Stonehenge: Up Close 12th December 2011

4 12 2011

Stonehenge access guided tourGain a rare and fascinating insight into the famous World Heritage Site with an exclusive tour around the site led by one of English Heritage’s experts. Start the tour with exclusive early morning access to the stone circle at Stonehenge accompanied by our expert. Visit key archaeology sites including Durrington Walls, Woodhenge and The Cursus and learn more about the archaeological landscape and investigative work that has gone on in recent years. Includes tea and coffee.

MEMBERS EXCLUSIVE EVENT

How to Book

Purchase your tickets today by calling our dedicated Ticket Sales Team on 0870 333 1183 (Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5.30 Sat 9am – 5pm). Please note: Booking tickets for this event is essential as places are limited 

Prices

Ticket price includes entry to event site only

TYPE PRICE
Member (Adult) £30.00
 
Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/stonehenge-up-close-s-12-dec/

Durrington Walls – is the site of a large Neolithic settlement and later henge enclosure. It is 2 miles north-east of Stonehenge. Recent excavation at Durrington Walls, support an estimate of a community of several thousand, thought to be the largest one of its age in north-west Europe. At 500m in diameter, the henge is the largest in Britain and recent evidence suggests that it was a complementary monument to Stonehenge

Woodhenge – Neolithic monument, dating from about 2300 BC, six concentric rings, once possibly supported a ring-shaped building.

Stonehenge Cursus –  (sometimes known as the Greater Cursus) is a large Neolithic cursus monument next to Stonehenge. It is roughly 3km long and between 100 and 150m wide. Excavations by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2007 dated the construction of the earthwork to between 3630 and 3375 BC. This makes the monument several hundred years older than the earliest phase of Stonehenge in 3000 BC.

Bronze Age round barrows – The Stonehenge UNESCO world heritage site is said to contain the most concentrated collection of prehistoric sites and monuments in the world. One monument type missed by the casual observer is that of the Bronze Age round barrow (burial mounds). As we walk through this landscape, you will come into contact with these intriguing ancient burial sites and through the expertise of our tour leaders, you will come face to face with the customs and people of Bronze Age society buried in close proximity to the unique stone circle of Stonehenge. Stonehenge Avenue – Walk along the Stonehenge Avenue and approach this unique stone circle as was the intended route experienced by the Stonehenge’s contempories.

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com
http://www.stonehengetours.com/html/stonehenge_archaeology_avebury_landscape_tour.htm

Merlin says: The Stonehenge landscape is more important than the Stone Circle – do this tour with the English Heritage………..

Merlin @ Stonehenge

 




Taking a Guided Tour of Stonehenge Aotearoa – Hire a Henge!

14 07 2011

Taking a Guided Tour of Stonehenge (New Zealand?)

Stonehenge Aotearoa, a full-size model based on the ancient English stone circle, shows how the Sun, Moon and stars can be used “for life and survival”.
stonehenge-audio-visual

Apart from its majestic and mysterious appearance a stone circle has little meaning unless one knows how it works and why people built them eons ago.  The people who built Stonehenge Aotearoa have put together a special presentation that unravels ancient mysteries and takes the visitor on a journey of discovery.  Our tours include tales from antiquity of the solstices and equinoxes and signs of the Zodiac.  You will discover how stones, posts and shadows were used to unlock mysteries of the earth and sky which formed a cornerstone to the rise of civilization.

Allow enough time
A guided tour runs for just over an hour.  Do allow yourself time to check in before the presentation begins. We suggest that you arrive not less than 10 minutes before your tour is scheduled to start.   In addition, it is advisable to allow some free time following your tour.  Visitors often wish to ask questions, take a second look at some of the stone structures, or visit our Stonehenge shop.

When ?
Stonehenge Guided Tours are available to the public at 11am on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. At other times you may book a private tour – see below.  From December 27 through to January 15 there will be a tour every day at 11am.   The number of participants on any one tour are limited so bookings are recommended. 

What does it cost?
Adults $15, Senior Citizens (65+) $12, Students (13-17yrs) $10, Children (pre-teens) $6. Bookings recommended: Phone (06) 377 1600 or book online here.

PRIVATE & GROUP TOURS

may be held on any day at a time by arrangement. The fees per person are the same as those for a public tour:- $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens (65+), $10 for students (13-17yrs), $6 for children (pre-teens), except that there is a minimum charge of $90. Thus, if you have 6 adults in your party this will cover the $90 minimum charge. Phone (06) 377 1600 or book online here.

