When is the Stonehenge summer solstice 2016? Everything you need to know including times and rituals

28 05 2016

Here’s everything you need to know about the longest day of the year and traditions surrounding the summer solstice

Midsummer-Solstice-celebrations-at-Stonehenge

Party time: Druids, pagans and revellers take part in a winter solstice ceremony at Stonehenge

Every year, around this time, we start talking about the summer solstice.

Mostly it’s because it’s the longest day of the year, and there’s a very British pessimism that says the days will immediately start to shorten into winter from now on.

But there’s also the shenanigans at Stonehenge, general celebrations and a pause to celebrate the summer.

But what does it all mean?

What is it?

It’s generally understood to mark the middle of summer – even though some of us may feel like we haven’t really had the first half yet in the UK.

Technically, it’s when the tilt of Earth’s axis is most inclined towards the sun, and that’s why we get the most daylight of the year.

In the winter solstice, we’re tilted furthest away from the sun, hence shorter hours of daylight and the shortest day.

The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).

Read more: New Stonehenge alignment theory proved right as monument’s tallest stone points at solstice sunset

When is it?

In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice takes place between June 20 and 22. This year it’s on Monday, June 20.

As it happens twice annually, the winter solstice in the UK is between December 20 and 22.

In London on the summer solstice, the sun will rise at 04:43 and set at 21:21.

Near Stonehenge in Salisbury, sunrise will be at 04:52 and sunset will occur at 21:26.

Why Stonehenge?

The midsummer solstice is being celebrated at Stonehenge on Saturday into Sunday and at the Avebury stone circle from Friday until Monday.

Thousands flock to the English Heritage site for the solstice in a tradition which has its roots in pagan times, when Midsummer Day was considered to have power.

Of those who attend, many are druids, but some are tourists.

This year it’s falling on a weekend for the first time in more than a decade and is expected to draw much larger crowds.

The way that the stones are positioned is said to be aligned with sunrises on the two annual solstices.

Read more: Stonehenge attracts thousands as Pagans mark longest day of the year with celebration

Although not much is known about its formation, those facts are thought to be involved with whatever religious, mystical or spiritual elements were central to its construction.

The monument field at Stonehenge is open from 19:00 on Monday 20 June to 08:00 on Tuesday 21 June. Admission is free, but parking fees apply.

The Solstice Car Park opens at 7pm on 20th June with last admissions at 6am (or when full, if earlier) on 21st June. The car park will close at 12 noon on 21st June.

Visitors, including sunrise-worshipping Druids for whom it is a religious occasion, are encouraged to use public transport or arrange to car share.

How else do people celebrate it?

It’s not just for the arch-druids in Wiltshire – there are celebrations worldwide among lots of different cultures.

The holidays, festivals and rituals do tend to have themes of religion or fertility.

Read more: ‘Fridgehenge’ pranksters mark summer solstice with homage to Stonehenge – made out of white goods

In Latvia there’s Jāņi, when women wear wreaths on their heads. Estonia has Jaanipäev or St John’s Day, which marks a change in the farming year.

Wianki happens in Poland, with roots in a pagan religious event, and Kupala Night happens in Russia and Ukraine, where people jump over the flames of bonfires in a ritual test of bravery and faith.

Are the days going to be shorter now?

They will of course get shorter between now and the winter solstice on December 21, but don’t worry, we’re not talking early dark nights quite yet.

Read more: Stonehenge and Statue of Liberty ‘in direct and immediate danger’ from climate change

Article Source: Kirstie McCrum ,  (Daily Mirror)

Stonehenge Summmer Solscice Open Access

“We strongly advise anyone planning to come to Stonehenge for solstice to leave their cars at home and travel by public transport. Salisbury is easily accessible by train and the local Salisbury Reds bus company will be running a special service from Salisbury to Stonehenge through Saturday night and into the next day. Solstice Events are offering their usual transport from Bath and Stonehenge guided tours are offering their small group tour from London.

Follow  @St0nehenge @EH_Stonehenge @HighwaysEngland and @Wiltshirepolice for#summersolstice updates on the night.

If you are unable to visit Stonehenge on the Solstice you can watch our LIVE PERISCOPE BROADCAST

The Stonehenge News Blog

 

 

 





How DID they move the bluestones?

