The protection of Stonehenge – 1927. Historical news

12 11 2009

Discovered this old image of Stonehenge in my archive and had to share it with you. I also managed to find this very old article about saving Stonehenge.

An appeal

This is the text of the historic appeal launched by the Stonehenge Protection Committee and the National Trust in the 1920s to save Stonehenge. Please note that this is not an ongoing appeal. The Stonehenge Alliance will be very pleased to hear from you if you’d like to make a donation towards their current campaign to protect the monument. Click here for more details.

Note: We have added the bold emphasis to draw attention to inconsistencies between the National Trust’s highly commendable attitude 80 years ago and the British government’s determination to bulldoze a road through the World Heritage Site today. We have added the strike through emphasis to stop people accidentally donating money by mistake.

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OVER £14,000 has been raised in three months for the Protection of Stonehenge. More is urgently needed.

In the first week of August 1927 the following letter appeared in the leading London and provincial newspapers. The signature of Mr. Lloyd George, who was travelling, arrived after the letter had been published:

SIR,

A Stonehenge Protection Committee has been formed, the object of which is indicated by its title. We desire earnestly to support its appeal to the public for funds.

It is now nine years since Sir Cecil Chubb made the nation the magnificent present of the Stonehenge circle itself; and the great stones are safely in the charge of the Commissioners of Works. The land of the Plain around them, however, is still private property. So long as it remains in private hands, there is an obvious danger that the setting of Stonehenge may be ruined and the stones dwarfed by the erection of unsightly buildings on the Plain.

Any visitor to Stonehenge may at this moment form a notion as to what, if steps are not at once taken, may happen to the Stonehenge section of the Plain. During the war the military authorities found it necessary to erect an aerodrome and rows of huts very near the circle. These have reverted to the owner of the land, but they are still standing. In recent months an enterprising restaurateur has built a bungalow, the Stonehenge Cafe, within hail of the stones, though happily just out of sight of them. The conditions of modern transport make it extremely likely that this structure, if no preven- tive measures be adopted, will be the first of many, and that the monoliths will in time be surrounded by all the accessories of a popular holiday resort. The Stonehenge ring, as every British child has learnt to picture it from his earliest years, will no longer exist.

The solitude of Stonehenge should be restored, and precautions taken to ensure that our posterity will see it against the sky in the lonely majesty before which our ancestors have stood in awe throughout all our recorded history.

We are glad to be able to state that options have just been secured for the purchase of an area of the Plain which includes the whole of what may be called “the Stonehenge sky-line.” Should the purchases be effected, the Air Force buildings will be removed, further building will be prevented, and the valuable archeological remains of the site permanently protected from the plough.

The land purchased will be placed under the guardianship of the National Trust; and part at least of the revenues derived from rents for grazing, etc., will it is hoped, be available for the further protection of the archaeological treasures and amenities of Salisbury Plain.

The total area under consideration is 1,444 acres; the sum aimed at is about £35,000. The sum is small compared with several amounts recently raised for the preservation of great national monuments; and here we have a monument unique in its fame and significance. A substantial beginning has already been made; and a first sub- scription. list is appended to this letter. The need is urgent. Projects are already in existence which would involve extensive building and the laying of water mains; and one important option to purchase expires at the end of August. Cheques should be made out to the National Trust (Stonehenge Fund), and crossed Barclay�s Bank, and sent to the Secretary, 7 Buckingham Palace Gardens, S.W.1.

Yours faithfully,

STANLEY BALDWIN
J. RAMSAY MACDONALD
CRAWFORD & BALCARRES (President of the Society of Antiquaries)
GREY OF FALLODON (Vice-President of the National Trust)
RADNOR (Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire)

As a result of this appeal, and the enthusiastic labour of a Committee including representatives of the National Trust, the Wiltshire Archaeological Society, the Society of Antiquaries, acting with the cordial approval of the Office of Works, half the area in question is already secure. The position may be briefly explained.

THE THREE PLOTS

Short options were, in August, secured by the Committee on three plots which include areas Of 389 acres, 404 acres, and 650 acres respectively.

