Stonehenge transformation work well on schedule

20 02 2013

Work to transform Stonehenge, which officially started on site in July last year, is progressing well.

This year, the centenary of the 1913 Ancient Monuments Act, will culminate in the opening of English Heritage’s new Stonehenge exhibition galleries and visitor centre at the end of the year.

Work on the Stonehenge site is due to be completed by the end of this year

Work on the Stonehenge site is due to be completed by the end of this year

Building work is currently taking shape at Airman’s Corner, 1.5 miles to the west and out of view of the stones, where the new galleries and facilities will be located.

The sensitively designed building will comprise two “pods” which will house museum-quality exhibitions, a spacious café with indoor and outdoor seating, a bigger shop and dedicated education space

Main contractor Vinci Construction is about to erect a ’bird-cage’ scaffold which will be used to install the undulating canopy roof, a distinctive feature of the building’s design, while a visitor car park and coach park, with capacity for 500 and 30 vehicles respectively, have been laid out and are clearly visible.

Precious objects on loan from the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum are currently being conserved by English Heritage staff ready for display.

They will form the centrepiece of the permanent exhibition at the new building, helping to tell the story of Stonehenge in vivid detail.

Next month volunteers will help with an archaeological experiment at Old Sarum Castle near Salisbury where prototypes of Neolithic houses excavated at Durrington Walls will be built. The lessons learned from this experiment will inform the reconstruction of three Neolithic houses at the outdoor gallery of the new visitor centre in Spring 2014, offering visitors a glimpse of the lives of prehistoric people.

The A344 road between Stonehenge Bottom and Byway 12 will be closed at the end of June, once the new roundabout at Airman’s Corner is operational. Work will follow to remove the fences along this section of road and the road surface itself will be removed and grassed over.

No part of the Stonehenge operation will close while the works are being carried out, and the switchover to the new visitor centre will happen overnight. Until then, access to the existing Stonehenge car park will continue along the A344 but from the west via the A360 and Airman’s Corner.

The date of the opening at the end of 2013 will be announced later in the year.

Full article in the Wiltshire Times: http://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/10237112.Stonehenge_transformation_work_well_on_schedule/

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge to appear on One Show

15 02 2013

A HUNDRED years ago landowner Cecil Chubb bought Stonehenge for £6,600 and donated it to the nation.

And the iconic stones are set to feature on the BBC’s The One Show as Ben Marshall from Salisbury-based chartered surveyors Woolley & Wallis talk to presenter Giles Brandreth about one of the biggest deals in the firm’s history.

salisbury-stonhenge Current Woolley & Wallis partner John Woolley – great grandson of the original John Turton Woolley involved in the sale – said: “It is a great honour that our firm was involved in this purchase.

“I can’t see anything quite like it coming under the hammer today.”

The firm’s original partner John Turton Woolley acted for Shrewton landowner Chubb when he was the successful bidder of lot 15 on September 21, 1915.

Mr Chubb became Sir Cecil three years later when he was knighted by then prime minister Lloyd George after he gave the monument to the nation.

The Stones had been in private hands since the middle ages but when the heir to the Amesbury estate, Edward Antrobus, was killed in the First World War, the estate was put up for sale at an auction run by Knight Frank at The Palace Theatre, Salisbury.

Chubb is said to have bought the stones on a whim for his wife, who was reportedly not overly pleased that he had spent the equivalent of £392,000 in today’s money on the gift.

In 2010 a survey of 500 estate agents valued the 30-acre site at £51million

Full Article: By Morwenna Blake (Salisbury Journal) – http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk

Conditions of the Deed: Free admission into Stonehenge

For Sir Cecil, however, Stonehenge belonged to the nation, and in 1918 after owning it for just three years he formerly handed it over to the country with a number of conditions.

His conditions were that the entrance fee should never be more then a shilling (5p) and that local residents should have free access.

“The 1918 deed of gift didn’t actually specify free access for local residents,” says Joy Kaarnijoki at English Heritage, “it was an agreement with the Parish Council.

“The road passed very close to the stones. The Council agreed that the rights of way could be diverted further from the stone circle on condition that local residents would be granted free access.”

Whether it was stipulated by Sir Cecil Chubb himself, or not, it’s an agreement that has continued to the present day.

According to English Heritage, the 30,000 local residents living in and around Stonehenge can still take up the offer of free access to one of England’s most famous monuments.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Chubb

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Ancient Avebury site has so much potential

12 02 2013

A TWO-man Avebury stone circle research team say the site should capitalise on a World Heritage boost.

The Which? Travel magazine hailed Avebury as the second greatest World Heritage site, behind only the ancient Mexican city of Monte Alban and ahead of attractions including the Great Pyramid and the Taj Mahal.

Avebury_Stone Circle, WiltshireThis was music to the ears of author Eric M Crook and artist Maurice Giraffe from Swindon, who have spent decades investigating not just Avebury but other ancient sites such as Stonehenge and Silbury Hill.

Mr Crook, 88, is the author of a study called Wiltshire: A Journey-man’s Tale. Many of the book’s illustrations are the work of Mr Giraffe, 55, who combines artistic and technical drawing skills to plot the relative positions of stones.

Mr Crook said of the Which? Travel accolade: “It’s fantastic for this to happen, and we would hope that maybe somebody has taken notice of our comments over the years about this place being so important.”

Mr Giraffe added: “I too am very, very pleased that Avebury has been nominated within the top 10.

“At the same time, what draws the attention is that seven of the 10 are building complexes. There is only one stone circle.

“Avebury should now improve its facilities for visitors. Shelters from the rain would be useful, and so would pathways for wheeled access around the stones. We’d like to see uplighters installed so the stones can be seen better at night.”

The two also suggest night time tours and regular grass cutting, as well as restricting access by grazing sheep.

The researchers believe the archaeological establishment has missed clues about ceremonial and navigational uses for such prehistoric places.

They say their research indicates that the surviving Avebury stones were once part of a vast amphitheatre featuring many thousands of carved human and animal faces, and these faces would have appeared to come to life in flickering firelight.

The researchers say remnants of these carvings can still be seen in fragments hacked from the stones down the years, whether for recycling or because the early Christian church objected to the old religions.

Mr Crook said: “Many churches were built with the old stones, and also other properties across Wiltshire.”

Wiltshire: A Journeyman’s Tale costs £9.99 and can be ordered from Amazon and book shops.
Article (By Barrie Hudson – http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk)

Merlin says: ‘Not sure about the uplighters idea’ ?

Merlin @ Stonehenge
Stonehenge News Blog





Explore the archaeology of Stonehenge

1 02 2013

Enjoy a winter afternoon walk on Sunday, learning about the ancient archaeology of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and the area’s varied wildlife.On this three-mile walk with views of the stone circle, the ancient earthworks that have revealed much about the people who once lived and celebrated there will be visited.An aerial view of Stonehenge without the A344 road

Talking points include the Cursus, the many and varied barrows, and an ancient avenue connecting ceremonial centres.

Booking is essential, and the walk begins at 2pm. For details and to book, when the start point will be given, call 0844 249 1895.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/
http://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/

Merlin @ Stonehenge

 








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