Each tour is tailored to the weather conditions. It usually begins in our lecture theatre with an introductory talk on the historical significance of stone circles and the reasons why star-lore formed a cornerstone to the rise of civilization.  This part of the presentation may include an audio-visual about the Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain and Stonehenge Aotearoa.  We then explore the stone circle, listen to tales from antiquity, and discover how stones and shadows can be used to unlock mysteries of the universe.

 SUNRISE & SUNSET TOURS
Stonehenge Aotearoa can be magnificent at the time of sunrise or sunset.  These tours include (weather permiting) viewing the sun rise or set over the Henge. Of special interest is the times of the equinoxes and solstices when the sun can be observed to rise or set over one of the heel stones.  At these times we often have a special presentation about the equinox or solstice.  See “Special Events”.

Unless otherwise advertised Sunrise and Sunset Tours are only  available by arrangement as private or group bookings. 

 Maybe we should build one of these in Wilsthire?
Visit our sponsors for tours of the real Stonehenge – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations 2011 – June 20th / June 21st

27 04 2011

English Heritage are again expected to provide “Managed Open Access” to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. Please help to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the conditions (see below).

Please note that a high volume of traffic is anticipated in the Stonehenge area on the evening of Sunday 20th June. The car park (enter off the A303 from the roundabout – it’s signposted) will open at around 7pm on Monday 20th June, and close at around noon on Tuesday 21st June.
Note that last admission to the car park for vehicles is at around 6am. Access Access to the stones themselves is expected to be from around 8.30pm on Monday 20th June until 8am on Tuesday 21st June.

Stonehenge Summer Solstice

 There’s likely to be casual entertainment from samba bands & drummers but no amplified music is allowed. When you visit Stonehenge for the Solstice, please remember it is a Sacred Place to many and should be respected. Van loads of police have been present in the area in case of any trouble, but generally a jovial mood prevails. Few arrests have been made in previous years, mostly in relation to minor drug offences.

Facilities Toilets and drinking water are available and welfare is provided by festival welfare services. There are normally one or two food and drink vans with reasonable prices but huge queues, all well away from the stones themselves.

Sunrise is at around 4:45am.

Conditions Rules include no camping, no dogs, no fires or fireworks, no glass bottles, no large bags or rucksacks, and no climbing onto the stones. Please use the bags given free on arrival and take them out, filled with your litter, to the skips provided.

Please respect the rules so that we’re all able to enjoy the solstice morning at Stonehenge for years to come.

Getting there: Where possible, please travel to Stonehenge using public transport. The local bus company, Wilts & Dorset, will be running a service from Salisbury railway and bus stations to Stonehenge over the Solstice period. This bus service will commence at 1830 hours (6.30pm) on Monday 20th June and run regularly until 0115 hours (1.15am) on Tuesday 21st June. A service taking people back to Salisbury will start again at 0400 hours (4am) and run frequently until 0945 hours (9.45am). Access to Stonehenge from the bus drop off point is through the National Trust farmland. More information will be here when available.  Needless to say this service is extremly busy, please allow plenty of time.

From London: Our friends at the ‘Stonehenge Tour Company’ will be offering their usual small group unobtrusive tours to the solstice from London.  There are two services departing London at 4pm and 1am – Click here: ‘Stonehenge Summer Solstice Tour 2011’
Stonehenge summer solstice tours

LINKS: http://www.efestivals.co.uk/festivals/stonehenge/2011/
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/explore/summer-solstice-2011/:
http://www.thestonehengetour.info/

TWITTER: Follow Stonehenge on twitter.  Get all the latest news and Solstice uddates – http://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

FACEBOOK: Join Stonehenge on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stonehenge.tours

See you all at the Summer Solstice, yipee……………..

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2010

23 12 2010

Snow and ice failed to stop people visiting Stonehenge to watch the

Stonehenge Solstice

Stonehenge Solstice

sunrise on the winter solstice, 22nd December 2010

Almost 2,000 people gathered at the stones which were surrounded by a thick blanket of snow.

As well as the traditional druid and pagan ceremonies, a spontaneous snowball fight erupted as people enjoyed the cold weather.  A good time was had by all.

I will be uploading photos and videos later today – can you see yourself? 

Many thanks for all the helpful tweets over the solstice – http://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-12061134
http://www.stonehengetours.com (sponsor)
http://www.HisTOURies.co.uk (sponsor)





Stonehenge Winter Solstice Panoramic pictures

21 12 2010

Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2010 Panoramic

Stonehenge Winter Solstice Panoramic

Stonehenge Winter Solstice Panoramic (Copyright)

Stonehenge Winter Solstice Panoramic

Stonehenge Winter Solstice Panoramic

Stonehenge Winter Solstice Panoramic (Copyright)

Images are subject to Copyright.  Full Terms and Conditions of Submission and Use of Pictures can be requested.