PLOT A

This plot is that to the south and south-east of the stones, which has for years been defaced by the derelict aerodromes and hutments. The cost of this was £8,000. The money was secured before the end of October. PLOT A IS SECURE IN THE NATIONAL POSSESSION FOR EVER, AND THE DEMOLITION OF THE BUILDINGS HAS ALREADY BEGUN.

PLOT B

This part of the Stonehenge area lies towards Amesbury, and the threat of building from that quarter is serious. The purchase price is £8,ooo. OWING TO A NOBLE DONATION OF £5,000 BY AN ANONYMOUS LADY WHO HAD ALREADY SUBSCRIBED £1,000, AND A TIMELY GIFT OF £500 FROM THE GOLDSMITHS� COMPANY, THE PURCHASE OF THIS PLOT HAS ALSO BEEN COMPLETED.

PLOT C

There remains, therefore, the third plot: 650 acres to the north of the Devizes Road. This tract, which includes the southward-facing road frontage immediately opposite the stones, is in obvious and immediate danger of building, and the price asked is £16,000. UNLESS IT IS SAVED THE WHOLE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE AND THE SUBSCRIBERS WILL HAVE BEEN IN VAIN) AND STONEHENGE WILL HAVE A SOLITUDE TO THE SOUTH AND A STREET TO THE NORTH.

THE HEART OF ENGLAND

That the leaders of all political parties should unite in appealing for such a cause is not surprising. Salisbury Plain is the greatest of our archeological sites, and Stonehenge, a mysterious legacy from the dim beginnings of our civilization many centuries before the Romans came, is the heart of the Plain. Causes-and good causes- are appealed for every day, and it is evident that not everything worth “saving” can be “saved.” But we have not two Stonehenges, and our generation will be vilified by all posterity if we allow the surroundings of this monument, the frontispiece to English history, to be ruined beyond repair.





New Stonehenge Find Reveals Religious Significance

10 11 2009


LONDON — The discovery of a small prehistoric circle of stones near Stonehenge may confirm the theory that the mysterious monument in southwest England was part of a massive funeral complex built around a river, researchers said Tuesday.

The new find shows that the second stone circle — dubbed “Bluehenge” because it was built with bluestones — once stood next to the River Avon about 1.75 miles from Stonehenge, one of Britain’s best loved and least understood landmarks.

The find last month could help prove that the Avon linked a “domain of the dead” — made up of Stonehenge and Bluehenge — with an upstream “domain of the living” known as Durrington Wells, a monument where extensive signs of feasting and other human activity were found, said Professor Julian Thomas, co-director of the Stonehenge Riverside Project.

Project director Mike Parker Pearson said it is possible that Bluehenge was the starting point of a processional walk that began at the river and ended at Stonehenge, the site of a large prehistoric cemetery.

“Not many people know that Stonehenge was Britain’s largest burial ground at that time,” he said. “Maybe the bluestone circle is where people were cremated before their ashes were buried at Stonehenge itself.”

There were very few signs of human life found around Stonehenge and Bluehenge, researchers said, lending credence to the idea that it was used as a funeral site, especially since there were signs that many human beings were cremated there.

A five-university team has been excavating the greater Stonehenge site since 2003 in a bid to unravel its meaning and use.

“This find certainly confirms the idea we’ve put forward that the river is of fundamental importance and links everything,” Thomas said. “Everything is related to the river. That suggests that even before Neolithic time it may have had spiritual or religious significance. This find enhances the idea that all the monuments in this landscape are linked in various ways.”

Researchers did not find the actual stones used to mark the smaller circle found by the river, but they did find holes left behind when the stones were removed.

The scientists believe the massive stones used for Bluehenge were dragged from the Welsh mountains roughly 150 miles away. There were clear indications that the gigantic stones from the Bluehenge site were later removed whole for use in the construction of Stonehenge, Thomas said.

They hope to use radiocarbon dating techniques to better pinpoint construction dates.

Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a favorite with visitors from throughout the world and has become popular with Druids, neo-Pagans and New Agers who attach mystical significance to the strangely-shaped circle of stones, but there remains great debate about the actual purpose of the structure.

Rare excavation work at the actual Stonehenge site was begun last year in a coordinated effort to unearth materials that could be used to establish a firm date for when the first set of bluestones was put in place there.





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.

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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 …..





