visitors to the distant past”.

The Neolithic homes will be based on dwellings excavated at nearby Durrington Walls

The Neolithic homes will be based on dwellings excavated at nearby Durrington Walls

The £27m scheme to build a new visitor centre and close the road alongside the ancient monument, was begun in July.

But a “key aim” for the new centre is to create “a sense of prehistoric people using, working and living in the landscape”, an English Heritage spokesperson said.

‘Interactive and experimental’

The recreated Neolithic buildings will form part of an “interactive and experiential” external exhibition at the 3,500-year-old World Heritage site which receives more than one million visitors a year.

“Visitors will be able to walk into these houses, see how people may have lived 4,500 years ago and experience something of the lifestyle of the builders who constructed Stonehenge,” the spokesperson said.

The prehistoric homes will be based on the foundations of dwellings discovered at Durrington Walls in 2007.

The large settlement, dating back to 2600-2500 BC, was discovered under earthworks 3km (2 miles) from the stone circle.

‘Learning project’

“We’ve had about 15 to 20 contractors – mainly architects, traditional builders and civil engineers – respond,” said Robert Campbell from English Heritage.

“But it’s a learning project – the contractor will be working with volunteers, using Neolithic building techniques and materials which hopefully will have been collected from the local area.

“It’s a fantastic learning experience – but quite a commitment.”

A prototype Neolithic house will be erected at Old Sarum in early 2013 with the new visitor centre at Stonehenge due to open in Autumn 2013. Link source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-19797815

Sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “I want to live in one”

The Stonehenge News Blog





Autumnal Equinox 2012

18 09 2012
The Autumn Equinox (also known as Mabon) is celebrated when day and night are of equal duration before the descent into increasing darkness and is the final festival of the season of harvest.  For many pagans, this is the time to reflect on the past season, and to recognize the balance of the year has changed. 2012 Autumnal Equinox takes place on September 22nd, at 16.49am UK time , but when ‘open access’ to Stonehenge starts is decided by English Heritage and depends on visibility.

The sunrise is at 6.48am.  Equinox sunrise is Saturnday 22 September 2012, expect English Heritiage to open their gates around 6 a.m

Stonehenge EqunoxPublic access to Stonehenge is denied after dark, so if you want to see the sunset on September 22nd (18.59pm), you’ll have to stand on either the Avenue or on the side of the A344

The Autumnal Equinox

In September is the Fall Equinox, which has come to be called Mabon by many contemporary Neo-Pagans. Occuring approximately on September 21st, this is the day when the hours of daylight and nighttime are once again balanced. Calender days from now until the Winter Solstice will slowly get shorter and shorter in their daylight hours.

Agriculturally, this time of year the harvest is now in full swing, with late summer and fall fruits, vegetables and grains being gathered up before winter. This is the time of year a lot of canning or preserving of garden foods takes place. Hunting season also starts around this time, and this was when farmers would slaughter animals and preserve meat for the coming months as well.

This holiday is the last of the harvest holidays which began with the summer solstice and continued with Lammas.

September 22nd Harvest time!
The Autumn Equinox or Harvest Home is also called Mabon, pronounced ‘MAY-bon’, after the Welsh god Mabon ap Modron, which means literally ‘son of mother’. Mabon appears in ‘The Mabinogion’ tale. The Druids call this celebration, Mea’n Fo’mhair, and honour The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to the trees. The Welsh know this time as ‘Alban Elfed’, meaning ‘light of autumn’. This is the point of the year when once again day and night are equal – 12 hours, as at Ostara, the Spring Equinox. The Latin word for Equinox means ‘time of equal days and nights’. After this celebration the descent into winter brings hours of increasing darkness and chiller temperatures. It is the time of the year when night conquers day. After the Autumn Equinox the days shorten and nights lengthen. To astrologers this is the date on which the sun enters the sign of Libra, the scales, reflecting appropriately the balanced day and night of the equinox. This was also the time when the farmers brought in their harvested goods to be weighed and sold.

Harvest festival This is the second festival of the season of harvest – at the beginning of the harvest, at Lammas, winter retreated to his underworld, now at the Autumn equinox he comes back to earth. For our Celtic ancestors this was time to reflect on the past season and celebrate nature’s bounty and accept that summer is now over. Harvest Home marks a time of rest after hard work, and a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of nature. This is the time to look back on the past year and what you have achieved and learnt, and to plan for the future. The full moon nearest to the Autumn Equinox is called the Harvest Moon and farmers would harvest their crops by then, as part of the second harvest celebration. Mabon was when livestock would be slaughtered and preserved (salted and smoked) to provide enough food for the winter. At the South Pole they will be celebrating the first appearance of the sun in six months. However, at the North Pole they will be preparing for six months of darkness. During Medieval times, the Christian Church replaced Pagan solstices and equinox celebrations with Christianized occasions. The Autumn equinox celebration was Michaelmas, the feast of the Archangel Michael.

The triple Goddess – worshipped by the Ancient Britons, is now in her aspect of the ageing Goddess and now passes from Mother to Crone, until she is reborn as a youthful virgin as the wheel of nature turns. At the Autumn equinox the goddess offers wisdom, healing and rest. Mabon Traditions The Wicker man There was a Celtic ritual of dressing the last sheaf of corn to be harvested in fine clothes, or weaving it into a wicker-like man or woman. It was believed the sun or the corn spirit was trapped in the corn and needed to be set free. This effigy was usually burned in celebration of the harvest and the ashes would be spread on the fields. This annual sacrifice of a large wicker man (representing the corn spirit) is thought by many to have been the origin of the misconception that Druids made human sacrifices. ‘The reaping is over and the harvest is in, Summer is finished, another cycle begins’ In some areas of the country the last sheaf was kept inside until the following spring, when it would be ploughed back into the land. In Scotland, the last sheaf of harvest is called ‘the Maiden’, and must be cut by the youngest female in attendance.

To Autumn O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit Beneath my shady roof, there thou may’st rest, And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe; And all the daughters of the year shall dance, Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers. William Blake Mabon is a time to reflect, as we reap the harvest of experience from the past year – the completion of another turn of the Great Wheel. Corn Dollies Corn dollies were also made from the last sheaf and kept in the house to protect the inhabitants from bad spirits during the long winter. Apples To honour the dead, it was also traditional at Mabon to place apples on burial cairns, as symbolism of rebirth and thanks. This also symbolizes the wish for the living to one day be reunited with their loved ones. Mabon is also known as the Feast of Avalon, deriving from the meaning of Avalon being, ‘the land of the apples’.

Merlin says “Equinoxes do not always occur on the same day each year, and generally will occur about 6 hours later each year, with a jump of a day (backwards) on leap years”

Link: http://pagancalendar.co.uk/

Follow Stonehenge on Twitter for latest Equinox news and information – click here

Blog sponsored by  www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge –
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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