Neolithic New Year Walk – Stonehenge Landscape

28 12 2012

Welcome in 2013 with a walk around the ancient monuments of the Stonehenge Landscape. Booking essential.

Stonehenge Landscape ToursAncient ceremonial landscape of great archaeological and wildlife interest

Within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, the National Trust manages 827 hectares (2,100 acres) of downland surrounding the famous stone circle.

Walking across the grassland, visitors can discover other prehistoric monuments, including the Avenue and King Barrow Ridge with its Bronze Age burial mounds.

Nearby, Winterbourne Stoke Barrows is another fascinating example of a prehistoric cemetery. While Durrington Walls hides the remains of a Neolithic village.

The best approach to the famous stone circle is across Normanton Down, a round barrow cemetery dates from around 2600 to 1600BC.





Crowds see in winter solstice at Stonehenge

22 12 2012

Thousands of people have gathered at Stonehenge to watch the sun rise over the ancient monument for the winter solstice

Stonehenge-Winter-Solstice-2012 (35)

Around 5,000 people are thought to have converged on Stonehenge in Wiltshire, to celebrate the 2012 winter solstice, which is around five times the number at last year’s festivities.

This year’s winter solstice coincided with the Mayan Apocalypse, so an “End of the World Party” was held at the monument.

During the winter solstice, the sun is closer to the horizon than at any other time in the year, meaning shorter days and longer nights.

The day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days, leading up to the summer solstice in June.

Watch a video here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/telegraphtv/9760577/Crowds-see-in-winter-solstice-at-Stonehenge.html

A good time had by all…………

Merlin at Stonehenge

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OU students’ Stonehenge dig put to the vote for award

19 12 2012

Excavations by Open University students that could point to the origins of Stonehenge, have been nominated for Research Project of the Year by Current Archaeology magazine.

http://www.open.ac.uk/platform/news-and-features/ou-students-stonehenge-dig-put-to-the-vote-for-awardYou can vote for the project, which is called Vespasian’s Camp: Cradle of Stonehenge? on the Current Archaeology website here.

The project is led by OU tutor David Jacques who has recruited more than 100 OU students to work on the site, alongside volunteers from the nearby town of Amesbury, since the dig began in 2005.

The ongoing dig, at a previously unexplored site 1.5 km east of Stonehenge, is uncovering evidence which suggests the area was an important centre for Stone Age hunters several thousand years before the famous stone circle was built.

“Many experts are now wondering if Stonehenge is where it is because of this new site, because radiocarbon dates obtained from it show a continued use of the site from the 8th millennium BC through to the 5th millennium BC,” says David Jacques.

“This is the longest continually used place yet found in the Stonehenge landscape, and it connects the hunter-gatherer Mesolithic period to close to the Neolithic period, when Stonehenge starts to be constructed.

“It must have been a very special place to be used for 3000 years, a point confirmed by Professor Tim Darvill of Bournemouth University, who also described it as ‘the most important discovery at Stonehenge in many years’.”

The excavation team have uncovered the largest cache of Mesolithic tools ever found in the area, together with evidence of gargantuan Stone Age feasts.

They’ve also found weapons and other objects left as offerings to a god or goddess during the much later Bronze or early Iron Age, suggesting the site had a sacred tradition stretching over thousands of years.

The dig has also inspired the local community to create a museum at Amesbury to house the finds.

To find out more see the story here where you can watch a video and follow links to press reports.

Stonehenge News Blog sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’

Merlin @ Stonehenge





A Pilgrim’s Guide to Stonehenge. The Winter Solstice Celebrations, Summer Solstice and Equinox Dawn Gatherings

13 12 2012

The Winter Solstice Celebrations, Summer Solstice and Equinox Dawn Gatherings

‘The Pilgrims Guide to Stonehenge‘ has been developed as a guide for anyone wanting to visit Stonehenge during the four annual times of Managed Open Access, the summer solstice celebrations, winter solstice and equinox dawn gatherings. Its aim is to provide information for anyone wanting to know more about what goes on and how the quality of the experience can be enhanced through ritual and understanding. As a result, this book focuses on ideas, suggestions and information about what to expect. This pilgrim’s guide has been clearly designed to help the modern visitor to become more of a proactive participant. Apart from wandering freely amongst the stones, much of the information can also be applied to the normal visiting times throughout the rest of the year. Also included is an overview of the historical context, a proposal to reveal the Altar Stone and an examination of how the summer solstice could potentially be developed in the future. Contains over seventy photographs and illustrations.

