For two weeks during September, English Heritage is carrying out repairs to the lintels at Stonehenge.

15 09 2021
  • Restoration work at Stonehenge has begun, with scaffolding erected inside ancient Salisbury monument
  • Strong winds buffeting the 4,500-year-old stone circle have taken their toll on its horizontal stones
  • Large-scale restoration this morning, with conservators seen scaling 22ft high scaffolding 
  • The last major job was conducted in 1958, when several stones were hauled back into place by Aubrey Bailey 
  • His son Richard Woodman-Bailey is being asked to place a £2 coin within Stonehenge at a ceremony 

For two weeks during September, English Heritage is carrying out repairs to the lintels at Stonehenge, replacing old degraded cement mortar that was used in the late 1950s to prevent weathering and secure the stones in position. The work will be heavily scrutinised by those on the project, in stark contrast to the work carried out in the 1950s.

Why are the stones being repaired?

Heather Sebire, English Heritage’s senior curator for the site, said: “Four-and-a-half-thousand years of being buffeted by wind and rain has created cracks and holes in the surface of the stone, and this vital work will protect the features which make Stonehenge so distinctive.”

Orientated towards the sunrise on the summer solstice, the sacred site includes several hundred burial mounds across the complex.

Scaffolding has been erected next to Stonehenge this morning as the ancient monument undergoes the first major repairs in more than six decades so cracks and holes in the stones can be refilled 

However, Stonehenge is showing its age, with laser scans showing the lintel stones, joints and concrete mortar that balance across the vertical pillars have heavily eroded.

The concrete mortar used in the most recent project is not breathable, leaving the ancient stones vulnerable from moisture. This moisture can freeze in winter, then when it thaws, leaves deep cracks.

Instead of using concrete, conservators and engineers are to use a more forgiving material, lime mortar.

This type of mortar keeps water out more efficiently and, when moisture does enter, it allows it to escape.

Unsheltered from the elements, Stonehenge is at the mercy of what ever nature throws its way. Thrashed by wind and rain, the UK’s every increasingly extreme weather is bound to take its toll on the ancient moment.

Visitors to Stonehenge will get a unique opportunity to see conservation in action while the work takes place. Stonehenge Guided Tours offer tours from London and can include the special access experience allowing you to enter the inner circle and get a closer look. The Stonehenge Travel Company offer guided tours from nearby Salisbury and Bath.

Relevant Stonehenge news Links:
Stonehenge restoration work begin. Daily Mail
Conservation project starts at Stonehenge – Salisbury Journal
Stonehenge project launched to repair deep lintel cracks – The Guardian
Stonehenge: English Heritage to repair cracked lintels – BBC News
Why is Stonehenge being repaired? – Wales Online
From Restoration to Conservation – English Heritage
Stonehenge to undergo first major repairs in 60 years to fill cracks and holes in monument – The Independent

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