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 Winter Solstice is on 22nd December 2011

19 12 2011

For us in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of 2011 and falls on Thursday, 22nd DecemberAfter the winter solstice, the days will get longer. Celebration time!

Stonehenge Winter Sunrise

Stonehenge Winter Sunrise

December 2011 solstice will occur on Wednesday, 21st December  at 11:30 p.m or 05:30am Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on December 22, 2011. It is also known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere due to the seasonal differences.

The date varies from December 20 to December 23 depending on the year in the Gregorian calendar. The 2012 December solstice will be on December 21, 2012, which is a speculated date for “the end of the world”.

Use the Seasons Calculator to find December solstice date in other time zones or other years.

Solstice and Stonehenge

At Stonehenge  on this day, people watch as the sun sets in the midst of three great stones – known as the Trilithon – consisting of two large vertical stones supporting a third, horizontal stone across the top.

In the case of Stonehenge, this great Trilithon faces outwards from the center of the monument, with its smooth flat face turned toward the midwinter sun. In fact, the primary axes of Stonehenge seems to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunset.

This Stonehenge monument – built in 3,000 to 2,000 BC – shows how carefully our ancestors watched the sun. Astronomical observations such as these surely controlled human activities such as the mating of animals, the sowing of crops and the metering of winter reserves between harvests. Stonehenge is perhaps the most famous of of the ancient astronomical monuments found around the world.

Stonehenge on Twitter.  For the latest Solstice information and all the latest Stonehenge news (including images live from the Stones) follow: http://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Stonehenge snow

Will it snow at Stonehenge this year ?

The December Solstice Explained

The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south receive 24 hours of daylight.

The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere during the December solstice. It also marks the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Those living or travelling south from the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the midnight sun during this time of the year.

On the contrary, for an observer in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight for those living north of the Tropic of Cancer. Those living or traveling north of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.

What is the Winter Solstice?
The Winter Solstice is a magickal event, yet sadly, it is in the main a forgotten celebration. At this time, Christmas preparations are taking place, and the focus is primarily on ‘what colour scheme to go for?  Will the wrapping paper co-ordinate?  Have I forgotten anyone?  What shall we eat?  Will my funds stretch!’

The Solstice is however, the complete antithesis of what has now become Christmas in contemporary society. Also known as ‘Yule’, the Solstice is generally celebrated on the 21st of December, (although the astronomical date changes from year to year – this year the actual Solstice takes place on the 22nd, at 00.22a.m). The Winter Solstice is the shortest day, and longest night of the year, and is the traditional time to celebrate the truly important things in life: your family, your children, your home and looking forward to a wonderful year to come.

Yule is a time throughout time that honours love and new birth, as well as the collective unity of man. Just as Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, Yule celebrates the birth of the Sun God – child of the Goddess in the Pagan belief system. Yule is primarily the celebration of the rebirth of the Sun. Many people associate the Winter Solstice, or winter itself with death, as it is the season in which nature is dormant, and in which many plants die off and crops are scarce. Conversely, the Winter Solstice, although it is the longest night, (boasting more than 12 hours of darkness), it is also the turning point of the year, as following this night the sun grows stronger in the sky, and the days become gradually longer once more. Thus the Winter Solstice is also a celebration of rebirth, and there are many traditions that stem from this perspective.

Traditions:  Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe

The Holly and the Ivy

The holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown.

Chorus:
Oh, the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The shining of the winter stars
As the longer days draw near.

The holly bears a blossom
As white as any flower
As our Mother bears the infant Sun
In the winter’s darkest hour.

Chorus

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
As our Father bears the hunter’s spear
for His hungry children’s good.

Chorus

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn
As we shall bear our song of hope
On triumphant Yuletide morn.

Adapted by Hilda Marshal.

The tradition of bringing sprigs of Holly and Ivy into the home pays homage to the masculine and feminine elements. Both of these powerfully magickal plants are evergreen, a reminder in itself that the earth never dies, but merely sleeps during the winter months, (a tradition which was the precursor to our modern tradition of the evergreen Christmas tree). The male element is represented by the prickly holly; with its sexually potent red berries. The mistletoe is the female; entwining, gentle yet powerful. An alternative view of Holly is that the leaves of the plant represent the male, whereas the red berries symbolise the resting Mother Goddess, and life returning to the land.

The symbolism of Holly is especially potent. The Holly King and the Oak King are part of Celtic/Pagan mythology, and they represent two sides to the Greenman, or Horned God. Since the Summer Solstice, the Holly King has ruled the half-year of waning light, yet on this night the Oak King will take his throne to rule. In other words, the Oak King rules over the lighter half of the year, (Yule to Litha), and the Holly King over the darker half (Litha to Yule).