American tourist killed trying to view the Stones

6 11 2009

The quicker they do something about the Stonehenge visitor experience the better – lives are put at danger every day at Stonehenge. At least put a zebra crossing there. Condolences to the womans family.
Sorry, I cant always post good news?

AN American woman on holiday in the UK has died after being hit by a car crossing the road near Stonehenge.

The woman, who has not been named, was crossing the A344 at Stonehenge at 7.12pm yesterday when she was hit by a green Toyota RAV4, which was travelling from Amesbury towards Shrewton.

She sustained multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at Salisbury District Hospital.

The road was closed for several hours while police carried out their investigation





Bluestonehenge: Stonehenge’s little sister

5 11 2009



Archaeologists have discovered Stonehenge’s little sister, dubbed Bluestonehenge, just 2.8km away on the west bank of the River Avon.

The site, once made up of 25 blue Preseli stones – hence it’s nickname – was constructed about 5,000 years ago. According to archaeologists from the Stonehenge Riverside Project, Bluestonehenge linked the ‘domain of the dead’ to that of the living at Durrington Walls further upstream, with the River Avon being the vital link between the two.

Archaeologists believe the stones represented the end of the Avenue that marked the funerary processional route from the River Avon to Stonehenge: no pottery, animal bones, food residues or flint tools associated with domestic life have been found at Bluestonehenge.

Director of the project, Professor Mike Parker Pearson from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield, said: “It could be that Bluestonehenge was where the dead began their final journey to Stonehenge – Britain’s largest burial ground at that time. Maybe the bluestone circle is where people were cremated before their ashes were buried at Stonehenge itself.”

The stones at Bluestonehenge were dragged 150 miles from the Welsh mountains and set in a circle measuring 10m in diameter and surrounded by a ditch with an external bank – the henge. The outer henge was built c.2400 BC but arrowheads found in the stone circle suggest the stones were put up as much as 500 years earlier. It appears the stones were removed sometime during the Neolithic era, and some were then used up the road at Stonehenge when it underwent a major rebuild c.2500 BC. Archaeologists know that after this date Stonehenge consisted of about 80 Welsh stones and 83 local, sarsen stones so maybe some of the stones now standing at the centre of Stonehenge once stood on the banks of the River Avon. Tests to obtain radiocarbon dates from pickaxes made from deer antlers found at Bluestonehenge will give a more accurate picture of the sequence of events.
Dr Josh Pollard, co-director from the University of Bristol explained: “The newly discovered circle and henge should be considered an integral part of Stonehenge rather than a separate monument, and it offers tremendous insight into the history of its famous neighbour. Its landscape location demonstrates once again the importance of the River Avon in Neolithic funerary rites and ceremonies.”

Prof. Julian Thomas, co-director, added: “The implications of this discovery are immense. It is compelling evidence that this stretch of the River Avon was central to the religious lives of the people who built Stonehenge. Old theories about Stonehenge that do not explain the evident significance of the river will have to be re-thought.”





Mystery of Stonehenge solved following discovery of 5000-year-old planning application

4 11 2009


A clear out at Salisbury District Council’s Planning Office has uncovered a long lost Neolithic document, which experts say, ‘finally explains the purpose of Stonehenge’. After weeks of careful study by a team of Oxford University archaeologists – where the fragile deer hide document had be taken for radio carbon dating and translation – it was revealed today that the document is in fact a 5000-year-old failed planning application for the Stonehenge site.

Contrary to the widely accepted theory that Stonehenge was a place of pagan worship, which had been designed and built to act as some sort of giant celestial calendar – instead, the document details the henge’s intended use – that of a vast covered market place. Dr Amy Bogaard, lecturer in Neolithic and Bronze Age Archaeology at Oxford, explained, ‘Stonehenge was to be a place where local merchants and tradesmen could gather, in order to peddle their wares and services to the thousands of Bronze Age tribes people who occupied Salisbury Plain at the time’. The document includes a plan, which shows that originally 600 stalls were to be constructed over a 200 acre site that would have also boasted ample grazing for 3500 Oxen and cart. ‘Stonehenge was essentially going to be the world’s first out of town shopping centre,’ said Dr. Bogaard.

‘This is an amazing find that not only answers all of the questions we had regarding what Stonehenge was for and why it was built, but also gives us a fantastic insight into the day-to-day life of Bronze Age Britons, their beliefs, their values and their culture,’ Dr. Bogaard continued. ‘For example, we now know that Druidism is not a pagan religion at all. ‘Druids’ was actually the brand name of a chain of prehistoric pharmacists, the forerunner of their modern day counterpart ‘Boots’,’ she concluded.

The document also reveals that the developers of Stonehenge never actually completed construction of the market, as their planning application was turned down by the ‘Local Council of Elders’. The application was refused on the grounds that the planners had, ‘serious concerns over increased Oxen traffic’, ‘did not think that the developers use of imported Welsh stone was sympathetic to, or in keeping with, local architecture’ and felt that, ‘the construction of such a high rise building would detract from the natural beauty and innate flatness of the surrounding plain.’

Commenting on his department’s historically important discovery, the Chief Planning Officer for Salisbury District Council, Mr. Ken Dawson, said: ‘I’m just so thrilled that, although in a small way, my office has helped to solve the age old mystery of Stonehenge. In fact, I’m so proud that it almost feels a shame to have to bulldoze the site. UNESCO World Heritage Site or not, it’s still in breach of the planning laws.’





A Virtual Stonehenge Landscape

3 11 2009

This short film shows the landscape around Stonehenge as recorded by LIDAR survey (airborne 3D scanning). Millions of measurements were taken across the landscape, and here they have been turned into a ‘solid’ computer model to show how well the archaeology is recorded by this method.

Prehistoric burial mounds (barrows), the great Cursus (a 2km Neolithic monument), the Bronze Age Avenue which links Stonehenge to the River Avon, and other henges such as Woodhenge and Durrington Walls are all clearly visible.

Click here





‘Blue Stonehenge’ May Be Funeral Complex

2 11 2009


The discovery of a small prehistoric circle of stones near Stonehenge may confirm the theory that the mysterious monument in southwest England was part of a massive funeral complex built around a river, researchers said Tuesday.
The new find shows that the second stone circle — dubbed “Bluehenge” because it was built with bluestones — once stood next to the River Avon about 1.75 miles (2.8 kilometers) from Stonehenge, one of Britain’s best loved and least understood landmarks.
The find last month could help prove that the Avon linked a “domain of the dead” — made up of Stonehenge and Bluehenge — with an upstream “domain of the living” known as Durrington Wells, a monument where extensive signs of feasting and other human activity were found, said Professor Julian Thomas, co-director of the Stonehenge Riverside Project.
Project director Mike Parker Pearson said it is possible that Bluehenge was the starting point of a processional walk that began at the river and ended at Stonehenge, the site of a large prehistoric cemetery.
“Not many people know that Stonehenge was Britain’s largest burial ground at that time,” he said. “Maybe the bluestone circle is where people were cremated before their ashes were buried at Stonehenge itself.”
There were very few signs of human life found around Stonehenge and Bluehenge, researchers said, lending credence to the idea that it was used as a funeral site, especially since there were signs that many human beings were cremated there.

A five-university team has been excavating the greater Stonehenge site since 2003 in a bid to unravel its meaning and use.
“This find certainly confirms the idea we’ve put forward that the river is of fundamental importance and links everything,” Thomas said. “Everything is related to the river. That suggests that even before Neolithic time it may have had spiritual or religious significance. This find enhances the idea that all the monuments in this landscape are linked in various ways.”
Researchers did not find the actual stones used to mark the smaller circle found by the river, but they did find holes left behind when the stones were removed.
The scientists believe the massive stones used for Bluehenge were dragged from the Welsh mountains roughly 150 miles (240 kilometers) away. There were clear indications that the gigantic stones from the Bluehenge site were later removed whole for use in the construction of Stonehenge, Thomas said.
They hope to use radiocarbon dating techniques to better pinpoint construction dates.
Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a favorite with visitors from throughout the world and has become popular with Druids, neo-Pagans and New Agers who attach mystical significance to the strangely-shaped circle of stones, but there remains great debate about the actual purpose of the structure.
Rare excavation work at the actual Stonehenge site was begun last year in a coordinated effort to unearth materials that could be used to establish a firm date for when the first set of bluestones was put in place there.








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