pilgrims-guide-stonehenge“The notion of people gathering together under their own terms is in some ways a lost art in Britain outside the confines of major sporting occasions, concerts, weekend shopping trips and nights out on the town. Major royal and civic events could also be added to this list. The festival scene however, has given more alternative gathering a real boost. The nature of celebration is to have a joyous time and it is interesting to note that the United Kingdom has amongst the least number of public holidays in Europe. We work increasingly long hours and stresses of modern living can take a toll on the body, as well as the mind. There is certainly a market for a successful summer solstice celebration at Stonehenge for people intending to free their spirits in a communal gathering at an age-old and identifiable site.”

A Pilgrims Guide to Stonehenge (book review)

 Its aim is to provide information for anyone wanting to know more about what goes on during Managed Open Access (Summer Solstice Celebrations, Winter Solstice and Equinox Dawn Gatherings) and how the quality of the experience can be enhanced through ritual and understanding. Much of the information can also be applied throughout the rest of the year. Includes photographs, illustrations, visitor information, ritual guide, historical context, solstice chart and discussion on the future.

This has come from Jim Raynor’s experience of having attended MOA. He felt there was a need for a pilgrim’s guide that enabled the modern visitor to become more of a proactive participant. As a result, this book focuses on ideas, suggestions and information about what to expect. Apart from wandering freely amongst the stones, much of the information can also be applied to normal visiting times throughout the rest of the year. Also included is an overview of the historical context, a proposal to reveal the Altar Stone and an examination of how the summer solstice could potentially be developed in the future.

Search Amazon “Pilgrims-Guide-Stonehenge-Celebrations” to find and buy a copy.
Historical link: https://blog.stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk/category/pilgrims-guide-to-stonehenge/

Merlin says” This book has been developed as a guide for the modern day Stonehenge pilgrim.”

Winter Solstice updates: Follow Stonhenge on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Merlin @ Stonhenge





Ancient Stonehenge ceremonial landscape midwinter Walk

11 12 2012

Ancient ceremonial landscape of great archaeological and wildlife interest

Within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, the National Trust manages 827 hectares (2,100 acres) of downland surrounding the famous stone circle.

Stonehenge Landscape ToursWalking across the grassland, visitors can discover other prehistoric monuments, including the Avenue and King Barrow Ridge with its Bronze Age burial mounds.

Nearby, Winterbourne Stoke Barrows is another fascinating example of a prehistoric cemetery. While Durrington Walls hides the remains of a Neolithic village.

The best approach to the famous stone circle is across Normanton Down, a round barrow cemetery dates from around 2600 to 1600BC.

National Trust Link: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stonehengelandscape/
More Stonehenge Landscape Tours: http://stonehengetours.com/stonehenge-prehistoric-wessex-walking-tour.htm

 

Stonehenge news blog sponosred by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012

11 12 2012

English Heritage will once again allow people access to Stonehenge for the celebration of the Winter Solstice, the first day of the winter season. Sunrise is at 8.09am on Friday 21 December and visitors will be able to access the monument as soon as it is light enough to do so safely. Entrance is free and will be available from roughly 7.30am until 9am, when the site will close – before re-opening as per usual to paying visitors at 9.30am.

Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012

Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2011

The exact time of the Solstice this year, when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun, is at 11.11am on 21 December, however it is generally accepted that the celebration of this special event takes place at dawn and therefore access is permitted at Stonehenge earlier that morning.

Over the last few years, the popularity of Winter Solstice has grown considerably, with many families and young people joining the druid and pagan community in the celebrations. Two years ago, 2,000 people attended Winter Solstice and in 2011 that figure more than doubled to a record 5,000 people.

Peter Carson, Head of Stonehenge, said: “We are delighted to offer people a warm welcome to Stonehenge this Winter Solstice but as facilities are limited, we are not able to accommodate any more people than last year. We don’t have the luxury of using nearby fields in winter for parking and encourage people to make use of the special bus service running from Salisbury. We are working very closely with the local authorities and agencies plus the druid and pagan community to ensure that access to Stonehenge will once again be a success.”

Additional notes
Access may not be possible if the ground conditions are considered poor or if it is felt that access might result in severe damage to the monument.
Public have in previous years used byway 12 for parking on the morning of 21st December. Additional car parking for approximately 800 cars will be available on the A344 (which will be closed to through traffic), plus the Stonehenge Visitor Centre Car Park.