Another account of the Holly King and Oak King imagery is that they do not directly switch places twice a year, but rather both exist concurrently. The Oak King is born of the Goddess at Yule, growing in power through the spring, peaking at Beltane and then weakening through autumn until he dies at Samhain.
The Holly King however lives a reverse existence, and is born at Midsummer (Litha), increasing in strength throughout summer and autumn, reaching his zenith at Samhain. His sway then diminishes until it is his turn to pass at Beltane. Thus the two Kings enjoy a more elaborate sense of duality in this account, and it is perhaps a better illustration of their twofold nature, and their varying levels of influence throughout the year. As such they both have their characteristics. The reign of the Oak King is a time for growth, development, healing, and new beginnings. The Holly King’s time is for rest, reflection, and learning. Thus the Holly King is honoured with the boughs of Holly, and the Oak King is honoured with Mistletoe – the belief being that Mistletoe is best grown on the Oak as Mistletoe’s most powerful host, (a belief strengthened by the opinion of the 17th century herbalist, Culpepper). Ivy is representative of the Goddess; mother of both Kings, both Kings also being her consort – again powerful ideas of duality.

Mistletoe has a most compelling and influential history. According to ancient Druid tradition, Mistletoe was the most sacred of all plants. Mistletoe was used by the Druid priesthood in a very special ceremony; held five days after the New Moon following winter solstice. The Druid priests would cut Mistletoe from a holy Oak tree with a golden sickle. The branches had to be caught before they touched the ground. The priest then divided the branches into sprigs and dispersed them to the people, who hung them over doorways as protection. The folklore, and the magickal powers of this plant, have blossomed over time, although most are now forgotten. It was believed it had miraculous properties that could cure illnesses, antidote poisons, ensure fertility and protect against witchcraft. It was also a sign of peace and goodwill. When warring tribes came across Mistletoe, a temporary truce would be observed until the next day.

However, although Mistletoe carries a broad array of customs, and benefits in ancient times, the tradition which has lived on is that concerning fertility and love. According to most current day traditions, a young woman stands under the mistletoe and awaits her lover’s kiss. But from where did this tradition spring? It is considered that Mistletoe and kissing tradition is borne of a Norse myth.

The Norse god Balder was son of Frigga, goddess of love and beauty. She loved her son to such a degree that she had the four elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth- promise that they would not harm her son. However, Loki, an evil spirit, found the one thing that could defy this promise – mistletoe. He made an arrow from its wood, which was shot at Balder’s heart, and he fell dead, and Frigga’s tears became the mistletoe’s white berries. Balder is however, restored to life, and Frigga is so grateful that she reverses the reputation of the offending plant–making it a symbol of love and promising to bestow a kiss upon anyone who passes under it.

In the true spirit of Yule, focus your celebrations as a family upon love, and the fact that every ending is a new beginning. There are many simple rituals that you can enjoy as a family, to seal your bonds and celebrate each other at this magickal time of year.

Link: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/december-solstice.html
Link: http://brighterblessings.co.uk/articles/yule.htm
Link: http://earthsky.org
Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/
Link: http://www.druidry.org/
Linj: http://www.phreak.co.uk/stonehenge/psb/stonecam.htm

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “Happy solstice everyone, see you at the Stones..”

Stonehenge on Twitter.  For the latest Solstice information and all the latest Stonehenge news follow: http://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Season Greetings…………….

15 12 2011

Merlin says:  For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer –   See you at the Winter Solstice 2011

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle website





Stonehenge Tours at Christmas and the New Year

14 12 2011

There are a number of tours departing from London that include Stonehenge on Christmas Day, the New Year and over the festive period.  Please use the link below to view the available coach tours.

All are discounted and have printable tickets

Top Stonehenge tour operators:
The Stonehenge Experts – www.StonehengeTours.com
Coach tours departing from London- www.SightseeingTours.co.uk
Histouries UK (Bespoke Tours),  – www.Histouries.co.uk

Stonehenge Christmas Toursclick here

Christmas Eve in Windsor, Stone
Christmas in Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath
Boxing Day in Windsor, Stonehenge and BathPrivate Viewing of Stonehenge including Bath and Lacock

 

Melin says:  Its a good time to visit Wiltshire, in particular Salisbury

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stoneheneg Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge Solstice Snow Globe, and other crap gifts

3 12 2011

Looking for that perfect ‘Stonehenge’ gift for a loved one this Christmas ? Look no futher I have sourced some real rubbish to waste your money on (see below)  My personal favourite is the tasteful  ‘Solstice Wall Mounted Sculpture.’  Tongue firmly in cheek

Stonehenge Solstice Sunset Snow Waterball Christmas Gift
Stonehenge Snow GlobePicture Print Of: A Fabulous Print of Stonehenge Solstice at Sunset…
Made from Clear Acrylic Wipe Clean Plastic with a Gold Coloured Base
Comes Filled with Water with Lot’s of Sparkly Silver & White Glitter Flec’s
When Shaken Will Give a Pretty Sparkling Snow Storm Effect
The Same Picture Image Can be Seen from Both Sides of Globe
This Waterball Would Make a Very Pretty Gift…

Merlin says: Every mantlepiece should have one (except mine)…………..


