Secrets of the Stones

30 05 2011

As the summer solstice will soon see thousands gather at Stonehenge, an archaeologist discusses his belief that the Wiltshire monument is evidence of a great civilisation which once thrived there

Sunrise at Stonehenge - June 21st

Sunrise at Stonehenge - June 21st

IN three weeks’ time, thousands of devotees will gather in the dark in a field in Wiltshire. They do this every year and each time their number grows.

They are there to celebrate the midsummer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and will wait until daybreak when the sun sends a piercing ray of light through Stonehenge, the ancient ruin they have come to venerate.

This primordial circle of stones, eight miles north of Salisbury in Wiltshire, exerts an extraordinary power over the people of Britain.

Some, like the Druids, claim it is the source of a mystical power while others, curious but sceptical, believe it to be the site of an ancient monument that has no relevance to the way we live today.

Whatever their conviction they are all missing the point according to one man who has studied the location for 30 years and believes he knows the real reason why Stonehenge is so special.

“Stonehenge is unique; it is already recognised as a World Heritage Site but it’s more than just an ancient curiosity, it is the place where civilisation began,” says writer and archaeologist Robert John Langdon.

“It’s simply the most amazing place in the world and we should all be celebrating the meaning of this incredible place.”

Robert fell under the spell of Stonehenge as a boy. He explored the massive stone monoliths and was intrigued by the official explanation of their origin. As the years passed and he learned more he was puzzled by contradictions in official explanation of its origins.

“The carbon dating of the stones is not consistent. I have discovered that stone post holes in what is now the car park for the site predate the accepted date for Stonehenge by 5,000 years. If this evidence is accepted, and it has been denied for years, it turns the conventional history of Stonehenge, and the rest of the world for that matter, on its head.”

If Robert is right, and he says he has the scientific evidence to prove he is, Stonehenge is the most important archaeological site in the world. It would mean Salisbury Plain is home to the first and most significant civilisation on earth. So how could this have happened?

“The geography and landscape of the site would have been very different. Britain would have been emerging from the last Ice Age, so much of the country we now recognise would have been under water. Stonehenge would have been on an estuary that led to the open sea. Too many important facts have been ignored,” says Robert.

“There is evidence that water was close, but that has been classified as a moat which I believe is wrong. It is also believed the stones were dragged over land from Wales which is misleading.

“The large sarsen stones came from an area close to Avebury which is not far from Stonehenge.  To have brought them overland all the way from Wales takes no account of the fact that according to the official time scale Salisbury Plain at that time would have been heavily forested which would have made that access all but impossible. The bluestones, which are the key to the secret of Stonehenge, were smaller and did come from Wales but they were brought there by boat.”

Robert’s hypothesis is based on his conviction that the men who built Stonehenge were much more skilled and sophisticated than is currently believed. In 10,000 BC, the Mesolithic period, he believes that men in ancient Britain developed the first recognisable civilisation and that Stonehenge was their greatest achievement.

“These were extremely capable people who found a way of drilling into stone and used sophisticated mortice and tenon joints to erect Stonehenge but most importantly they mastered the seas. These boat people, as we can call them, travelled widely and traded and these are the people I believe that Plato referred to in his writings on the origins of civilisation.”

So why did these people make such an effort to build Stonehenge? what was it intended to do?

“Stonehenge was accessible to boat people from  all over Europe and Mesolithic men and women came there to be cured of their ailments and to depart from this world. The alignment of the site to the sun and the moon is immensely significant but so is the presence of the bluestones in the circle.

“Bluestone turns blue in water, and was believed to have incredible powers of healing. Evidence from bones found close to Stonehenge suggests that the original inhabitants practised sophisticated medical procedures which included dentistry, limb removal and even brain surgery.

“These were not the fur-clad hunter gatherers living in mud huts that many mistakenly believe were the builders of Stonehenge. They were instead members of a great civilisation that moved out, leaving Stonehenge as the only surviving physical evidence of their genius.”

If Robert Langdon is right Stonehenge is much older than the Pyramids and there is a surprising connection between the two ancient stone monuments.

“Over the centuries the climate and landscape in Britain changed. Mesolithic men used their seafaring skills to move to a more sympathetic environment. They traded widely and sailed south to what is now the Mediterranean and moved in along the coast from Egypt to Greece and Italy. The ancient Egyptians’ skill at engineering and building with stone had its roots in the lessons learnt by the men who built Stonehenge.”

It is not only archaeologists with a theory about the significance of Stonehenge. The Druids regard it as a sacred place where they perform spiritual rituals.

Robert says: “I don’t have any disputes with the Druids and they don’t seem to mind me. I’ll be rubbing shoulders with lots of them at the midsummer solstice. The Druids may well have their beliefs but they came on the Stonehenge scene very late in the day.

“They would have discovered the site as an ancient and abandoned temple and taken it over but that’s all right. I get on pretty well with other archaeologists too although they do tend to dismiss my work, but that’s their loss. Stonehenge has a special hold on me and the more I learn about it the more fascinated I become. I’m already working on a new book which I think will ruffle quite a lot of feathers.

“In a sense what we know as Stonehenge is almost the foundations of a much bigger edifice. Stonehenge is, despite all the myths that have been fostered, a very special place. It is, I believe, the birthplace of civilisation and we all ought to give it the respect that it really deserves.”

Article from The Express Newspaper
Sponosred by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Compant’

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

A Stonehenge found in America. Is it bigger and better ? Probably…..

28 05 2011

A Stonehenge under Lake Michigan
While scanning underneath the waters of Lake Michigan for shipwrecks, archeologists found something a lot more interesting than they bargained for, as they discovered a boulder with a prehistoric carving of a mastodon, as well as a series of stones arranged in a Stonehenge-like manner.

Stonehenge found under Lake Michigan

Stonehenge found under Lake Michigan

At a depth of about 40 feet into Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, using sonar techniques to look for shipwrecks, archeologists discovered sunken boats and cars and even a Civil War-era pier, but among all these they found this prehistoric surprise, which a trained eye can guess by looking at the sonar scans photos in this article.

“When you see it in the water, you’re tempted to say this is absolutely real,” said Mark Holley, a professor of underwater archaeology at Northwestern Michigan University College who made the discovery, during a news conference with photos of the boulder on display in 2007. “But that’s what we need the experts to come in and verify.

The boulder with the markings is 3.5 to 4 feet high and about 5 feet long. Photos show a surface with numerous fissures. Some may be natural while others appear of human origin, but those forming what could be the petroglyph stood out, Holley said.

Viewed together, they suggest the outlines of a mastodon-like back, hump, head, trunk, tusk, triangular shaped ear and parts of legs, he said.

“We couldn’t believe what we were looking at,” said Greg MacMaster, president of the underwater preserve council.

Specialists shown pictures of the boulder holding the mastodon markings have asked for more evidence before confirming the markings are an ancient petroglyph, said Holley.

“They want to actually see it,” he said. Unfortunately, he added, “Experts in petroglyphs generally don’t dive, so we’re running into a little bit of a stumbling block there.”

If found to be true, the wannabe petroglyph could be as much as 10,000 years old – coincident with the post-Ice Age presence of both humans and mastodons in the upper midwest. The formation, if authenticated, wouldn’t be completely out of place. Stone circles and other petroglyph sites are located in the area.

The discovery was made back a few years ago, and surprisingly enough the find hasn’t been popularized at all, with little to no information available online, but I’ll be sure to update this post as soon as I can get ahold of more info. So, who’s from Michigan?

Sponsored by the ‘Stonehenge Tour Company’ –

Come and visit Stonehenge in England – you went get wet at this one!

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle website

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Archaeostrononomer Gerald Hawkins died today 2003

26 05 2011

Gerald Stanley Hawkins

Gerald Hawkins

Gerald Hawkins

Astronomer who claimed Stonehenge was a computer

· Gerald Stanley Hawkins, archaeoastronomer and author, born April 20 1928; died May 26 2003.

(1928–2003) was an English astronomer and author most famous for his work in the field of archaeoastronomy. A professor and chair of the astronomy department at Boston University in the United States. In 1965 he published an analysis of Stonehenge in which he was the first to propose its purpose as an ancient astronomical observatory used to predict movements of sun and stars. Archeologists and other scholars have since demonstrated such sophisticated, complex planning and construction at other prehistoric earthwork sites, such as Cahokia in the United States.

Gerald Hawkins’ work
Gerald Hawkins’ work on Stonehenge was first published in Nature in 1963 following analyses he had carried out using the Harvard-Smithsonian IBM computer. Hawkins found not one or two alignments but dozens. He had studied 165 significant features at the monument and used the computer to check every alignment between them against every rising and setting point for the sun, moon, planets, and bright stars in the positions they would have been in 1500 BC. Thirteen solar and eleven lunar correlations were very precise against the early features at the site with precision falling during the megalithic stages. Hawkins also proposed a method for using the Aubrey holes to predict lunar eclipses by moving markers from hole to hole. In 1965 Hawkins wrote (with J. B. White) Stonehenge Decoded, which detailed his findings and proposed that the monument was a ‘Neolithic computer’.

Atkinson replied with his article “Moonshine on Stonehenge” in Antiquity in 1966, pointing out that some of the pits which Hawkins had used for his sight lines were more likely to have been natural depressions, and that he had allowed a margin of error of up to 2 degrees in his alignments. Atkinson found that the probability of so many alignments being visible from 165 points to be close to 0.5 (or rather 50:50) rather that the “one in a million” possibility which Hawkins had claimed. That the Station Stones stood on top of the earlier Aubrey Holes meant that many of Hawkins’ alignments between the two features were illusory. The same article by Atkinson contains further criticisms of the interpretation of Aubrey Holes as astronomical markers, and of Fred Hoyle’s work.

A question exists over whether the English climate would have permitted accurate observation of astronomical events. Modern researchers were looking for alignments with phenomena they already knew existed; the prehistoric users of the site did not have this advantage.

Later Stonehenge theories

Although Stonehenge has become an increasingly popular destination during the summer solstice, with 26,000 people visiting in 2010, scholars have developed growing evidence that indicates prehistoric people visited the site only during the winter solstice. The only megalithic monuments in the British Isles to contain a clear, compelling solar alignment are Newgrange and Maeshowe, which both famously face the winter solstice sunrise.

The most recent such evidence supporting the theory of winter visits includes bones and teeth from pigs which were slaughtered at nearby Durrington Walls. Their age at death indicating that they were slaughtered either in December or January every year. Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield has said, “We have no evidence that anyone was in the landscape in summer.”

From the Guardian 2003

In 1961, Gerald Hawkins, who has died of a heart attack aged 75, was professor of physics and astronomy at Boston University in Massachusetts. It was then that he returned to Salisbury Plain to film the sun rise over the marker Heelstone at Stonehenge. Assistants meanwhile plotted every stone and pit, punched coordinates on to cards and fed them, and astronomical data, into an IBM 704.This was at a time when computers were rare and glamorous. Asking that age’s technological wonder to decipher the ancient world’s icon was a gesture of timely genius. The journal Nature published Hawkins’s first results in 1963. Two years later Stonehenge Decoded, written by Hawkins with John B White, was published in the US.The IBM machines, Hawkins argued, showed Stonehenge to be a neolithic computer-observatory for predicting eclipses of the sun and moon. From New York to Iraq, newspapers praised the professor and his computer for rewriting prehistory. Stone-age savages were revealed as skilled scientists.

Archaeologists were less happy. They sniffed at his “overconfident style”, resented his publicity and questioned his results. Hawkins’s statistics were shown to be dodgy; he had contrived a computer from a monument believed to have developed piecemeal over centuries.

Stonehenge excavator Richard Atkinson described Hawkins’s book as: “tendentious, arrogant, slipshod, and unconvincing” – for him the builders of Stonehenge were “howling barbarians”.

The popular archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes, meanwhile, observed that “every age has the Stonehenge it deserves – or desires”.

Hawkins claimed surprise at the response. That contribution to Nature was his 61st scientific paper and many of his others, on subjects such as tektites, meteors and steady-state universe theory seemed to him more exciting. But none of his other dozen books was as successful.

Hawkins had changed the way we think about Stonehenge, and inspired the science of archaeo-astronomy. Repeated studies have failed to do more than support a few solar, and perhaps lunar alignments, and deny a computational function. Yet in the public mind, Stonehenge is now fixed as an observatory and computer. Stonehenge Decoded initiated a debate still alive, and inspired the first generation of archaeo-astronomers.

Hawkins also analysed the Nazca lines in Peru and the temple of Amun at Karnak, Egypt. He recently developed a crop circles theory based on Euclidean geometry and musical intervals. He first saw Stonehenge in 1953, when working at nearby Larkhill camp. He read that the monument was aligned on midsummer sunrise, a fact first noted by William Stukeley in the 18th century, and made much of by Sir Norman Lockyer in 1906.

Hawkins’s hometown was Great Yarmouth. He obtained his first degree at Nottingham University in 1949 in physics, with pure maths subsidiary, and a PhD in radio astronomy under Sir Bernard Lovell at Manchester University in 1952.

Manchester awarded him a DSc in 1963 for astronomical research at the Harvard-Smithsonian Observatories. He was professor of astronomy and chairman of the department at Boston University (1957-69), and dean of the liberal arts Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania (1969-71).

Boston presented him with the Shell award for distinguished writing in 1965. Other awards came from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Academy of Sciences, and he was a proud member of the prestigious intellectual Cosmos Club, Washington DC. He was a science advisor to the US Information Agency.

Hawkins was dedicated to his research, and enthusiastic and generous with those ready to listen. He was due to address an Oxford conference with a new Stonehenge study and, to the surprise of some British academics, he continued to see himself as an Englishman. He leaves his second wife, Julia Dobson.

Sponsors: The Stonehenge Tour Company,


Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

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.


Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’

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

Magic circles: walking from Avebury to Stonehenge

14 05 2011

A new walking path links Britain’s two greatest prehistoric sites, Avebury and Stonehenge, and is as epic as the Inca Trail

The Great Stones Way is one of those ideas so obvious it seems amazing that no one has thought of it before: a 38-mile walking trail to link England’s two greatest prehistoric sites, Avebury and Stonehenge, crossing a landscape covered with Neolithic monuments.

But like any project involving the English countryside, it’s not as straightforward as it might seem. The steering group has had to secure permission from landowners and the MoD, who use much of Salisbury Plain for training. They hope to have the whole trail open within a year, but for now are trialling a 14-mile southern stretch, having secured agreement from the MoD and parish councils. The “Plain & Avon” section leads from the iron age hill fort of Casterley Camp on Salisbury Plain down the Avon valley to Stonehenge. Walkers are being encouraged to test the route, and detailed directions can be found on the Friends of the Ridgeway website.

It’s an area all but the boldest have avoided: negotiating the MoD areas needed careful planning. Few walkers come here and not a single garage or shop along the Avon valley sells local maps. The Great Stones Way should change that.

What makes the prospect of the Great Stones Way so exciting is the sense that for more than a millennium, between around 3000 and 2000BC, the area it crosses was the scene of frenzied Neolithic building activity, with henges, burial barrows and processional avenues criss-crossing the route.

Stones mapAt Casterley Camp, high on Salisbury Plain, it takes me a while to realise what is strange about the landscape, as wild and empty as anywhere in southern England, and with a large burial mound directly ahead. Then it hits me: this is perfect high grazing country, but there’s not a single sheep. Maybe they have read the MoD notice which points out that “‘projectile’ means any shot or shell or other missile or any portion thereof”, and that over much of what you can see you’re liable to be hit by one. You can also be arrested without a warrant. But the trail cleverly and legally threads its way past the firing ranges towards a delightful and ancient droving road that plunges down between cow parsley to an old farm.

