Druids’ delight at Stonehenge car ban

9 11 2009


AFTER nearly three decades of disputes over cost and conservation, Stonehenge is to be freed from the traffic-clogged main road slicing through its historic setting.

Under a scheme to be put to planners tomorrow by English Heritage, which manages the 5,000-year-old monument, a 1.3-mile stretch of the A344 will be closed and a new visitors’ centre and car park will be built. The £28m plan is a scaled-down version of a £600m project to build a road tunnel.

Motorists may be saddened by the prospect of losing a free close-up view of a national icon. Conservationists, however, have long been angry about the failure to remove the polluting eyesore from the archeologically rich landscape around Stonehenge. The area has been designated a world heritage site by Unesco, which has expressed concern about its shabby surroundings.

English Heritage, the quango responsible for state-owned historic sites, hopes the simplified plan will be agreed by Wiltshire county council early next year. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport wants the project completed in time to receive visitors for the 2012 Olympics.

Related Links
Emperor’s private amphitheatre unearthed
Record crowds at Stonehenge for summer solstice
Under the scheme, funded by English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Highways Agency and the government, the closed section of the A344 will be grassed over and the visitors’ centre built 1½ miles west of the monument, at a site known as Airman’s Corner. Regular shuttles will take visitors to the monument. Through traffic will be diverted via the A303.

The single-storey centre, in glass and wood, is one of the most contentious parts of the project. English Heritage describes it as “sensitive to its ancient surroundings and having the lightest possible touch on the landscape”, but some critics, having seen mock-ups, have been harsh in their reaction.

Paul Sample, a local councillor and former mayor of Salisbury, has called it “cheap and nasty”, while Peter Alexander-Fitzgerald, a lawyer and member of the Unesco world heritage committee, likened it to “a derelict aircraft hangar”.

At present, most visitors — up to 900,000 a year — come to Stonehenge by car or coach and stop only a few hundred yards away in an unsightly parking area beside the A344. They then walk through an underpass to the monument.

The submission for planning comes as archeologists announced this weekend that they have discovered a mini-Stonehenge, a mile from the main site. The monument has been called Bluehenge after the 27 Welsh blue stones — made of Preseli dotted dolerite — which once formed it. Despite the 5,000-year age of the henge, all that is now left are the holes where the monoliths comprising the circle once stood.

Bluehenge, uncovered over the summer by Sheffield University archeologists, is at one end of the avenue connecting Stonehenge to the River Avon. It is thought it was built about the same time as Stonehenge with stones that would have been dragged 200 miles from the Preseli mountains in Wales. The find is already challenging conventional wisdom about how Stonehenge was built — and what it was used for. The two circles stood together for hundreds of years before Bluehenge was dismantled. Researchers believe its stones were used to enlarge Stonehenge during one of a number of redevelopments.

Professor Tim Darvill, a Stonehenge expert at Bournemouth University, said: “This adds to the richness of the story of Stonehenge. We thought we knew it all, but over the past few years we have discovered that something as familiar as Stonehenge is still a challenge to explore and understand. It wouldn’t surprise me if there weren’t more circles.”





Arthur Pendragon at Stonehenge – keep up the good work!

9 11 2009


I was up at Stonehenge yesterday and had the pleasure of meeting Arthur Pendragon. If you intend to vist the site please make sure you stop and support his cause. He has got 1000’s of signatures (from 60 different religions).
You can always emasil your comments directly to him – see below.
For those unfamiliar with his cause please read the blog below:
Keep up the good work Arthur, if pnly this country had more people like hime this would be a better place!

THE “grave robbers”, sorry archaeologists, have been back this summer, theorising and arguing over the whys and wherefores of Stonehenge, and our televisions focus on how marvellous the ancients were who created it.

But what of it now?

Well, after spending £37 million and taking 11 years over public consultation and inquiry, our Government, like a petulant child, ignored all the findings and dismissed with the stroke of a pen all plans for road improvements in and around Stonehenge and forced English Heritage, the Government’s own watchdog looking after our national monuments, to begin anew with plans and public consultations.

You may be forgiven for a feeling of deja vu, for we have indeed been here before.

It has been described as “a step in the right direction…” by Robert Key, the Conservative MP for Salisbury. But I say it is a step backwards… back to square one.

The current situation all-round is a rip-off. The tourists are being ripped off, as the current visitor centre is a national disgrace.

What is supposed to be a World Heritage Site is served by temporary toilets and a prefab visitor centre that was temporary when it was built 40 years ago.