27 05 2016

The Heritage Journal

An experiment by University College London has just shown that mounting huge stones on a sycamore sleigh and dragging it along timbers required far less effort than was expected. According to Prof Mike Parker-Pearson: “It was a bit of a shock to see how easy it was to pull the stone.”

It reminded us of experiments starting in 2005 organised by Gordon Pipes, a carpenter from Derbyshire and a member of Heritage Action. He formed a group of interested amateur antiquarians, including mainly our members, called ‘the Stonehengineers’ and staged a demonstration (appropriately, at the National Tramway Museum) of a method he believed may have been used. He called it “stone rowing” and his idea was that lifting the stones on levers and moving them along in a series of short steps would involve less friction and therefore require less effort than hauling them on rollers – so far fewer…

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Stonehenge experiment needs volunteers to help lift one tonne block

20 05 2016

Take part in Stonehenge experiment: How many people does it take to lift one block?

stonehenge1308

Heavy lifting: the smallest stones at the prehistoric site weigh about two tonnes REUTERS/Kieran Doherty

Anyone who has wondered what it took to lift a piece of Stonehenge into place has a chance to have a go themselves in a mass experiment.

Experts from University College London are seeking volunteers to help them lift a replica stone using prehistoric technology and brute strength.

Doctoral student Barney Harris, who is organising the event in Gordon Square near the UCL campus on Monday, said he believed it would take 40 to 50 people to lift a single stone, which at one tonne is half the weight of the smallest block at Stonehenge.

Mr Harris said: “We will be using a model of a sledge that might have been used, but other than that it will be people power. It’s on a much smaller scale than the real thing, but it will help us work out what it took to create it.”

The event, from 2pm to 4pm, is one of 80 being held during the university’s Festival of Culture next week.
Article Source: The Evening Standard

As part of the UCL Festival of Culture participants will have the chance to become part of an experimental team that will attempt to transport a large replica Stonehenge stone using Neolithic technology. click here for UCL

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UNESCO report backs Stonehenge tunnel plans

5 05 2016

Plans to build a tunnel under Stonehenge have been welcomed in an influential report.

303-road

The A303 past Stonehenge is a highly congested route

The report by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites recognised the benefits the 1.8m (2.9km) project.

In 2014 the government announced it would commit to building a tunnel, removing the A303 from the landscape.

Historic England, the National Trust and English Heritage also support the plans.

The report highlighted the scheme’s potential to become a “best practice case” for a World Heritage Site.

It said the scheme must “both protect the outstanding universal value” of the site and also “benefit road users”.

303congestion

At the moment the congested A303 cuts through the middle of the area.

Helen Ghosh, director general of the National Trust, said the report “recognises the unmissable opportunity” the government’s road improvement scheme offers to address “the blight of the existing A303”.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, welcomed the report but said “sensitive design” would be needed.

Kate Mavor, chief executive of English Heritage, added: “Provided that it is designed and built in the right way, a tunnel would reunite the wider landscape around the ancient stones, helping people to better understand and enjoy them.”

FULL STORY: UNESCO report backs Stonehenge tunnel plans – BBC News

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UNESCO and ICOMOS recognise benefits of Stonehenge tunnel plans

3 05 2016

FragmeNTs

Visitors walking in the Stonehenge Landscape, Wiltshire. Visitors walking in the Stonehenge Landscape, Wiltshire.

Historic England, the National Trust and English Heritage welcome the ICOMOS/UNESCO report [1] published on Friday (Friday 29 April) which recognises the benefits a tunnel of at least 2.9km could bring to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, if it is designed and delivered well.

The report by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation is the result of an advisory mission to the World Heritage Site in October 2015. The report mirrors the views held jointly by Historic England, the National Trust and English Heritage, in acknowledging that a fully-bored tunnel of at least 2.9km could help to significantly improve the World Heritage Site and that the design and location of all aspects of the road improvement scheme need to be carefully and fully considered [2].

The report acknowledges that a solution needs to…

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Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2016 Open Access

24 04 2016

English Heritage is pleased to welcome people to Stonehenge to celebrate this year’s Summer Solstice. This is the 17th year that English Heritage has provided access to the stones and are looking forward to a peaceful celebration.

