Pagan stone circle built at US Air Force training academy

29 11 2011

The US military has built a stone circle in its Air Force academy to give pagans, druids and witches somewhere to practice their religion.

Stonehenge, UK: The Colarado base has spent around £50,000 building the Stonehenge-like structure

Stonehenge, UK: The Colarado base has spent around £50,000 building the Stonehenge-like structure


The Colorado base has spent around £50,000 building the Stonehenge-like structure to allow witches to cast spells, and pagans to form “circles of power” by night.

it is situated on top of a wooded hill and includes a fire pit.

The academy says it is for cadets who practice ‘Earth based’ religions including druids, witches and North American faiths.

Despite the expenses it is believed only three out of the 4,300 cadets have openly admitted that they are pagan.

Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman, campaigned to ban witches from the military, saying: “What’s next? Will armoured divisions be forced to travel with sacrificial animals for Satanic rituals? Will Rastafarians demand the inclusion of ritualistic marijuana cigarettes in their rations?”

The Wiccan religion was added to the US Army’s chaplain’s handbook in the 1970s and includes details on how covens are organised and how Druids worship ‘Mother Earth and Father Sky.’

“Most Wiccan groups also practise magic, by which they mean the direction and use of ‘psychic energy’ — those natural but invisible forces which surround all living things,” it explains.

The air force says the site is to help to protect the constitutional right to religious freedom.

But some think it is an attempt to attract more Wiccans to the army.

“Many men attracted to wicca are also attracted to this fantasy of the ancient warrior who is spiritually adept, but also a great fighter,” Margot Adler, a renowned witch and broadcaster, said.

The American Religious Identification Survey estimated that there were 700,000 pagans and wiccans in the US

US Army says Wiccan work it out

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

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge ‘should be lit at night’ campaigner claims

29 11 2011

Calls for Stonehenge to be lit up at night to capitalise on its appeal have been resisted by experts who claim it would spoil enjoyment of the prehistoric Wiltshire monument.

I was listening to this discussion on Radio 2 (Chris Evans) this morning so thought I would share this article by Andy Bloxham in the Telegraph today

Some people believe Stonehenge should be lit at night

Some people believe Stonehenge should be lit at night

After years of little progress, a multi-million-pound development plan was recently adopted to improve the site, which abuts the busy A303.

However, some people believe more could be done to ensure that Stonehenge can be appreciated around the clock.

They suggest the ancient stone circle could be lit at night “like the pyramids in Egypt or Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome”.

The discussion became a national debate when Lady Mimi Pakenham, of Warminster, in Wiltshire, raised it in a newspaper.

She said: “The magic of Stonehenge could be shared every evening with all who pass, many of whom can’t afford a ticket, just as it was a magical place thousands of years ago, sometimes with the Moon and clouds shining as well.

With subtle lighting sunk well out of view and endless possibilities of solar energy, the monumental power of ancient man’s achievement in another age would inspire all who pass by.

“Perhaps in depressing times a cocktail of cost-free magic is the very least we can expect from the guardians of the national heritage.”

However, some archaeologists disagreed.

Clive Ruggles, a professor of archaeoastronomy – the study of how ancient cultures understood the sky, said seeing Stonehenge alongside the stars was a key part of its appeal.

He said: “Stonehenge is iconic of the connections between ancient monuments and the sky, not only with strong connections to the annual cycles of the Sun but also very likely to the Moon and stars.

“Lighting up the monument would cut the visual connection between the monument and the starry night sky at a stroke.”

A number of groups, including the Royal Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union, have been working alongside English Heritage for several years to try to preserve as dark a night sky as possible in the area.

They have also been exploring ways in which “night tourism” might be permitted and encouraged in the future, Prof Ruggles said.

However, the debate is likely to only make the ongoing struggle to acceptably improve the site more knotted.

Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/archaeology/8922352/Stonehenge-should-be-lit-at-night-campaigner-claims.html

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

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Archaeological discovery provides evidence of a celestial procession at Stonehenge

27 11 2011
BIRMINGHAM.- Archaeologists led by the University of Birmingham with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection have discovered evidence of two huge pits positioned on celestial alignment at Stonehenge. Shedding new light on the significant association of the monument with the sun, these pits may have contained tall stones, wooden posts or even fires to mark its rising and setting and could have defined a processional route used by agriculturalists to celebrate the passage of the sun across the sky at the summer solstice.

 photograph showing Arch Druid Keeper of the Stones Terry Dobney inspecting the famous British landmark Stonehenge in Wiltshire, south west England.

photograph showing Arch Druid Keeper of the Stones Terry Dobney inspecting the famous British landmark Stonehenge in Wiltshire, south west England.

Positioned within the Cursus pathway, the pits are on alignment towards midsummer sunrise and sunset when viewed from the Heel Stone, the enigmatic stone standing just outside the entrance to Stonehenge. For the first time, this discovery may directly link the rituals and celestial phenomena at Stonehenge to activities within the Cursus.

The international archaeological survey team, led by the University of Birmingham’s IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre (VISTA), with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Vienna (LBI ArchPro) have also discovered a previously unknown gap in the middle of the northern side of the Cursus, which may have provided the main entrance and exit point for processions that took place within the pathway. Stretching from west to east, the Cursus is an immense linear enclosure, 100 metres wide and two and a half kilometres across, north of Stonehenge.

Professor Vince Gaffney, archaeologist and project leader from the IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre at the University of Birmingham, explains: “This is the first time we have seen anything quite like this at Stonehenge and it provides a more sophisticated insight into how rituals may have taken place within the Cursus and the wider landscape. These exciting finds indicate that even though Stonehenge was ultimately the most important monument in the landscape, it may at times not have been the only, or most important, ritual focus and the area of Stonehenge may have become significant as a sacred site at a much earlier date.

“Other activities were carried out at other ceremonial sites only a short distance away. The results from this new survey help us to appreciate just how complex these activities were and how intimate these societies were with the natural world. The perimeter of the Cursus may well have defined a route guiding ceremonial processions which took place on the longest day of the year.”

Archaeologists have understood for a long time that Stonehenge was designed to mark astronomical events, built by farming societies whose everyday concerns with growing crops linked their daily lives to the passage of the seasons and in particular the sun, on which their livelihoods depended. This new evidence raises exciting questions about how complex rituals within the Stonehenge landscape were conducted and how processions along or around the Cursus were organised at the time Stonehenge was in use.

Professor Gaffney adds: “It now seems likely that other ceremonial monuments in the surrounding landscape were directly articulated with rituals at Stonehenge. It is possible that processions within the Cursus moved from the eastern pit at sunrise, continuing eastwards along the Cursus and, following the path of the sun overhead, and perhaps back to the west, reaching the western pit at sunset to mark the longest day of the year. Observers of the ceremony would have been positioned at the Heel Stone, of which the two pits are aligned.”

Dr Henry Chapman, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology and Visualisation observes: “If you measure the walking distance between the two pits, the procession would reach exactly half-way at midday, when the sun would be directly on top of Stonehenge. This is more than just a coincidence, indicating that the exact length of the Cursus and the positioning of the pits are of significance.”

Stonehenge, while certainly the most important monument in the later Neolithic and Bronze Age landscape, was surrounded by a dense concentration of other sacred sites, some of which were already ancient when Stonehenge itself was built. The team has also revealed a new horseshoe arrangement of large pits north-east of Stonehenge which may have also contained posts and, together with the henge-like monument discovered last year and a number of other small monuments, may have functioned as minor shrines, perhaps serving specific communities visiting the ceremonial centre.