The locals are being ripped off, too. They are not getting their road improvements.

And anyone who thinks of Stonehenge as a sacred temple is being ripped off. Divorced from the sacred landscape, this once proud and majestic temple sits like a snared animal amid the tacky trappings of the 21st century.

So what now? More rounds of talking shops and the inevitable “gravy train” of jobs for the boys, with English Heritage doing all it can to turn Stonehenge into a third-rate theme park with a visitor centre, cafe and all the other franchises and marketing practices that this entails.

Perhaps it is time to return to the true spirit of the place.

Scholars will argue over who built it and when, whether it was the proto-Druids or members of a very different faith. But one thing remains certain. It was people of great faith who erected the mighty stones.

The logistics of such an operation, the transporting of the stones over such great distances, through the many domains of different tribal chieftains and peoples, would have needed enormous diplomatic skills and co-operation.

The fact that it is still a place of reverence to certain beliefs shows an unequalled continuity of faith in what was once and still could be the Isle of the Mighty.

Stonehenge was never a centre of commerce but of spirituality.

The need for a visitor centre has been brought about in recent times by the way English Heritage has marketed it so aggressively both at home and abroad.

Many people will remember when Stonehenge meant little more than a few ancient stones standing in the middle of Salisbury Plain. It should have been left like that.

In recent times, it has changed from a place of spirit to a place of confrontation over freedom of access for religious observances at the solstices and equinoxes.

AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE STONEHENGE PICKET

Campaigning for the return of our ancestors remains

Lammas 2009
A big thank you to all those who have bought a badge to support the new Stonehenge Picket, and the Arch Druids of Avebury, Cotswold and Glastonbury for their support.

And a big thank you to the members of the following Pagan and Druid Groups for signing our petition:

– The Druid Order – London

– Dobunni Grove – (Bristol) OBOD

– The Cotswold Order of Druids

– The Washington Witches – USA

– S.W.O.R.D – Avebury

– The Circle of Pagans – Liverpool

And a Huge thank you to all the members of other faiths that have signed our petition. “All Hail the irregulars, who back our cause from the following Faiths.”

Agnostic

Anglican

Atheist

Asatru

Baptist

Buddhist

Catholic

Celtic Christian

Church of England

Church of Latterday Saints

Christian

Druid

Eastern Orthodox

Earth Centred

Eclectic

Episcopal

Evangelical

Goddess

Hari Krishna

Herbalist

Hermetic

Hindu

Islam

Jewish

Jedi

Kabala

Lutheran

Methodist

Muslim

Nilest

Non-denominational

None

Oglala

Orthodox

Pagan

Pantheist

Pentecostal

Presbyterian

Protestant

Quaker

Roman Catholic

Scientologist

Sikh

Southern Baptist

Spiritualist

Taoist

Unitarian

Wiccan

Witch

Zoroastrian

Many thanks to one and all and may your Gods look favourably upon you…..





Arthur attended a podcast interview at Sheffield University in October 2009 to answer questions for archaeological students

9 11 2009

WHO BUILT IT?

Stonehenge is the ultimate expression of the Spiritual, Artistic, Cultural and Technical understanding of the Peoples and Cultures that collaborated on its building.

Scholars can argue whether these were the ancient Hyperborean’s, the people later to become known as the Picts, the Welsh and indigenous ancient Britons, Pre Celtic Proto-Druids. Latter Bronze / Early Iron, Beaker Age people.

But to us they are simply the Ancestors. The very Giants (Metaphorically speaking) on whose shoulders we sit. The founders of our nation. Who by their exploits put the Might in this once green and pleasant land. The isle of the Mighty.

WHY DID THEY BUILD IT?

Based on what must have been, hundreds of years of observations, Stonehenge’s Primary function was that of a great Solar clock. A means to map out direction and seasonal cycles. A devise to tell with some certainty when to plant, when your very survival was dependent on getting it right.

Later alignments and refinements where incorporated over hundreds of years and it became a gathering point and a place of worship. A place to celebrate the full round of life and to honour the dead.

It was built to map out, and to stand the test, of time. Early mans compass and watch, interpreted by the ‘Priest Caste’, the Wise, from which we get the word Wizard.

A place of Magic to map out also the ‘turning of the wheel’ and the renewal of the Sun and the cycle of death and rebirth.

A Temple and Testament to our Ancestors ingenuity, Philosophy and enduring belief structure. A belief structure shared by many practicing Pagans and Druids to this very day…

WHEN WAS IT BUILT?