Mouse Mat
I Love Stonehenge Decorated Mouse Pad Click here:
Merlin says: How can you possibly use a comuter without one of these

 

 

 

STONEHENGE BELT BUCKLE

Stonehenge BeltHand painted buckle. Can also be used as an ornament with the supplied display stand. Suitable for detatchable snap-fit belts up to 1.5 inches wide (sold separately – of course) Click here

Merlin Says:  This will really pull the chicks (hmmm)

Its gets better…………………….
Stonehenge Wall hangingsStonehenge Summer Solstice Relief Wall Mounted Sculpture – Click here
This is a superb 3-dimensional wall sculpture portraying Stonehenge by Garry White. Measures 23cm by 21cm and stands off the wall by 5cm making a dramatic and eyecatching statement. This is a wall mounted plaque and comes ready to hang with a hook attached on the back. Made from poured stone which is stone dust bonded with resin resulting in a richly detailed piece with a high quality stone-like finish. Hand painted and individually finished by hand.

Merlin says: Hideous!  Losing the will to live

 

Stonehenge cuff linksStonehenge Cuff links – click here
Revisit the history with a unique cufflink with a picture of great historic landmark- Stone Henge on it. Stay connected to roots! Buy for yourself or present it to someone special. Comes wrapped in a beautiful gift box to add worth.

Merlin says: Classy!   Will match my Stonehenge socks (yes you can really buy Stonehenge socks)

 

Stonehenge Tax DiskStonehenge Solstice Sunset Car Tax Disc Holder – click here
Car Tax Disc-Licence Holder…
Design /Print: A Fabulous Print of Stonehenge Solstice at Sunset…
A Self Adhesive Top Quality PVC Vehicle Tax Disc /Licence Holder
Easy Peel Back Backing that Reveals a Clear PVC Outer Rim Around the Image When Removed
Photo /Image is Seen Inside the Vehicle As the Tax Must be Displayed & Seen from the Outside
Gift Packed in a Clear Polybag with Header Card at Top
All Our Licence Holders are Made Using the Highest Quality Materials Available and with Crystal Clear Images
A Perfect Gift… Or Your Own Special Treat!

Merlin says: Won’t be seen at the Solstice without one!

 STONEHENGE BIBBib with Stonehenge, boulders – Click here

  • Ergonomically designed for comfortable fit
  • Adjustable necklace for indivudual fit
  • Approved for food use
  • Washable

Size: 11.4″ x 7.8″

Merlin says: Whatever next – I give up…………….

Build Your Own Stonehenge (Running Press Mini Kits) – Click here
Build StonehengeAh Stonehenge. The mystical place where Tess is arrested in the heartbreaking climax of ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’. And of course where our colleague Simon passed out after a rather wild night at the Summer Solstice. Whatever your knowledge or experience of this legendary site, you can now own your own version of it.

Merlin says:
Got 60 seconds  and £5 to waste – nows your chance, buy one of these

Please visit our shop: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/stonetours-21
(there are also some good books etc avaialble – honest)

Any other tacky Stonehenge gift ideas ?

Merlin : Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge Book Gift Guide

3 12 2011

As Mid-Winter approaches, it’s time to consider the accompanying consumerfest. Whether you’re buying gifts for someone else, or just giving yourself a year-end treat, the following is a list of books, in no particular order, that we have enjoyed throughout the year. You may too.

Note that not all of these are new books by any means, but they are books we’ve read, enjoyed and can recommend.

  • Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland Before the Romans – Francis Pryor. The first in a four-part opus spanning athe Ice Age to Modern Times, this books concentrates on the birth of Farming and Agriculture in Britain, a subject close to Pryor’s heart.
  • A History of Ancient Britain – Neil Oliver. A companion to the TV series, this book spans half a million years of human occupation, through several Ice Ages to the Romans, looking at the various objects left behind for us to interpret. A thoughtful read.
  • A Brief History of the Druids (Brief Histories) – Peter Berresford Ellis. Forget the romantic antiquarian view of the Druids, this books tells it like it is, using the latest research into classical sources to give a good general overview of life and society in the pre-Roman period.
  • A Brief History of Stonehenge – Aubrey Burl. Although titled ‘A Brief History’, the scope and detail in this book is remarkable. casting aside the more lunatic fringe ideas, this book deals purely in facts, but is no less readable for all that. The ‘Brief History’ series generally is to be recommended, whatever your historical period of interest.
  • The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain – Julian Cope. First written in the 1990′s and recently re-printed, this book spawned a website of the same name that has gone from strength to strength. A series of extraordinary essays followed by a decent gazetteer of some 300 ancient sites to visit in Britain.
  • Standing with Stones: A Photographic Journey Through Megalithic Britain and Ireland –  “Across the length and breadth of Britain and Ireland lies an unsurpassed richness of prehistoric heritage. Standing with Stones is a personal voyage of discovery, taking the reader to over a hundred megalithic sites in a photographic journey through the British Isles.” Stunning photography and an easily accessible text make this book a must-have. A companion DVD is also available.
  • A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany – Aubrey Burl. A superb gazetteer of stone circles. Provides what it says on the cover. In our view, an indispensible item.