All rights reserved. All images included herein this  Internet Web Site publication are the copyright and property of the photographer and the text/design/html files are the property of The Stonehenge News Blog. All images and text are copyright in accordance  with the terms of the United Kingdom’s Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988, and  are protected under the United Kingdom and international copyright laws and  treaties which provide substantial penalties for infringement.
The use of any images or other materials included herein, in whole or in part,  for any purpose other than for the private purpose of the user, including,  but not limited to, copying, reproduction, publication (including on Internet Web  Site), storage in a retrieval system (other than internet browser), manipulation (digital or otherwise),  or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,  recording or otherwise, is expressly prohibited without the written permission of  The Stonehenge News blog or and the photographer 

What is © Copyright?

The images on this website are known as “intellectual property”.  In law, they are hardly different from other forms of property (such as  your computer), as the creation of images also requires personal skill,  equipment, time and money. To take and distribute images without consent  is a form of theft and is therefore illegal. The images on this  Internet web site publication are not royalty free and a fee is required  for each specific usage. All of the images have been visibly and invisibly watermarked so that  they can be identified if used without permission, whether whole or in part. International  law now permits substantial penalty charges for infringement of copyright.

Other Web Pages

Unfortunately you may not use any of the images in your web pages without express written  permission as this constitutes publishing  the images and could conflict with the interests of our many clients. If, for instance, a  corporation buys a picture for a specific purpose which conflicts with  your website, then the corporation could take legal action against you.  We have to say “no” in order to protect you and our clients.

More Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2010 images – click here
Merlin @ Stonehenge





Yule – Winter Solstice

9 12 2010
21st/22nd December
Yule or the Midwinter Solstice is the time of year when we experience our shortest day and longest night – the sun is at its lowest point in the sky at noon. Yule meaning ‘wheel’ is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world.

Stonehenge Winter Solstice celebrations

Stonehenge Winter Solstice celebrations

In Wiltshire the winter solstice is still celebrated by the lighting up of the white horse at Alton Barnes. Tea lights in jars are placed on the chalk, so that the horse glows with candlelight.

Wassailing
New Year’s Eve was the traditional time that this ceremony took place, and was originally held around the oldest tree in the apple orchard. The first cider crop was poured on the roots of the apple tree to thank the tree spirits for the crop of apples, and to ensure a good harvest next year.

Drumming and bamging sticks would beat away any bad spirits, and the wassail cup would be passed around. Toast dipped in cider would then be hung on the oldest tree, as an offering to the tree dryads.
‘Wassail’ was Saxon for ‘good health’.

In the eleventh-century, the Danish rule over England brought the Scandinavian term for Christmas – Yule. Christmastide was the time to bring out the wassail bowl or cup. The leader of the celebrations would call ‘Wassail’, which was Old English for ‘your health’, and the answer was ‘Drinkhail’, at which the bowl was passed round so everyone took took a drink and handed it on with a kiss

Symbolism of Yule:

Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.

Symbols of Yule:
Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, christmas cactus.

Herbs of Yule:
Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.

Foods of Yule:
Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb’s wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).

Incense of Yule:
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.

Colors of Yule:
Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.

Stones of Yule:
Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.

Activities of Yule:
Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule

Spellworkings of Yule:
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.

Deities of Yule:
Goddesses-Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother. Gods-Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon.

Symbolism of Yule:

Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.

Symbols of Yule:
Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, christmas cactus.

Herbs of Yule:
Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.

Foods of Yule:
Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb’s wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).

Incense of Yule:
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.

Colors of Yule:
Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange.

Stones of Yule:
Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.

Activities of Yule:
Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule

Spellworkings of Yule:
Peace, harmony, love, and increased happiness.

Deities of Yule:
Goddesses-Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother. Gods-Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon.

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

Our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Sun god at Yule, and the expulsion of the evil winter spirits. The winter solstice was considered a mysterious and powerful time, for it is at this point the sun begins to make the return journey across our skies. After the longest night of the year the sun is seen as growing stronger and the return of the warmer season is welcomed – the concept of rebirth became strongly associated with the Winter Solstice.

Three days after Yule many people exchange gifts and celebrate Christmas – the birth of Jesus, as our ancestors celebrated the return of light and the sun growing in strength. The well-known figure of Father Christmas may have derived from the Pagan god, Herne the Hunter.
Yule was celebrated with bonfires to stimulate the ascent of the sun, and lamps illuminated houses decorated with evergreens to simulate summer.

