Stonehenge Winter Solstice Managed Open Access 2013

14 11 2013

The celebration of the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge will take place at sunrise on Saturday 21 December 2013 (approximately 08:09 hrs).

English Heritage is pleased to be offering ‘Managed Open Access’ for those who wish to celebrate the Winter Solstice peacefully

Visitors will be allowed into the Monument when it is considered sufficiently light to ensure safe Stonehenge Winter Solsticeaccess. Entry will be available from approximately 07:30 hrs until 09:00 hrs when visitors will be asked to vacate the site. All vehicles must vacate the area by 09.30.

Access might not be possible if the ground conditions are poor or if it is felt that access might result ¡n severe damage to the Monument.

Toilets are available at Stonehenge for the duration of the access although these facilities will not be available prior to access commencing.

Public car parking will be made available on Byway 12, the old Visitor Centre Car Park and along the A344.

Disabled parking will be in the old Visitor Centre Car Park, and will require a special permit.

TRANSPORT FROM LONDON: Our friends at Solstice UK events are offering their usual transport from London and can be booked here: http://www.stonehengetours.com/html/stonehenge-winter-solstice-tour.htm(mention us for a £20 discount)

New theory of a Winter Solstice Sunrise Alignment – Stonehenge and the Winter Solstice leaflet (ISBN 9780957093010)
(Background on the Winter Solstice Sunrise Alignment theory is here)

Follow Stonehenge on Twitter for Solstice updates and Stonehenge news:

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog

 





Multi-million pound Stonehenge visitor centre to open in time for winter solstice

1 10 2013

Visitors to Stonehenge will get the chance to  explore an impressive new visitor centre close to the ancient site later this  year.

English Heritage today announced that the  first phase of its long-awaited £27million improvements  to the area will be launched to the public on 18 December, in time for  winter solstice on 21 December.

Exploring the past: The impressive new visitor centre will open on 18 December

Exploring the past: The impressive new visitor centre will open on 18 December

The new visitor centre will house a permanent  exhibition that will offer visitors the chance to learn more about the famous  monument.

They will be able to ‘stand in the stones’  thanks to a 360-degree virtual experience before they enter a gallery where they  will be able to view nearly 300 prehistoric artefacts and displays that reveal  facts and theories about the ancient monument.

Many of the archaeological finds – which are  on loan from various museums including the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum  – will be on public display for the first time.

Ancient artefacts: A permanent exhibition will feature nearly 300 prehistoric objects

Ancient artefacts: A permanent exhibition will feature nearly 300 prehistoric objects

The first temporary exhibition will chart  over 800 years of theories about who built Stonehenge – from 12th-century  legends to radiocarbon dating reports in the 1950s.

The environmentally-friendly building,  which  has been designed by Denton Corker Marshall,  features a café, shop, dedicated  education space and visitor’s car park, and will offer tourists free audio  guides.

The centre is 1.5 miles from Stonehenge and  visitors will be transported to the monument on a special shuttle  service

Ambitious: The £27million project features three stages, the first of which is the opening of the visitor centre

Ambitious: The £27million project features three stages, the first of which is the opening of the visitor centre

English Heritage’s chief executive Simon  Thurley said: “This world famous monument, perpetually described as a mystery,  finally has a place in which to tell its story.

“The exhibition will change the way people  experience and think about Stonehenge forever – beyond the clichés and towards a  meaningful inquiry into an extraordinary human achievement in the distant  past.”

 

Easy access: The centre will be 1.5 miles from Stonehenge and visitors will be transported between the sites on a shuttle service

Easy access: The centre will be 1.5 miles from Stonehenge and visitors will be transported between the sites on a shuttle service

 

Volunteers will begin work on the  construction of a group of Neolithic houses in January. The buildings, which are  expected to be finished by Easter, will be based on houses where the builders of  Stonehenge may have lived, complete with furniture and fittings.

The final phase of the project – the  restoration of the landscape around Stonehenge – will be completed by next  summer.

The Avenue, Stonehenge’s ancient  processional approach, has been reconnected to the stone circle after  being  severed by the A344 road for centuries.

The £27million project has been financed  almost entirely by Heritage Lottery Fund money (£10million), English Heritage  commercial income and donations.

From 18 December, entrance to the site will  be managed through timed tickets and online booking opens on 2  December at www.english-heritage.org.uk/stonehenge.

Stepping back into the past: Construction of a group of Neolithic houses will begin in January next year

Stepping back into the past: Construction of a group of Neolithic houses will begin in January next year

Stonehenge, which was constructed between  3,000 BC and 1,600 BC, attracts around 900,000 visitors a year, and is  particularly popular during the summer and winter solstice.

It is still shrouded in mystery as nobody is  sure how or why the giant boulders were transported hundreds of miles to be  constructed at the site.

However, scientists now believe that  Neolithic engineers may have used ball bearings in the construction of  Stonehenge.

The same technique that allows vehicles and  machinery to run smoothly today could have been used to transport the monument’s  massive standing stones from Wales to Wiltshire more than 4,000 years ago,  according to the theory.

Full story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2438896/Stonehenge-visitor-centre-open-time-winter-solstice.html
By  Travelmail Reporter

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog

 

 





Summer Discoveries at Stonehenge Stone Circle

13 09 2013

Two ditches belonging to the Stonehenge Avenue buried beneath the modern roadbed of the A344 have been uncovered during works to decommission the road as part of English Heritage’s project to transform the setting and visitor experience of Stonehenge.

The two ditches represent either side of The Avenue, a long linear feature to the north-east of Stonehenge

The Avenue, severed by the A344, will be reconnected to Stonehenge soon

The Avenue, severed by the A344, will be reconnected to Stonehenge soon

linking it with the River Avon. It has long been considered as the formal processional approach to the monument and is aligned with the solstice axis of Stonehenge. But its connection with Stonehenge had been severed by the A344 for centuries as the road cut through the delicate earthwork at an almost perpendicular angle.

The two ditches were found in excavations undertaken by Wessex Archaeology in their expected positions near to the Heel Stone, about 24 metres from the entrance to monument.

                                                  

Missing Piece in the Jigsaw

Heather Sebire, properties curator and archaeologist at English Heritage, said: “The part of the Avenue that was cut through by the road has obviously been destroyed forever, but we were hopeful that archaeology below the road would survive.  And here we have it – the missing piece in the jigsaw.  It is very exciting to find a piece of physical evidence that officially makes the connection which we were hoping for.”

Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist for the World Heritage Site, said “This is a once in several life time’s opportunity to investigate the Avenue beneath the old road surface.  It has enabled us to confirm with total certainty for the first time that Stonehenge and its Avenue were once linked and will be so again shortly.”

The Avenue is difficult to identify on the ground but is clearly visible on aerial photographs. Once the A344 has been restored to grass in the summer of 2014, interpretation features will be put in place to clearly mark out the solstice alignment to enable visitors to appreciate the position of the Avenue and its intimate connection with and significance to Stonehenge.

                                                         

Parchmarks discovered at Stonehenge by staff Simon Banton and Timothy Daw © Simon Banton/English Heritage

Parchmarks discovered at Stonehenge by staff Simon Banton and Timothy Daw
© Simon Banton/English Heritage

Parchmarks at the Stone Circle

The recent prolonged spell of dry weather has also led to some exciting discoveries within the stone circle. Two eagle-eyed members of staff spotted some dry areas of grass, or parchmarks, amongst the stone circle in July. After investigation by English Heritage experts they seem to be positions of three holes where stones 17, 18 and 19 might have stood on the south-west side of the outer sarsen circle.

Susan Greaney, senior properties historian at English Heritage, said: “There is still debate among archaeologists whether Stonehenge was a full or incomplete circle, and the discovery of these holes for missing stones has strengthened the case for it being a full circle, albeit uneven and less perfectly formed in the south-west quadrant.”

NOTE: This story as reported in the Guardian on 9 September contains a number of inaccuracies. The article, including the headline, failed to distinguish between fact and interpretation, and presented one expert’s view as established fact. It also gives the impression that the expert’s view has been adopted by English Heritage. This is very confusing. English Heritage is firmly of the view that Stonehenge was built as a prehistoric temple aligned with the movements of the sun, contrary to what was implied in the article.

Professor Mike Parker Pearson’s theory about the naturally formed ridges is interesting, but is by no means established. English Heritage’s role was to record any archaeology that survived under the A344 and present the results of the recent discoveries clearly to the public. English Heritage’s interpretation of Stonehenge in general will be presented at the new visitor centre due to open in December 2013.

Article Source from English Heritage: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/about/news/summer-discoveries-stonehenge/

The Stonehenge News Blog

 





Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations 2013

1 06 2013

English Heritage is pleased to be providing Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice on 20-21 June 2013. Please help us to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the Conditions of Entry and guidelines set out on these pages. The full Conditions of Entry can also be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this page

Stoneheng Summer Solstice Tour 2013

We have a duty of care to ensure public safety and are responsible for protecting  Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments. If we are to ensure that future access is sustainable, it is essential that everyone observes and abides by these Conditions of Entry.

Celebrating the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge 

Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site and has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Summer Solstice since time immemorial.

During Managed Open Access for Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, we support all individuals and groups conducting their own forms of ceremony and celebration providing that they are mutually respectful and tolerant of one another. It is a place seen by many as a sacred site – therefore please respect it and those attending.

English Heritage continues to work closely with the many agencies and people from all sectors of the community and we would like to thank them for their help and support.

Parking and entry to the Monument will be free, subject to the Conditions of Entry.  Please do not arrive at the Solstice Car Park or Stonehenge in advance of the opening times listed below:

    Timings for Summer Solstice at Stonehenge 

  • SOLSTICE CAR PARK OPENS  1900 hours (7pm) Thursday 20th June
  • ACCESS TO STONEHENGE 1900 hours (7pm) Thursday 20th June
  • LAST ADMISSION TO SOLSTICE CAR PARK   0600 hours (6am) Friday 21st June
  • STONEHENGE CLOSES  0800 hours (8am) Friday 21st June
  • SOLSTICE CAR PARK TO BE VACATED  1200 hours (12 Noon) Friday 21st June – see Travel and Parking for further information on travel and parking arrangements.

We hope the weather will be kind and wish you a peaceful and celebratory solstice.

    Stonehenge Sunset and Sunrise

Sunset and sunrise occur at the following times:

  • Sunset on Thursday 20th June 2013 is at 2126 hrs (9.26pm)
  • Sunrise on Friday 21st June 2013 is at 0452 hrs (4.52am)

STONEHENGE LINKS::

Conditions of entry: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/content/imported-docs/p-t/summer-solstice-coe13.pdf
More info: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/summer-solstice/

Follow Stonehenge on Twitter for Solstice News, traffic updates, photos on the day: https://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Merlin says “Please respect the Stones!”

The Stonehenge News Blog





A visit to Stonehenge is bound to make you ask: who built it?

16 05 2013

Who built Stonehenge?
A visit to Stonehenge is bound to make you ask: who built it?  It is a question nearly as old as the stones themselves.  And what do we know about the people who achieved this prehistoric marvel? Words Susan Greaney

Wizard Ideas 

In the early medieval period, writers thought they knew who had built Stonehenge—Merlin. But by the early 17th century, scholars were looking for a more plausible answer. In 1620, architect Inigo Jones thought it was based on classical geometry and constructed by the Romans. Antiquary John Aubrey thought that the native Britons, in particular the Druids, were the builders of Stonehenge. Antiquary William Stukeley’s 1740 book firmly established the idea that it was a Druid temple.

Towards the end of the 19th century, archaeologists began to realise that Stonehenge could be much older, linking finds to the Bronze Age. William Gowland’s excavations in 1901 showed that Stonehenge was built in Neolithic or early Bronze Age. Today, we think the stones were raised about 2,500 BC by the native inhabitants of late Neolithic Britain.

The Early Theories…

stonehenge_1

stonehenge-port-JOHN_AUBREYJohn Aubrey Proposed that Stonehenge was a temple built by the Druids, the priests of the pagan Celts, who came to England in the centuries immediately prior to the Christian era.

 

 

stonehenge-port-WILLIAM_STUKELEYWilliam Stukeley The first person to recognise the alignment of Stonehenge on the solstices. Like John Aubrey, however, he mistakenly attributed their construction to the Druids.

 

 

stonehenge-port-INIGO_JONESInigo Jones Believed the stones were a Roman temple of the Tuscan order built to the sky god Coelus. Later disproved by evidence establishing the period in which the stones were first laid.

Past Lives

Stonehenge was built before metal began to be used in Britain. The most common finds from this period are flint tools required for everyday activities such as hunting, making leather and preparing food. We know from animal bones that the people who constructed Stonehenge had livestock and probably also grew small quantities of crops, but still gathered wild plants and hunted wild animals.

stonehenge_3

Whether visiting in 1958 or today, children have always been fascinated by Stonehenge.
At the time that Stonehenge was built, people across Britain were using a type of flat-based decorated pottery called Grooved Ware, often found at late Neolithic monuments across Britain. Many of these prehistoric finds can be seen at Wiltshire Museum, Devizes, at Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum and at the new Stonehenge visitor centre later this year.

Neolithic Puzzles

Until a few years ago, experts thought late Neolithic people were largely mobile, moving between seasonal temporary camps. But in 2006, a team led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson, part of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, discovered several small buildings at Durrington, just over two miles north-east of Stonehenge. These houses appear to have been inhabited on a temporary, seasonal basis about 2,500 BC, the time that Stonehenge was built. Was this where its builders lived?

Among the excavated houses were mounds of rubbish, including cow and pig bones and broken Grooved Ware pottery, showing that large midwinter feasts were held here. Nearby were complex timber monuments, buildings set within special enclosures and other strange wooden structures. This was a place of ritual, probably connected to the ceremonies at Stonehenge.

stonehenge_4

Stone arrowheads and grooved pottery have helped our understanding of the Neolithic period
After the settlement was abandoned, an enormous henge called Durrington Walls was built, which is still visible today. Part of Durrington Walls and nearby Woodhenge are English Heritage properties you can explore. You can walk from Stonehenge across the fields to Durrington Walls, perhaps the route that its builders took. You’ll see other fragments from the past—the enormous Cursus monument, which pre-dates Stonehenge, and many of the early Bronze Age round barrows that scatter this area.

People Power

There are further clues in the monument itself. Transporting the stones, shaping them and fitting them together took great organisation and hundreds of people in what was a sophisticated and organised society. You can find out more at Stonehenge’s new visitor centre later this year.

Neolithic Life: Round the Houses

stonehenge_2Outside the new Stonehenge visitor centre will be an external gallery, where we’ll be recreating three of the late Neolithic houses excavated at Durrington Walls. Here you’ll be able to see what life was like at the time Stonehenge was built. And at Old Sarum, Wiltshire, volunteers are building some prototype houses to test different ideas about the methods and materials used.

You can follow the progress of our project on our blog at www.neolithichouses.wordpress.com and our Twitter account @NeolithicHouses. If you’d like to get involved with building the houses at the visitor centre next year, or working in the external gallery, keep an eye on our website for volunteering opportunities.

We’ll be holding tours and open days at the Old Sarum houses so you can come and learn more about prehistoric life and experimental archaeology:

All details and booking information can be found on our What’s On page

English Heritage website: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Topping out ceremony at Stonehenge visitor centre

11 05 2013

A TOPPING out ceremony was held at the new Stonehenge visitor centre on Wednesday as the last piece of steel to support the canopy roof was welded into place.

The zinc and timber roof has been designed to blend into the landscape and to let in more sunlight in the winter while creating shade in the summer.

Stonehenge Visitor centre

Sitting beneath the canopy roof are two pods, with a glass building housing the café, shop and education space and a sweet chestnut-clad pod containing the exhibition galleries, membership area and toilets

Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge director for English Heritage, said: “It is fantastic to see the building taking shape and to see how well it sits in the landscape. “Progress with the creation of the interior spaces for the museum galleries, education area, shop and cafe is equally exciting because it is now possible to see on the ground how these great new facilities will be experienced by our visitors.

Steve Quinlan, partner at Denton Corker Marshall, who designed the visitor centre, said: “We are really enjoying this stage of the project with the various pieces of the puzzle coming together and our vision finally starting to come to life. This project has been a great challenge, but a very rewarding one.”

English Heritage’s £27million project to transform the visitor facilities at Stonehenge will see the new centre open in December, with the existing facilities to be demolished and grassed over by next June.

Article Source: Salisbury Journal: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/10411788.Topping_out_ceremony_at_Stonehenge_visitor_centre/

Merlin  at Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Druid calls for fake human remains to be displayed at Stonehenge

8 05 2013

A druid leader is calling for fake, rather than real, human remains to be put on display at Stonehenge.

English Heritage plans to display the remains at the new Stonehenge visitor centre

English Heritage plans to display the remains at the new Stonehenge visitor centre

In an open letter, King Arthur Pendragon has criticised English Heritage for the “macabre manner” it plans to display “ancestral remains”.

In 2011 he lost a High Court bid to have bones, found in 2008, reburied.

English Heritage said the remains are not from the 2008 excavation and their “presentation, treatment and storage” will follow strict UK guidelines.

The cremated remains of more than 40 bodies, thought to be at least 5,000 years old, were removed from a burial site at the ancient stone circle five years ago.

According to Mr Pendragon, the bones were the remains of members of the “royal line” or “priest caste” who could have been the “founding fathers of this great nation”.

“There are cremated remains and a full skeleton from one of the barrows, which they’re planning to put on display,” he said.

“This is not only out of step with the feelings of many of the peoples and groups that I represent but is surely against the driving cultural principles of a Unesco World Heritage Site.”

The £27m scheme to build a new visitor centre and close the road alongside the ancient monument, is due to be completed by the end of the year.

Mr Pendragon said visitors would be “appalled” and unless “models and replicas” were used he could “not rule out non-violent direct action against the proposals”.

‘Visitors expect remains’

But a spokeswoman for English Heritage said visitor research showed the “vast majority of museum visitors are comfortable with, and often expect to see, human remains”.

“The remains of three human burials found in the landscape will be displayed with ample explanation along with archaeological objects, providing visitors with a direct connection to the people who lived and worked there,” she said.

“As such, we believe they have a rightful place in the exhibition and their presentation, treatment and storage will follow strict guidelines set out by the UK government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-22438232

Merlin at Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog








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