MONDAY 20th JUNE
Access to monument field – 7pm
Sunset – 9:26pm
TUESDAY 21st JUNE
Sunrise – 4:52am
Monument field closes – 8am
solstice-astronomy
The Solstice Car Park opens at 7pm on 20th June with last admissions at 6am (or when full, if earlier) on 21st June. The car park will close at 12 noon on 21st June.Alcohol is not permitted in the monument field during Summer Solstice.Admission to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge is free of charge, however please note that parking fees in the official car park apply – cars: £15, commercial coaches and minibuses: £50, motorcycles: £5.

Conditions of Entry
 Amplified music is not permitted in or around the monument field.
 No alcohol is allowed within the monument or the monument field. Alcohol will be
confiscated or individuals in possession of alcohol will be asked to leave.
 Drunken, disorderly and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and anybody
considered to be behaving in this way will be asked to leave by security staff and/or
the police and will not be allowed back in.
 Illegal drugs are illegal at Stonehenge as they are anywhere else. The police will be
on site and will take action against anyone breaking the law.
 Please don’t bring any glass in to the monument field. Many people walk barefoot
and livestock and wildlife also graze in the area. Any glass items will be confiscated.
 Please do not climb or stand on any of the stones – this includes the stones that
have fallen. This is for your own safety and also to protect this special site and
respect those around you.
 Please be aware that in order to keep everybody safe, random searching may be
undertaken. Any items found that might be used in an illegal or offensive manner will
be confiscated.
 Camping equipment, fires, Chinese lanterns, fireworks, candles, tea-lights or BBQs
are not permitted at Stonehenge, in the Solstice Car Park, or anywhere in the
surrounding National Trust land.
 In the interests of safety, sleeping bags or duvets are not allowed on site. Sleeping
on the ground creates a trip hazard and can interfere with the work of emergency
services and hinder their ability to help people. Small ground sheets and blankets are
permitted for people to sit on but please do not bring chairs etc (unless used as a
recognised disability aid). Shooting-sticks are not permitted.
 To help us reduce the amount of litter on site, leafleting or flyering is not allowed.
 Drones or any type of remote-controlled flying devices are not permitted at
Stonehenge or in any of the Solstice Car Parks.

Admission to Stonehenge

• Admission to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge is free of charge.
• There is a charge for parking – cars: £15, commercial coaches and minibuses: £50,
motorcycles: £5.
• Public transport is available from Salisbury.
• Access to the car park will start at 7pm
• Children under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Please remember that you will not be allowed access to the Monument with the following
items:
– Alcohol
– Drugs
– Large bags or rucksacks (or similar items)
– Sleeping bags or duvets
– Flaming torches, Chinese lanterns, fireworks or candles etc.
– Dogs (with the exception of registered assistance dogs), pets or other creatures
– Camping equipment, including foldaway chairs, garden furniture, shooting-sticks
– BBQs or gas cylinders
– Glass bottles or other glass objects
– Trolleys, wheel barrows or any other form of porterage
– Pushchairs or buggies that are not exclusively used for a child
– Large “golf-style” umbrellas, gazebos
– Drones or any kind of remote control aircraft

From :http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/plan-your-visit/summer-solstice/

“We strongly advise anyone planning to come to Stonehenge for solstice to leave their cars at home and travel by public transport. Salisbury is easily accessible by train and the local Salisbury Reds bus company will be running a special service from Salisbury to Stonehenge through Saturday night and into the next day. Solstice Events are offering their usual transport from Bath and Stonehenge guided tours are offering their small group tour from London.

Follow  @St0nehenge @EH_Stonehenge @HighwaysEngland and @Wiltshirepolice for #summersolstice updates on the night.

If you are unable to visit Stonehenge on the Solstice you can watch our LIVE PERISCOPE BROADCAST

 

The Stonehenge News Blog




18th April is the @ICOMOSUK International Day of Monuments and Sites #WHS30 @UNESCO @WorldHeritageUK #WorldHeritageDay

18 04 2016

8th April is ICOMOS International Day for Monuments and Sites but unofficially known as World Heritage Day.

This year Stonehenge and Avebury are celebrating 30 years of being a World Heritage SiteICOMOS along with six other sites, the first sites to be designated World Heritage Sites in the UK.

UNESCO established 18 April as the International Day for Monuments and Sites in 1983. It aims to raise public awareness about the diversity and vulnerability of the world’s built monuments and heritage sites and the efforts required to protect and conserve them.

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