Hundreds of pagans and druids descend on Stonehenge to celebrate the 2019 Spring (Vernal) Equinox.

21 03 2019

Visitors headed to the famous 5,000-year-old stone circle in Wiltshire in the dark to ensure they got to see the sun rise. And they made the most of one of only four public annual events that allows people to get so close to the stones.


Big event: The equinox happens twice a year around March 20th and September 22nd, between the summer and winter solstices. On the equinox, day and night are nearly equal because the sun appears to rise before its centre is at the horizon

WHY CAN PAGANS AND DRUIDS GET SO CLOSE TO THE STONES FOR THE EQUINOX?

The famous Stonehenge circle is normally roped off to the public, but special access is granted four times a year.

This is only on the mornings of the summer solstice, winter solstice, spring equinox and autumn equinox.

English Heritage has ‘managed open access’, meaning the public can stand among the stones on these days.

Anyone can turn up on the day to get close to the stones, but people are asked not to touch or climb on them.

Organisers also have a ban on bringing glass bottles or pets onto the site and on playing amplified music.

Today Stonehenge was opened at 5.45am when it was deemed light enough to safely allow people into the field.

Visitors began to leave at 8.30am and then the area was opened to the paying public as normal at 9.30am

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Stonehenge Spring (Vernal) Equinox Open Access: 21st March 2019

20 03 2019

The exact time of the 2019 Spring (Vernal) Equinox is 09.58pm

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English Heritage are expected to give a short period of managed open access from approximately 05.45m to 8.00am.
Sunrise on the March 21st is at 6.11am. A rare supermoon is set to stage a nocturnal spectacular in what will be the third and final occurrence of the phenomenon in 2019. On Wednesday and Thursday, the full moon will be closer to Earth, and so brighter than it usually appears.

This is the second of the four ‘sky points’ in our Wheel of the Year and it is when the sun does a perfect balancing act in the heavens.

At the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox the sun rises exactly in the east, travels through the sky for 12 hours and then sets exactly in the west. So all over the world, at this special moment, day and night are of equal length hence the word equinox which means ‘equal night’.

Of course, for those of us here in the northern hemisphere it is this equinox that brings us out of our winter.

For those in the southern hemisphere, this time is the autumnal equinox that isArthur Pendragon taking you in to your winter. And this is very much how I think of the equinoxes – as the ‘edges’ of winter. This is why they can be quite hard on our bodies as it is a major climatic shift, so it is a good time to give a boost to your immune system with natural remedies and cleansing foods.

Here in Wiltshire (as with the rest of rural Britain), it was traditional to drink dandelion and burdock cordials at this time as these herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after its winter hardships.

As the Vernal Equinox heralds the arrival of spring, it is a time of renewal in both nature and the home, so time for some spring-cleaning!

This is more than just a physical activity, it also helps to remove any old or negative energies accumulated over the dark, heavy winter months preparing the way for the positive growing energy of spring and summer.

As with all the other key festivals of the year, there are both Pagan and Christian associations with the Spring Equinox.To Pagans, this is the time of the ancient Saxon goddess, Eostre, who stands for new beginnings and fertility.

This is why she is symbolized by eggs (new life) and rabbits/hares (fertility).

Her name is also the root of the term we give to the female hormone, oestrogen.By now, you may be beginning to see the Christian celebration derived from this festival – Easter.

And this is the reason why the ‘Easter Bunny’ brings us coloured eggs (and if you’re lucky chocolate ones!) at this time of year.

So, as nature starts to sprout the seeds that have been gestating in her belly throughout the winter, maybe you can start to think about what you want to ‘sprout’ in your life now and start to take action.

Visiting Stonehenge this year for the Spring Equinox Celebrations? RESPECT THE STONES

If you are unable to visit Stonehenge on the Equinox you can watch our FACEBOOK or  LIVE PERISCOPE STONEHENGE BROADCAST

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Stonehenge feasters came from far and wide. New study unearths clues to Neolithic celebrations

15 03 2019

Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of the earliest large-scale celebrations in Britain – with people and animals travelling hundreds of miles for prehistoric feasting rituals.

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Autumn Equinox Celebrations

Four sites close to Stonehenge and Avebury, including Durrington Walls, Marden, Mount Pleasant and West Kennet Palisade Enclosures hosted feasts which drew people and animals from all over the country.

A study examining the bones of 131 pigs from four Late Neolithic complexes show that the animals came from as far away as Scotland, the North East of England and West Wales, as well as other sites in Britain.

Archaeologists have found people travelled from Scotland, Wales and North England to take part in feasts at Stonehenge.

Researchers believe that those attending the feasts may have wanted to contribute animals raised locally at their homes.

Before this study, the origins of the people who took part in the rituals and the extent of the journeys people would take, have been a mystery.

Stonehenge was ‘hub for Britain’s earliest mass parties’

Study lead Dr Richard Madgwick from the University of Cardiff said: “These gatherings could be seen as the first united cultural events of our island, with people from all corners of Britain descending on the areas around Stonehenge to feast on food that had been specially reared and transported from their homes.”

Dr Madgwick said finding pigs in the vicinity of the feasting sites would have been “relatively easy” making the fact they brought the animals long distances “arguably the most startling finding” as this would have required “a monumental effort”.

“This suggests that prescribed contributions were required and that rules dictated that offered pigs must be raised by the feasting participants, accompanying them on their journey, rather than being acquired locally,” he said.

Related Stonehenge Links:

Study of pig bones shows Stonehenge feasters came from far and wide – SKY NEWS
Stonehenge was ‘hub for Britain’s earliest mass parties’- BBC NEWS
Prehistoric feasts at Stonehenge drew people from across Britain to gather – SALISBURY JOURNAL
Stonehenge mystery UNRAVELLED: DAILY EXPRESS
Neolithic Britons travelled across country for regular mass national feasts 4,500 years ago, new research claims – THE INDEPENDENT
Stonehenge-era pig roasts united ancient Britain, scientists say – NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
Ancient Brits ‘travelled to Stonehenge for raves’ – THE EVENING STANDARD

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Ancient Craft at Stonehenge. Neolithic to Bronze Age living history!

2 03 2019

Ancient Craft will be at Stonehenge to demonstrate Neolithic to Bronze Age living history and crafts! Ancient Craft have decided to have two days focused towards the Neolithic and the second two on the Bronze Age. There will be a camp where you can watch crafts like flintknapping, cordage making, grain grinding, cooking and bronze casting! There will be two experienced prehistoric crafts people to show you lots of different objects and skills from the time of Stonehenge so don’t miss out!

EVENT DATE: 22nd April at 10:00 – 25th April at 16:00

ancient-craft

Details will be available on the English Heritage website soon!

What is AncientCraft?

AncientCraft is dedicated to the archaeology of primitive crafts and technologies during prehistory – mainly focused on the Stone Age and Bronze Age. This includes references to materials such as lithics (also known as “flintknapping”), wood, bone, horn, leather, metals and cloth (linen and wool).

AncientCraft was setup and is run by James Dilley, an archaeologist and craftsman who specialises in prehistoric technologies and has around 16 years experience of flintknapping and other ancient crafts. James has worked with museums and heritage sites such as The British Museum and Stonehenge as well as media companies such as the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Dorling Kindersley publishing. The outreach objective of AncientCraft is to encourage people of all ages to explore prehistory through their own research or by practising prehistoric skills. By working with museums or media outlets it is possible to provide a unique view of prehistoric archaeology as James is an academic at the University of Southampton with a strong practical background. It is this combination of academic understanding of prehistoric archaeology, and strong roots in crafts from the Palaeolithic – Bronze Age that makes AncientCraft one of the most popular prehistoric displays for museums in the UK and Ireland.
Their Facebook page shows some of the things James gets up to with AncientCraft across the UK and Ireland from living history events and workshops to some of the replicas being made for museum displays or film work.
You can also visit the website via www.ancientcraft.co.uk

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Stones from Pembrokeshire used in the construction of Stonehenge may have been transported by land rather than sea, archaeologists have found.