Connected:
New theory of a Winter Solstice Sunrise Alignment –Solstice and the Winter Solstice leaflet (ISBN 9780957093010)
(Background on the Winter Solstice Sunrise Alignment theory is here)
Countdown to doomsday. Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012

Link source: http://www.sarsen.org/2012/11/winter-solstice-at-stonehenge-2012.html

Winter Solstice updates: Follow Stonhenge on Twitter –  https://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Merlin says “Respect the Stones”

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Stonehenge Project Update. December 2012

8 12 2012

As Stonehenge gears up for winter, we wanted to let you know we’re making good progress with the new visitor centre at Airman’s Corner. This time next year, work will have been completed and we’ll be busy preparing for the opening.

As you can see from the photo below, the visitor centre and the car park are  taking shape behind the hoardings. The building should be water-tight by Christmas and a ‘bird cage’ scaffold will be used in the New Year to help install the delicate canopy roof.

Aerial view of Airman's Corner

Aerial view of Airman’s Corner

We’ve taken great care with the design and construction of the building – disruption to the ground has been kept to a minimum and we have used locally sourced materials wherever possible.

The new visitor centre taking shape

The new visitor centre taking shape

At Last, a Proper Place to Tell Stonehenge’s Story

A visit to the stones will, for the first time, be enhanced by special exhibition galleries curated by English Heritage experts which will tell the story of Stonehenge and its relationship with the wider landscape. They will feature important objects excavated near Stonehenge kindly loaned by the Wiltshire Heritage Museum and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.

Curators discussing the objects on loan from the two local museums

Curators discussing the objects on loan from the two local museums

Neolithic Builders Needed

One exciting feature of the outdoor gallery is the reconstruction of three Neolithic houses based on rare evidence of buildings unearthed near Stonehenge. We need volunteers to help us build three prototype houses at Old Sarum Castle in spring 2013 and then build the actual houses at the new visitor centre in autumn 2013. To find out more or to register your interest, please go to Stonehenge volunteering.

An attempt at reconstructing a Neolithic house in East Sussex

An attempt at reconstructing a Neolithic house in East Sussex

Business As Usual at Stonehenge

The construction work is not visible from Stonehenge at all; throughout the construction period Stonehenge will continue to welcome visitors at its existing facilities.

An opening date for the new visitor building will be announced in 2013, and the switch-over to the new facilities will be overnight so that there will be no disruption to visitors.

When the new visitor centre and its captivating galleries open in winter 2013, we will start dismantling the existing facilities and restore the landscape around the stones. We look forward to keeping you posted as these exciting developments progress.

Computer-generated image of the new visitor centre when completed

Computer-generated image of the new visitor centre when completed

Road Improvements

We understand the closure of the A344 has raised some concerns – it’s a vital change to help create a more tranquil and dignified setting for Stonehenge, but we are working hard to mitigate the impact. The Highways Agency is carrying out works to improve the capacity of Longbarrow Roundabout to cope with the diverted traffic (see details below) and the section of the A344 between Stonehenge Bottom and Byway 12 will only close when these improvements are complete in May 2013. The rest of the road will remain open until we move operations to Airman’s Corner.

Work is also underway to improve the Airman’s Corner roundabout. During the construction, we’re keeping the use of traffic lights to a minimum but some are needed to ensure safe traffic flow.

Longbarrow Roundabout Roadworks (A303/A360 Junction)

The Highways Agency has started a six-month scheme to improve the Longbarrow roundabout at the junction of the A360 and A303. The proposed improvements to the northern and eastern approaches to the roundabout will accommodate changes in traffic flows following the planned A344 closure in May 2013. New lanes will be added to the roundabout to take the extra traffic caused by the closure of the A344 and the centre of the roundabout itself will be realigned.

During the works, there will be lane closures on the northern and eastern approaches to Longbarrow roundabout and a temporary 40mph speed limit in place. The A360 south of Longbarrow will be closed for up to eight days and nights on dates to be confirmed in either February or March 2013. Diversion routes will be in operation using the A345 or the A36 depending on journey destinations.

Contact us

If you have any questions regarding the project please email English Heritage atstonehenge.project@english-heritage.org.uk

Link source: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk

Stonhenge News Blog sponsored by Stonehenge Guided Tours – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge








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