Five minutes in we are passed by a lone woman wearing Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses and heading determinedly towards the shooting area, where the red flags are up to signify that it’s a “live” day. In a Kensington and Chelsea accent, she tells us that she regularly drives down from London as it’s one of the few places “where you don’t run the risk of meeting anybody else”. I murmur that this might be because they know they’ll get shot at. “Oh, I love all that. It gets my endorphins going. I got back to the car once and found it ringed by military police. When I told them that I just enjoyed the walking, they didn’t believe me. They said, ‘How can you claim to enjoy walking when you don’t have a dog?'”

One animal practising its duck-and-cover technique here is the remarkable great bustard, recently reintroduced to the UK after its local extinction two centuries ago. At 40lbs, the male bird is one of the largest flying animals in the world, so it’s unmistakable even for the most hesitant birdwatcher. As we reach an isolated farm building, we pass a Land Rover full of enthusiasts heading off to track some down.

The trail curves below to cross and then follow the Avon, a river that loomed large in the affairs of Neolithic man. It was along the Avon that the bluestones of the Preseli hills in Wales are thought to have been transported by boat to Stonehenge, after being moved an almost unimaginable distance around both the Pembrokeshire and Cornish peninsulas to the river mouth at Christchurch.

There are some pretty villages along the upper Avon: Enfold, with its flint and stone church, and old funeral wagon in the nave; Longstreet, with the Swan pub appearing at the right moment for a lunchtime reappraisal of the route; Coombe and Fittleton, with their judas trees, mill ponds and dovecotes. At Figheldean (pronounced “file-dean”), an allotment holder tells me he doesn’t grow courgettes “because they’re foreign food”.

Woodhenge, WiltshireWoodhenge, Wiltshire. Photograph: AlamyIt’s a peaceful valley to stroll along, with some beautiful stretches under beech trees and past bluebell woods. Which is why it comes as a shock to have to stop for a couple of tanks to trundle past at Brigmerston ford. The route follows the tank tracks back across the river and out onto the plain, so the last stretch again has wide-open vistas of the prehistoric landscape. At Durrington Walls, the trail cuts through a huge enclosed area where the builders of Stonehenge may have lived – the site is aligned to face sunset on the summer solstice – and on past Woodhenge, with its concentric circles of wooden posts (marked now by concrete posts).

As the walk gets into its finishing stride, you pass the King Barrows still sleeping along their ridge, some of the few sites that remain unexcavated (the local farmer didn’t want the trees cut down), and the mysterious Cursus group of Bronze Age barrows, so named because 18th-century antiquarian William Stukeley thought it must have been built by the Romans for chariot races. Across a meadow land of dandelions and buttercups, the familiar silhouette of the stone and lintel circle finally appears, at the end of the processional avenue that once led there from the river. In the distance, the stones themselves are a flat grey. What gleams all around them, like fish circling, is the traffic on the A303.

I can’t help thinking how much better it is to arrive at Stonehenge on foot. The comparison that comes to mind, and which I know well, is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The experience of trekking to both sites is immeasurably richer, not just because you’ve “earned it”, but because both sets of ruins are only properly understood in the context of the sacred landscape that surrounds them.

• For details of this 14-mile section of the walk, and accommodation and transport, see the Friends of the Ridgeway website:

Hugh Thomson’s The White Rock: An Exploration of the Inca Heartland (Phoenix, £10.99) has just been reissued to mark the centenary of the discovery of Machu Picchu. His most recent book is Tequila Oil(Phoenix, £8.99)

There are already ‘Crop Circles’ in Stonehenge and Avebury area well worth exploring.  If you do not have the time or require a guide try the excellent ‘Stonehenge Tour Company’
There is also a new ‘Henge Hopper service covering this area

The Henge Hopper

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

Mystery origins of Stonehenge unravelling

9 05 2011

Stonehenge is an ancient site which dominates Salisbury Plain in the south Stonehenge Blue Stoneswest of England. Much of where the stones came from and how they were moved is still an enigma.

Built around 3100 BC, the origins and purpose remains the subject of much debate around the world.

At the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff some detective work is taking place that could help solve this historical conundrum.

With precision and patience Dr. Richard Bevins is examining a minute piece of stone that is part of a 5000-year-old mystery.
Under his microscope is a sample taken from Stonehenge.

Bevins says the whereabouts of some of the stones is already known.

“Stonehenge comprises an outer circle, an inner circle and an inner horseshoe. The outer circle, which are the very big stones are actually local to the Stonehenge area, to Salisbury Plain.”

In the 1920s scientists traced the origins of the remaining stones, known as Bluestones, to an unspecified part of the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.

This is 240km from Stonehenge. It remains unclear how an ancient civilisation would have transported such heavy stones such a huge distance.

Bevins says: “These stones that form the inner circle and the inner horseshoe, the Bluestones, they still weigh two to three tons so they’re substantial pieces of rock to be moving around the countryside, if it was humans.”

A unique discovery is now fuelling further debate about how the architects of Stonehenge moved their building materials from Wales to the south west of England.

Dr. Bevins and a team of scientists have matched stone samples from Stonehenge with ones taken from the Preseli Hills and uncovered their precise origin.

They have done it by using new technologies by analysing and comparing their mineral content.

“We got a good match in terms of what they looked like in hand specimen and down the microscope,” says Bevins. “But we wanted to go one stage further, we wanted to have a diagnostic technique, we wanted some data.”

Still in Wales, at the University of Aberystwyth, geochemist Dr Nick Pearce was tasked with analysing the zircon crystals that are embedded in the stone samples.

He pioneered a technique that uses a laser to vaporise the crystals so that their chemical make up can be scrutinised.

Pearce explains how the technique works.

“We get hold of the samples as thin sections. We’ve identified in those where the grains of zircon are that we want to analyse and then we put those samples into the glazer abrasion ISO PMS system, fire a very powerful laser on top of the samples, on the individual grains within the sample. The vapour gets transported then into a mass spectrometer and we analyse the components of that mineral grain.”

By matching the chemical finger prints of their stone samples they have proven the origin of stones used to build parts of Stonehenge.

In a picturesque and quiet corner of West Wales called Pont Saesnon is a rocky outcrop that looks like any other in this mountainous country.

But thousands of years ago it provided the building blocks for the ancient structure of Stonehenge that still captivates people today.

Pearce says their research has located the exact spot the stones came from.

“It pins them down to place where nobody has really considered they came from before; on the north side of the Preseli Hills in North Pembrokeshire and not localities on the top of the Presellis.”

The unearthing of the stone’s origins also challenges the theories on how the builders of Stonehenge transported their materials to Salisbury Plain.

“It was always thought they were transported by humans south down towards the Bristol Channel and put onto rafts at Milford Haven. Well this location changes that perspective,” Bevins says.

It’s now thought the stones took an alternative route and travelled 16km west to the natural harbours that dot the Welsh coastline then shipped to their final resting place on Salisbury Plain, in England.

This theory now needs to be tested by archaeologists.

These new discoveries bring people who are fascinated with Stonehenge one step closer to unlocking its mysteries.

More information:
Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

Stonehenge: Could 2011’s solstice mass event be the last?

8 05 2011

As we recently observed people are fully entitled to see Stonehenge as their temple. However, while such claims are harmless in themselves they have also been responsible for some unwelcome effects. For isn’t it clear that a wish to avoid offending people of a spiritual nature has led to a reluctance to say that no, access by tens of thousands of revellers at Summer Solstice is unseemly and damaging and really must end?
1995 Stonehenge Summer Solstice

Get off those Stones! 1995 Stonehenge Summer Solstice

It seems to us there’s an easy and equitable solution that balances tourism, spirituality and conservation in a proper manner:

1. No more thousands of tipsy revellers standing on the stones. (It’s recent, not traditional, it carries a risk of damage to both the monument and the revellers and brings shame on our country – and it simply shouldn’t happen as English Heritage knows full well.)
2. Spiritual people yes. Of course. But in limited numbers, selected by ballot from the membership of well established pagan organisations.
3. Other people (whether non-spiritual or spiritual but without demonstrable group affiliations), yes of course and also in limited numbers, selected by ballot from those who apply.