Carbon dating places the building of Stonehenge between four and a half and four thousand years ago, a time of a harsh climatic downturn.

A time of great change, a time when agriculture was in its infancy, a time necessitating the accurate marking and keeping of time ,made possible from the observations of the relationship between the sacred land, and Earth mother and the ‘Gods’ of the Heavens and the Sky.

It must be remembered that Stonehenge was not built overnight and was the culmination of hundreds (if not thousands) of years of observations.

The final ‘build’ of the final ‘Phase’ of Stonehenge could have been as long ago as four thousand years ago, but who is to say it was ever completed or what the future holds for this once proud and majestic Temple.

WHAT ELSE WAS GOING ON IN THE REGION?

People from North, South, East and West had been building special places, a great variety of which survive in Wiltshire to this day, marking this as a very significant place within an island littered with the special and the sacred.

Clearly the Ancestors were able to solve complex problems, create amazing designs and execute them in Stone with great precision using simple tools.

They could only achieve this by managing people and resources effectively and co-operating with others not only on a local level but sometimes between people hundreds of miles apart.

The simple logistics, (even with tacit support only) of the ‘tribes’ to bring the stone over such great distances would need an amount of co-operation between what would normally be seen as ‘warring factions’ and would be seem to show either a hierarchy hitherto unknown or lost in the mists of time, or a strength of purpose and unity the likes of which we may only imagine…..

WHAT IS THE THEORETICAL BASIS FOR YOUR INTERPRETATION?

Our sources are more widely inclusive than that of any single scientific discipline. We follow developments in Archaeology, Anthropology, Climate Science etc, all of which contribute greatly to the evidence pool.

In addition to these sources we are accepting of the concept that some ideas from the period of the Stonehenge Ancestors may have survived the transition into the Iron-age and beyond. So we study the folk-lore and legends and the Legal systems of Britain and Ireland to gain greater insight into the values and beliefs, some of which may reflect earlier traditions…..

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SITE NOW?

To us Stonehenge is a living, working Temple. A place of pilgrimage for many people of many different faiths and belief structures from across the world. A place to this day to mark the seasons and celebrate the Longest, Shortest and the Equal days at Solstice and Equinox. A place of great reverence and a place of Worship

A Cathedral in fact. One bereft of the ‘Saints Bones’ it was founded on ‘The Guardians’ taken from Aubrey Hole Seven

When they are returned it will be like re-consecrating the cathedral, albeit a Cathedral in need of some repair but a Cathedral and living, working Temple nonetheless …….

WHO SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO IT?

Pilgrims, visitors, tourists, in short the General Public.

The people of Britain especially believe it is their ‘right’ to walk among the stones as they do at nearby Avebury – also in the World Heritage Site.

Free and Open access must be the goal.

You cannot wrap it in cotton wool in the name of preservation nor should you preserve it circa 1950’s. It is a living, working Temple and should be treated as such.

WHAT SHOULD THE FUTURE BE?

We support the Principle of Archaeology and further excavations taking place at Stonehenge and other similar sites and have no desire to stop this study. In fact, we have a good relationship with several of the Leading Archaeologists currently investigating Stonehenge and the surrounding Sacred Landscape and look forward to their discoveries

A serious clash of Cultures comes however with the retention of the Ancient Dead by the scientific community.

Currently we are campaigning for the return of the Ancient Human Remains, taken from Aubrey Hole Seven. The scientific community wishing to retain them for re-testing. We on the other hand wishing them to be re-buried. It is a matter of common decency, Let those we lay to rest, stay at rest as we see it.

One supported by members of all the major faiths and those who have no faith at all. The A-Z of religion signing our petition everyone from Anglican to Zoroastrian.

We don’t view Archaeologists as ‘Grave Robbers’ so long as they don’t behave like them ……

WHAT CONSERVATION PLAN FOR THE FUTURE?

Stonehenge should not be seen in isolation nor viewed as it is now. Likened to a snared animal with ropes, electric and barbed wire fences around it.

It should be accessed ‘on foot’ and viewed in context with the sacred landscape. Roads and visitors facilities should be at a discreet distance.

Long term I personally can see no better legacy to leave to our future generations yet to come that to rebuild it, to its one true and former glory.

Re-erect the stones (and put the roof on) and by that I mean replace the Lintels

A great visionary project for a once Great and Mighty Nation …..








%d bloggers like this: