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.

The Stonehenge News Blog


Views of Stonehenge as it might have been go on show in Pewsey

12 04 2016

AN EXHIBITION of the history of Stonehenge will be taking place at the McNeill Gallery in Pewsey.

Archaeological artist Peter Dunn will be exhibiting his Reconstruction Paintings of the Stonehenge Complex at the McNeill Gallery in Pewsey over the summer.

Mr Dunn’s series of reconstruction paintings of the historic landmark were produced from the findings of the Stonehenge Riverside Project between 2009 and 2013.

Beverley McNeill, owner of the gallery, said: “I opened the gallery late November last year and Peter came along. I told him to pop in and talk about an exhibition, I loved the concept of the Stonehenge artwork. The exhibition will have original sketches of the site and findings from the architectural dig he took part in.”

The exhibition will be a first for the gallery, with Mrs McNeill believing it will give an insight into the history of the area.

“I am excited about the exhibition, I thought it would be interesting as it is a historical insight into the area and for Wiltshire as a whole. Of course, in July we are hoping to catch tourists as well as people from the local area,” added Mrs McNeill.

Mr Dunn worked as an illustrator and artist with English Heritage from 1985 to 2007, and has been involved in interpretive projects throughout England as well as abroad, also working on a couple of programmes on the BBC.

A History of Stonehenge in Paintings will be taking place at McNeill Gallery in Market Place, Pewsey, from July 21st- August 6st 2016

Article bt By Patrick McLean, Devizes reporter (This is Wiltshire)


The Stonehenge News Blog


Alcohol to be banned from Stonehenge celebrations

12 04 2016

Alcohol will be banned from summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge this June – and there will also be a £15 fee to park at the stones.


Stonehenge attracts thousands of people every year Credit: ITV

English Heritage say the new rules will encourage more people to car share or use public transport. Forty thousand people attended two years ago and the stones were vandalised. Money raised will go towards maintenance.

Article source: ITV NEWS

The Stonehenge News Blog


How the Magpie Musicians came to stand for free Stonehenge

6 04 2016

Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper

Magpie Minstrels JFuller.jpgFour years ago (time, even immemorial, flies) I was working on an exhibition about Stonehenge for English Heritage, and I wrote a blog about a frequently reproduced photo of the stones. The image shows a crowd of people, bicycles and carts and horses, and had been commonly said to show a protest in 1901 against an admission charge. In fact the photo was taken in 1896 (along with at least one similar shot), on the occasion of a visit from a travelling musical troupe called the Magpie Musicians.

To my delight Jim Fuller recently got in touch with me through this blog, and supplied information and photos that tie up the story of these remarkable images. He sent me several photos, which he has kindly allowed me to publish here. One of the two prints I described, at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre (WSHC), is stamped “T.L. Fuller, Press…

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Jewellery from the mysterious ‘queen’ of Stonehenge goes on display: Stunning pieces were found in the grave of a high-status woman 200 years ago

24 03 2016
  • Woman’s remains were found in 1808 in a grave overlooking Stonehenge
  • Collection includes amber earrings, buttons from a cloak and pendants that indicate the woman had social status
  • Her identity is unknown it is unclear why she was given such a lavish burial
  • Objects are going on display for first time at Stonehenge Visitors Centre

In the early 19th century, William Cunnington discovered a burial site near Stonehenge.

In one of the barrows he excavated at Normanton Down, the remains of a woman were found alongside some of the most well-preserved jewellery historians have ever seen.

Now, more than 200 years later, these artefacts are going on display for the first time.

Mysterious jewellery and belongings (pictured) of a woman so important she was buried at a prime spot overlooking Stonehenge are going on display for the first time. Archaeologists are still baffled by some of the items found alongside the body of a female interred in a burial chamber on a ridge

In the early 19th century, William Cunnington discovered a burial site near Stonehenge.

In one of the barrows he excavated at Normanton Down, the remains of a woman were found alongside some of the most well-preserved jewellery historians have ever seen.

Now, more than 200 years later, these artefacts are going on display for the first time.

The treasures that will go on display include amber earrings which are the earliest items found in Britain to show signs of being worked with a lathe.

Buttons from a cloak and pendants also indicate the woman had social status, although her identity has never been established and it is not known why she was given such a lavish burial.

The objects were discovered in the early 19th century by William Cunnington.

‘No barrow that we have yet opened has ever produced such a variety of singular and elegant articles,’ archaeologist Sir Richard ‘Colt’ Hoare wrote at the time.

This Easter the objects are going on display at the Stonehenge Visitors Centre.

Read the full story and see the gallery on the Daily Mail website

The Stonehenge News Blog

Stonehenge: a prehistoric tourist trap

22 03 2016

History, Archaeology, Folklore and so on

Wiltshire’s world-famous stones have been attracting sightseers for thousands of years. Here, Mike Pitts tells the tourists’ story.

This article was first published in the Christmas 2013 issue of BBC History Magazine

A group of Victorian tourists pose in front of Stonehenge, c1900. © Corbis

2500 BC: Stonehenge is the talk of prehistoric Europe

Visitors have always been part of Stonehenge, even the stones are foreigners: the small ones from Wales, the large ones probably from the Marlborough Downs, 20 miles to the north.

Stonehenge was truly unique in Europe and so, at its height around 2500 BC, it must have been talked about across the continent.

Evidence of houses in the area suggests that far more people lived near to the stones than we would normally expect. Drawing labour and representatives from different tribes or groups, Stonehenge…

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Why are there jackdaws at Stonehenge?

15 03 2016


IMG_20160306_084437 Me, trilithon and jackdaw


My life is so successful, I’ve got everything a Prof could ever need,

I’ve got REF outputs and milk chocolate, and I’ve even got a WordPress blog indeed.

And I know I should be happy, but instead,

there’s a question I can’t get out of my head:

Why are there jackdaws at Stonehenge?

Visiting Stonehenge

For the first time in my life, I combined a brief foray down to Wiltshire with an advance early morning pre-opening booking to go inside the stones of Stonehenge.

For the record, I drove an Astra (a car you can trust). Never mind the car, let’s talk about the henge.

PANO_20160306_082008 Panorama of Stonehenge, with jackdaw perched in plain view

DSC00656It was a cold, early March Sunday morning. I parked and waited at the visitor centre, showed my ticked and then experienced an empty bus as I was driven to the stones. As I alighted, the…

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