So how many in total? That’s entirely EH’s affair, depending purely on how many they think can be safely and sensibly admitted without imposing a risk of damage or broadcasting an image to the world that we don’t treat Stonehenge as it should be treated.  It’s certainly time they decided what they could cope with rather than unsuccessfully trying to cope with many times more than they can!

So let’s SHARE Stonehenge, it’s the obvious thing to do. But not abuse it, which is also obvious.

If spiritual people agree to that and people in general agree to that (following a consultation) then English Heritage could surely have a mandate to make radical changes to what happens at Stonehenge as soon as next year? 

How about it?

Article extracted rom the excellent Heritage Journal –
Sponsored by the Stonehenge Tour Company

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Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

Beltane Facts (May Day)

1 05 2011

May Day is Beltane, which means ‘day of fire’. It is an ancient Pagan festival. Bel was the Celtic God of the sun. May Day marks the seasonal transition from Winter to Summer and celebrated the first spring planting.

Beltane Celebrations at Stonehenge

Beltane Celebrations at Stonehenge

Beltane kicks off the merry month of May, and has a long history. This fire festival is celebrated on May 1 with bonfires, Maypoles, dancing, and lots of good old fashioned sexual energy. The Celts honored the fertility of the gods with gifts and offerings, sometimes including animal or human sacrifice. Cattle were driven through the smoke of the balefires, and blessed with health and fertility for the coming year. In Ireland, the fires of Tara were the first ones lit every year at Beltane, and all other fires were lit with a flame from Tara.

  • May Day is Beltane, which means ‘day of fire’. It is an ancient Pagan festival. Bel was the Celtic God of the sun.
  • May Day marks the seasonal transition from Winter to Summer and celebrated the first spring planting.
  • Putting a Maypole up involved taking a growing tree from the wood and bringing it to the village to mark the coming of Summer. Single men and women would dance around the Maypole holding on to ribbons until they became entwined with their (hoped for) new loves.
  • Social hierarchy was set aside on May Day to involve everyone from the highest to the lowest.
  • May Day is a celebration of fertility. In the old days whole villages would go to the woods and all sorts of temporary sexual liaisons would take place.
  • Robin Goodfellow, also known as the Green Man was the Lord of Misrule on May Day. He and his supporters would make jokes and poke fun at the local authorities.
  • Parliament banned May Day festivities in 1644.
  • Unlike Easter, Whitsun, or Christmas, May Day is the one festival of the year with no significant church service.
  • In previous centuries working people would take the day off to celebrate, often without the support of their employer.
  • William Davidson, a black trade unionist and a revolutionary, was executed on May Day 1820. Davidson was born in the then pirate capital, Kingston, Jamaica and put a skull and crossbones on a black flag to say:“Let us die like men and not be sold like slaves.” He was executed for being part of a conspiracy to kill the entire cabinet, which was hoped to give the spark to a revolution in Britain.
  • May Day is recognized throughout the world as International Workers’ Day, or Labour Day. In 1884 US and Canadian trade unions declared that after May 1st 1886, 8 hours would constitute a legal days work.
  • May 1st was declared a holiday by the International Working Men’s Association (First International) in Paris in 1889. This was to commemorate the Haymarket Martyrs of 1886: 8 anarchists were wrongly accused of throwing a bomb at police and 4 were executed.
  • The USA and Canada do not recognize May Day. The US government attempted to erase the its history by declaring that May 1st was ‘Law Day’ instead. They pronounced that Labour Day was to be on the first Monday of September, a date of no significance.

    Sponsors: The Stonehenge Tour Company –

    Happy Beltane everybody!
    Merlin @ Stonehenge Stone Circle

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