24 02 2019

Quarrying of Stonehenge ‘bluestones’ dated to 3000 BC

Excavations at two quarries in Wales, known to be the source of the Stonehenge ‘bluestones’, provide new evidence of megalith quarrying 5,000 years ago, according to a new UCL-led study.  The findings were published in the journal Antiquity.

Stonehenge (pictured) is made of natural pillars from Pembrokeshire, 180 miles (290 km) away from its current location in Wiltshire. Experts claim the obelisks were dragged there over land and not taken there by sea, as some theories have suggested

Stonehenge (pictured) is made of natural pillars from Pembrokeshire, 180 miles (290 km) away from its current location in Wiltshire. Experts claim the obelisks were dragged there over land and not taken there by sea, as some theories have suggested

The discovery confirms a prediction made a century ago

It was Herbert Henry Thomas, a British geologist, who first declared that the “foreign stones” of Stonehenge—those that did not come from the vicinity of the prehistoric monument and whose raison d’être was therefore most shrouded in mystery—had been hewed from rocky outcrops in west Wales. In 1923 he pointed to the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire. Nearly a century later he has been found to be nearly, but not quite, right.

The new discoveries also cast doubt on a popular theory that the bluestones were transported by sea to Stonehenge.

Radiocarbon dates
Joshua Pollard, a professor of archaeology at the University of Southampton, said the findings were key as they were “further confirmation that the Stonehenge bluestones were moved by people (and not geological forces such as ice-sheets) in prehistory, in what stands out as one of the most remarkable instances of long-distance movement of large stones in the ancient world.”

He said that radiocarbon dates indicate there may have been a gap in time between the quarrying of the stones from Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-felin, which may suggest they were “originally set up as one or more stone circles in Preseli.”

Prof Pollard went on to explain the research revealed the “far-flung importance of the Preseli region during the Neolithic.”

He added: “Ultimately, it’s a story about people – about early farmers – with a strong connection to ancestral lands, and their need to reinforce those connections through the movement and building of great megalithic monuments.”

  • Relevant Stonehege news links:
    Solving the mystery of Stonehenge – The Economist
  • Stonehenge: Preseli stone ‘transported over land’ – BBC NEWS
  • The Where, When and How of Quarrying Stonehenge ‘Bluestones’ Is Revealed in New Report – Ancient Origins
  • Quarrying of Stonehenge ‘bluestones’ dated to 3000 BC – Archaeology and Arts
  • How Stonehenge’s ‘bluestones’ were quarried 5,000 years ago: Ready-made pillars were pried away from rocky outcrops before being transported over land NOT sea – Daily Mail

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Was Stonehenge built by seafarers? Prehistoric sailors may have been responsible for many of the megalithic monuments.

16 02 2019

Stonehenge is one of many megalithic monuments from prehistory dotted around Europe and scientists have now discovered the art form of giant rocks was a popular trend that started 6,500 years ago in France.

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  • The first monument was erected in northwest France in 4,500 BC, study finds 
  • Then the tradition, practice and popularity for similar monuments spread 
  • Monuments appeared at coastal regions on Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts
  • Sailors are thought to have taken the trend around Europe over 2,000 years as they used their budding sea routes  

The knowledge and expertise to create these monuments was then spread around Europe by sailors over the following millennia.

Similar monuments to the original appeared in coastal regions around the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts via sailors on large ships using emerging sea routes.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, theorizes that these megalith structures have been around for nearly 7,000 years and may have originated in northwestern France.

Relevant Stonehenge News links:
Was Stonehenge built by seafarers? Daily Mail
Stonehenge, other ancient rock structures may trace their origins to monuments like this.  Science Mag
Prehistoric sailors may be responsible for Stonehenge.  New York Post 
Stonehenge mystery solved? Fox News

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2019 Stonehenge Opening Hours, Entry Prices and Tickets.

2 01 2019

Stonehenge Opening Times and Entrance Prices.
English Heritage advise to expect a visit to last around two hours. Please see the table below for opening times for 2019, with some seasonal variability, and entrance prices for adults, children, families, seniors and groups.

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The English Heriatge Stonehenge Exhibition and Visitor Centre

The English Heritage Visitor Centre at Stonehenge is located 2 kilometers from the monument. This is your entry point to Stonehenge and the place where you pick up your tickets, souvenir guides and optional audio guides. The new Visitor Centre also offers a modern exhibition with prehistoric objects on display, and a spacious café and gift shop. A Stonehenge shuttle transports you between the Visitor Centre and Stonehenge (included in your ticket price).

If you come by car you will park in the car park outside the visitor centre. It is free for people purchasing tickets to enter Stonehenge, there is a charge if you are not. Tour buses have their own separate coach park.

All Members of English Heritage or National Trust must show a valid membership card on arrival to be granted free parking and site access.

To enter the Stonehenge Exhibition at the Visitor Centre you need a full ticket to Stonehenge, anyone can access the café, gift shop and toilets though, for free.

Very Important!  Book Your Stonehenge Tickets in Advance 
To be assured of entering Stonehenge the best way is to reserve timed tickets in advance on the English Heritage web site or if you need more flexibility and without the time constraint you can purchase discount advance Stonehenge tickets here

Tickets to Stonehenge are booked by half hour time slot, the website showing you how many tickets are still available for your chosen date and time.

Note: you cannot reserve tickets on-line on the day of your visit, you must reserve before midnight latest on the day before. Only a very small number of tickets are held back each day for walk-up visitors.

Note: the last admission time is two hours before closing time of Stonehenge. Closing times are variable according to month of the year (see below)

Stonehenge Admission & Opening From 1st January 2019 – October 2019

Admission

Opening Times

Adult

£17.50

16 Mar – 31 May

09.30 – 19:00

Child (5-15)

£10.50

1 Jun – 31 Aug

09.00 – 20:00

Students/Seniors *

£15.80

1 Sep – 15 Oct

09.30 – 19:00

Family Ticket †

£45.40

16 Oct – 15 Mar

09.30 – 17:00

Last entry 2 hours before closing
Members of the National Trust & English Heritage enter free
Prices are valid until 31st March 2019* 16-18 yr olds + seniors 60+† 2 Adults and 3

2019 STONEHENGE OPENING TIMES (Last entry 2 hours before closing)

1st JANUARY 2019 – 31st MARCH 2020

Monday 9:30 – 17:00
Tuesday 9:30 – 17:00
Wednesday 9:30 – 17:00
Thursday 9:30 – 17:00
Friday 9:30 – 17:00
Saturday 9:30 – 17:00
Sunday 9:30 – 17:00

1st APRIL 2019 – 31st MAY 2019

Monday 9:30 – 19:00
Tuesday 9:30 – 19:00
Wednesday 9:30 – 19:00
Thursday 9:30 – 19:00
Friday 9:30 – 19:00
Saturday 9:30 – 19:00
Sunday 9:30 – 19:00

1st JUNE 2019 – 31st AUGUST 2019

Monday 9:00 – 20:00
Tuesday 9:00 – 20:00
Wednesday 9:00 – 20:00
Thursday 9:00 – 20:00
Friday 9:00 – 20:00
Saturday 9:00 – 20:00
Sunday 9:00 – 20:00

1st SEPTEMBER 2019 – 15th OCTOBER 2019

Monday 9:30 – 19:00
Tuesday 9:30 – 19:00
Wednesday 9:30 – 19:00
Thursday 9:30 – 19:00
Friday 9:30 – 19:00
Saturday 9:30 – 19:00
Sunday 9:30 – 19:00

16th OCTOBER 2019 ONWARDS
Opening times will be available nearer the time

For more information please visit the official English Heritage website.  If you are looking to book a tour of Stonehenge, we recommend using Stonehenge Guided Tours

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