Paul Garwood, Lecturer in Prehistory at the University of Birmingham, comments: “Our knowledge of the ancient landscapes that once existed around Stonehenge is growing dramatically as we examine the new geophysical survey results. We can see in rich detail not only new monuments, but entire landscapes of past human activity, over thousands of years, preserved in sub-surface features such as pits and ditches. This project is establishing a completely new framework for studying the Stonehenge landscape.”

These new discoveries have come to light as part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project, which began in summer 2010 as the world’s biggest-ever virtual excavation using the latest geophysical imaging techniques to reveal and visually recreate the extraordinary prehistoric landscape surrounding Stonehenge.

Professor Wolfgang Neubauer, Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, adds: “The LBI provides the best academics, technicians and young researchers in a team of 20 people and uses multiple systems designed for use on projects where the scale of work was previously unachievable. The use of non-invasive technologies provides information for virtual archaeologies that can be disseminated to the public via the web, iPad or mobile phone.”

Dr Christopher Gaffney, lecturer in Archaeological Geophysics at the University of Bradford, concludes:

“Building on our work from last year we have added even more techniques and instruments to study this remarkable landscape. It is clear that one technique is not adequate to study the complexity of the monuments and landscape surrounding our most important archaeological monument and the battery of techniques used here has significantly increased the certainty of our interpretation.”

Link: http://www.artdaily.org

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

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Secret history of Stonehenge revealed

26 11 2011

 Ancient site may have been place of worship 500 years before the first stone was erected

Extraordinary new discoveries are shedding new light on why Britain’s most famous ancient site, Stonehenge, was built – and when.

Current research is now suggesting that Stonehenge may already have been an important sacred site at least 500 years before the first Stone circle was erected – and that the sanctity of its location may have determined the layout of key aspects of the surrounding sacred landscape.

What’s more, the new investigation – being carried out by archaeologists from the universities’ of Birmingham, Bradford  and Vienna – massively increases the evidence linking Stonehenge to pre-historic solar religious beliefs. It increases the likelihood that the site was originally and primarily associated with sun worship

The investigations have also enabled archaeologists  to putatively reconstruct the detailed route of a possible religious procession or other ritual event which they suspect may have taken place annually to the north of Stonehenge.

That putative pre-historic religious ‘procession’ (or, more specifically, the evidence suggesting its route) has implications for understanding Stonehenge’s prehistoric religious function – and suggests that the significance of the site Stonehenge now occupies emerged earlier than has previously been appreciated.

The crucial new archaeological evidence was discovered during on-going survey work around Stonehenge in which archaeologists have been ‘x-raying’ the ground, using ground-penetrating radar and other geophysical investigative techniques. As the archaeological team from Birmingham and Vienna were using these high-tech systems to map the interior of a major prehistoric enclosure (the so-called ‘Cursus’) near Stonehenge, they discovered two great pits, one towards the enclosure’s eastern end, the other nearer its western end.

When they modelled the relationship between these newly-discovered Cursus pits and Stonehenge on their computer system, they realised that, viewed from the so-called ‘Heel Stone’ at Stonehenge, the pits were aligned with sunrise and sunset on the longest day of the year – the summer solstice (midsummer’s day). The chances of those two alignments being purely coincidental are extremely low.

The archaeologists then began to speculate as to what sort of ritual or ceremonial activity might have been carried out at and between the two pits. In many areas of the world, ancient religious and other ceremonies sometimes involved ceremonially processing round the perimeters of monuments. The archaeologists therefore thought it possible that the prehistoric celebrants at the Cursus might have perambulated between the two pits by processing around the perimeter of the Cursus.

Initially this was pure speculation – but then it was realized that there was, potentially a way of trying to test the idea. On midsummer’s day there are in fact three key alignments – not just sunrise and sunset, but also midday (the highest point the sun reaches in its annual cycle). For at noon the key alignment should be due south.

One way to test the ‘procession’ theory (or at least its route) was for the archaeologists  to demonstrate that the midway point on that route had indeed a special relationship with Stonehenge (just as the two pits – the start and end point of the route – had).  The ‘eureka moment’ came when the computer calculations revealed that the midway point (the noon point) on the route aligned directly with the centre of Stonehenge, which was precisely due south.

This realization that the sun hovering over the site of  Stonehenge at its highest point in the year appears to have been of great importance to prehistoric people, is itself of potential significance. For it suggests that the site’s association with the veneration of the sun was perhaps even greater than previously realized.

But the discovery of the Cursus pits, the discovery of the solar alignments and of the putative ‘processional’ route, reveals something else as well – something that could potentially turn the accepted chronology of the Stonehenge landscape on its head.

For decades, modern archaeology has held that Stonehenge was a relative latecomer to the area – and that the other large monument in that landscape – the Cursus – pre-dated it by up to 500 years.

However, the implication of the new evidence is that, in a sense, the story may have been the other way round, i.e. that the site of Stonehenge was sacred before the Cursus was built, says Birmingham archaeologist, Dr. Henry Chapman, who has been modelling the alignments on the computerized reconstructions of the Stonehenge landscape

The argument for this is simple, yet persuasive. Because the ‘due south’ noon alignment of the ‘procession’ route’s mid-point could not occur if the Cursus itself had different dimensions, the design of that monument has to have been conceived specifically to attain that mid-point alignment with the centre of Stonehenge.

What’s more, if that is so, the Stonehenge Heel Stone location had to have been of ritual significance before the Cursus pits were dug (because their alignments are as perceived specifically from the Heel Stone).

Those two facts, when taken together, therefore imply that the site, later occupied by the stones of Stonehenge, was already sacred before construction work began on the Cursus. Unless the midday alignment is a pure coincidence (which is unlikely), it  would imply  that the Stonehenge site’s sacred status is at least 500 years older than previously thought – a fact which raises an intriguing possibility.

For 45 years ago, archaeologists found an 8000 BC Mesolithic (‘Middle’ Stone Age) ritual site in what is now Stonehenge’s car park. The five thousand year gap between that Mesolithic sacred site and Stonehenge itself meant that most archaeologists thought that ‘sacred’ continuity between the two was inherently unlikely. But, with the new discoveries, the time gap has potentially narrowed. Indeed, it’s not known for how long the site of Stonehenge was sacred prior to the construction of the Cursus. So, very long term traditions of geographical sanctity in relation to Britain’s and the world’s best known ancient monument, may now need to be considered.

The University of Birmingham  Stonehenge area survey – the largest of its type ever carried out anywhere in the world – will take a further two years to complete, says Professor Vince Gaffney, the director the project.

Virtually every square meter in a five square mile area surrounding the world most famous pre-historic monument will be examined geophysically to a depth of  up to two metres, he says.

It’s anticipated that dozens, potentially hundreds of previously unknown sites will be discovered as a result of the operation.

The ongoing discoveries in Stonehenge’s sacred prehistoric landscape – being made by Birmingham’s archaeologists and colleagues from the University of Vienna’s Ludwig Boltzmann Institute – are expected to transform scholars’ understanding of the famous monument’s origins, history and meaning.

Full Article: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/history/secret-history-of-stonehenge-revealed-6268237.html

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

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





‘Stonehenge is just scaffolding’ claim experts

24 11 2011

After many tens of years of investigation, the meaning behind the ancient monument of Stonehenge may finally have been discovered. Professor Mike Smith and his Oxford University team have concluded that the stones are not the final construction but just the scaffolding to allow work to take place.

Stonehenge‘The missing piece of the puzzle was put in place when I employed some roofers to re-tile over the bathroom and spare bedroom’ he explained. ‘They seemed keen and put up the scaffolding very quickly, but then vanished once the deposit had been paid. One evening the sunlight beamed through the metal pipework from the kitchen door to the cactus collection on the study windowsill, and I saw that this scaffolding was essentially the same structure as at Stonehenge, only not as well put together.’