Any of the above should provide a decent background to our ancient heritage. There are of course many more academic books we could recommend which go into fine detail about specific sites or time periods, but those above are targetted to a more general readership. If you think we’ve left anything important off our list, please add a comment to let us know.

Thanks to Heritage Action for the recommendations

Stonehenge Bookshop:
Please take the time to visit our online shop: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/stonetours-21

Sponsored by The Stonehenge Tour Company – www.StonehengeTours.com

Melin @ Stonehenge





Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012 – The end of the world is nigh, or is it ?

18 05 2011

 Stonehenge Stone Circle and 2012

I am surprised at the number of people asking questions and talking about the Stonehenge winter solstice next year.  Many connections are being made to the Mayan calander and ‘the end of the world’   Will we see a record number of people turning up for ‘open access’  from around the world on the December 21st 2012 ?

Stonehenge dates back to being built around 3100 BC. This is in collaboration with creation of the Mayan calendar and the invention of the Sumerian language. On analyzing the Stonehenge several historians have suggested the possibility of the Stonehenge giving clues to the end of time in the same way the Mayan calendar does; thus showing a link between the two.
Stonehenge 2012

It was believed that the Stonehenge was used to tell time using the Sun’s solstice. With the rising and setting of the sun, one can observe time. During one day of summer the sun is set as far in the sky as possible. At this time the sun rises in direct alignment to a section of the Stonehenge known as the “heal stone”. This stone serves the same purpose as the hands of a clock as it casts a shadow over the Stonehenge sector. Coincidentally, this clock goes backward and acts as a countdown to the end of time – on December 21st 2012! On this day due to the wobble of the Earth on its axis and several other alignments, the heal stone will cease to cast a shadow indicating that time has run out.

Moreover, archaeologists have found various carvings in the stone. Using carbon dating archaeologists some of these carvings include Sumerian numbers and writings. The numbers “33” and “32” is significantly engraved on the stones. Interestingly enough, with the Sumerian sexagesimal system, the number 33 is multiplied by 60 and then added to 32 giving 2012 ironically.

End of the world 2012Stonehenge and the Mayan Calendar

The writings of the Mayans and the Sumerians have suggested the world might come to end on December 21st 2012. Furthermore, the Mayan Long Count calendar ends on this particular date. These ancient civilizations lived in close proximity to each other; thus, had a lot of influence from each other to similarly predict the future. Yet, there are other objects that have marked the same date – Stonehenge! Could one of the “Seven Wonders of the World” really foretell the fate of our future?

It was believed that the Stonehenge was used to tell time using the Sun’s solstice. With the rising and setting of the sun, one can observe time. During one day of summer the sun is set as far in the sky as possible. At this time the sun rises in direct alignment to a section of the Stonehenge known as the “heal stone”. This stone serves the same purpose as the hands of a clock as it casts a shadow over the Stonehenge sector. Coincidentally, this clock goes backward and acts as a countdown to the end of time – on December 21st 2012! On this day due to the wobble of the Earth on its axis and several other alignments, the heal stone will cease to cast a shadow indicating that time has run out.

Moreover, archaeologists have found various carvings in the stone. Using carbon dating archaeologists some of these carvings include Sumerian numbers and writings. The numbers “33” and “32” is significantly engraved on the stones. Interestingly enough, with the Sumerian sexagesimal system, the number 33 is multiplied by 60 and then added to 32 giving 2012 ironically.

Stonehenge holds many secrets that mankind has yet to discover. It is possible that something will happen on December 21st 2012, as it is not only limited to one side of the world since the Mayans and Sumerians lived in Meso-America; 2012 is also a big part of history in other countries. As time passes, we might be able to discover more. Hopefully all this information should give us a better insight of what is to come.

What will happen after December 21st 2012 ?  hopefully December 22nd 2012 because I will be there trying to enjoy the sunrise and celebrations.

Links:
http://www.the2012discovery.com/2012-videos/2012-mayan-calendar-doomsday-stonehenge-link-video/
http://www.2012hoax.org/stonehenge
http://www.stonehengetours.com/html/stonehenge-winter-solstice-tour.htm

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website
P.S My opinion – Stonehenge isn’t a doomsday clock!








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