After the initial discovery the team worked tirelessly to test their new hypothesis, and to work out what final structure was to have been built at the site. ‘The clues led us to the nearest comparable stone age building of Silbury Hill, and a ‘Silbury 2’ constructed on the plain would have been a towering white elephant on the scale of the Millennium Dome or High Speed Rail 2’ claimed the Professor. ‘It was essentially a huge temple to the capacity of a centralised organisation to waste millions of man hours in pointless endeavour. It was obviously planned to be a national piece of work as well – the scaffolding was produced by a sub-contractor from South Wales, which shows that the Government paid lip-service to allocating work in areas of economic deprivation 4000 years ago as well.’

‘We will never be fully sure as to why the Stonehenge hill was not completed but it is likely to have been an early impact of the current government funding cuts’ he concluded.

Professor Smith’s roof has still not been fixed.

‘Spoof ‘Article from  http://www.newsbiscuit.com

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

Its not all serious……………………

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Stonehenge News Flash: Stonehenge byways to remain open

22 11 2011

A PLANNING inspector has ruled that byways surrounding Stonehenge will remain open.

The decision follows inquiries into proposals to close the byways as well as parts of the A344 and the inspector has decided that although the road will close, the byways should remain open.

English Heritage plans to return the area to grass as part of plans for a new visitors’ centre at Airman’s Corner.

Planning inspector Alan Boyland said: “I accept that Wiltshire has a considerably greater length of byways than any other county. This is not however, in itself, a reason for allowing a further loss for recreational motor vehicle users.

“In this case, the loss of a further 7km, particularly given the strategic importance of those routes, and without similar alternative routes being available, would in my view be significantly detrimental to the current users.”

At the inquiry, Druid leader King Arthur Pendragon objected to the proposals to close the byways as he said it is a violation of his human rights not to be able to access the area, particularly during Pagan ceremonies such as celebrations of the solstices and equinox.

Mr Pendragon said: “It appears that the inspector has erred on the side of common sense and found himself in agreement with the points made.”

The new visitor centre has got planning permission and despite funding problems English Heritage hopes the it can be completed by 2013.

Article: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/salisbury/salisburynews/9378111.Stonehenge_byways_to_remain_open/#commentsList

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

Merlin @ Stonehenge





The Stonehenge Landscape Project. Lecture: 10th December 2011

19 11 2011

 

Recent Analytical survey and investigation in the World Heritage Site, by David Field.

Saturday LectureMonuments within the Stonehenge Landscape have rarely been subject to survey techniques in modern times and in many cases reliance has been placed on Ordnance Survey depictions of the early 20th century. In advance of the establishment of a new visitor centre and to complement and support the recent university programmes of excavation in the area, English Heritage has been conducting the Stonehenge WHS Landscape Project to determine what non-destructive survey techniques can tell us about the area. Using ground survey, aerial photography, lidar and laser scanning a number of fresh and sometimes surprising conclusions emerge. This talk will outline the results so far.

David Field is a senior landscape archaeologist at English Heritage. He has undertaken extensive research into the prehistory of Salisbury Plain and the Vale of Pewsey, including the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. Publications include ‘Earthen Long Barrows’ 2006),‘The story of Silbury Hill’ (co author with Jim Leary, 2010), ‘The Field Archaeology of the Salisbury Plain Training Area’ (2002) and ‘Ancient water management on Salisbury Plain’ in Patterns of the Past: Essays in Landscape Archaeology (1999). He has also contributed a number of articles to WANHM, most recently as one of the joint authors of the reports on the Breamore jadeite axehead and the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Midden at East Chisenbury, in Volume 103 (2010).

Saturday afternoon lectures start at 2.30pm and last approx. one hour.

Booking:

Contact the Bookings Secretary if you would like to be added to a reserve list:
* Tel: 01380 727369 (10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday)
* Send an e-mail.
Cost:   £5 (£3 for WANHS members)

Visiting Stonehenge ?  Visit the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes:  http://www.wiltshireheritage.org.uk

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

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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