It is a time to look on the past year’s achievements. The days will now grow longer up to the mid summer solstice.

Yule Traditions

The Yule Log – during medieval times, the decorated log was ceremoniously carried into the home on Christmas Eve, and placed in the fireplace. Traditionally the Yule log was lit with the saved stump of last year’s log, and then it was burnt over the twelve days of the winter celebration, and its ashes and stump were kept until the following year to sprinkle on the new log, so that the fortune would be passed on from year to year.
In France and Germany ashes from the Yule log were mixed with the cattle feed to ensure their health and in other regions the ash was sprinkled around fruit trees to increase their yield of fruit.

Yule wreaths
were traditionally made of evergreens and holly and ivy. Holly represents the female and ivy the male and the wreath’s circle symbolizes the wheel of the year. Both holly and ivy were used as protection in the home against bad spirits making a Yuletide wreath
solstice wreath making





‘The Computer at Stonehenge’ Poem of the week

9 11 2010

THE COMPUTER AT STONEHENGE

Strange things are done to be number one
In selling the computer
IBM has their stratagem
Which steadily grows acuter,
And Honeywell competes like Hell,
But the story’s missing link
Is the system old at Stonehenge sold
By the firm of Druids, Inc.

The Druids were entrepreneurs,
And they built a granite box
It tracked the moon, warned of monsoons,
And forecast the equinox
Their price was right, their future bright,
The prototype was sold;
From Stonehenge site their bits and byte
Would ship for Celtic gold.

The movers came to crate the frame;
It weighed a million ton!
The traffic folk thought it a joke
(the wagon wheels just spun);
“They’ll nay sell that,” the foreman spat,
“Just leave the wild weeds grow;
It’s Druid-kind, over-designed,
And belly up they’ll go.”

The man spoke true, and thus to you
A warning from the ages;
Your stock will slip if you can’t ship
What’s in your brochure’s pages.
See if it sells without the bells
And strings that ring and quiver;
Druid repute went down the chute
Because they couldn’t deliver.

On a more serious note. Stonehenge: Eclipse Computer?
Every year on the first day of summer, the Sun rises at a point that is farther north than on any other day of the year. At the ruins of Stonehenge in England, this solstice sunrise appears on the horizon in direct alignment with the massive heel stone. This is the most outstanding feature of this ancient monument, built during the same era as the Great Pyramid of Egypt. There is little doubt that the builders of Stonehenge used it to mark this special day as the beginning of each year. By counting the number of days between these annual alignments, they could determine the length of the year. This could serve as a practical calendar to mark holidays and seasonal festivals and to ensure the timely planting and harvesting of crops.

But to predict eclipses, knowledge of two other cycles is required. One of these — the length of the lunar month — is easily determined. It is simply the number of days between one full Moon and the next. This cycle of 29-1/2 days is marked at Stonehenge by two rings of 29 and 30 holes, which together average 29-1/2. The other cycle, however, is of an altogether different character: it is a cycle of rotation of two invisible points in space. The evidence shows that the builders of Stonehenge probably discovered this cycle and could have used it to predict eclipses.

These two invisible points in space are called the lunar nodes (from the Latin for “knot”). They are the points where the Moon’s orbit, which is tilted at a slight angle, intersects the plane of the Earth’s orbit. It would have taken many decades of watching countless risings and settings of the Moon to figure out the cycle of the lunar nodes. This information — which must have been passed on from generation to generation — is preserved at Stonehenge. All the Moon alignments necessary for determining this cycle are marked by massive stones.

Who were these people who observed this subtle cycle even before the first metal tools were used by humankind? Some have suggested that Stonehenge was built by Druids, but we don’t really know much about the builders. We do know that the actual motions of the Sun and the Moon are reflected in the structure of Stonehenge, and we can reason how it may have been used to keep track of these cycles. The number of stones or holes in the ground in the various rings around Stonehenge each represents a certain number of days or years in the cycles. By moving markers (such as stones) around a ring in time with the cycles, the positions of the Sun and Moon — and the two invisible points — can be tracked. (The details of this method are explained in Chapter 2 of the book ECLIPSE, by Bryan Brewer.)

An eclipse can occur only when the Sun is close to being aligned with a node. By using Stonehenge to keep track of the position of the Sun and the nodes, these “danger periods” for eclipses can be predicted. A new (or full) Moon appearing during one of these periods would call for a special vigil to see if the solar (or lunar) eclipse would be visible from Stonehenge. A total solar eclipse would be a rarity. But the law of averages confirms that either a partial solar eclipse or a lunar eclipse can be seen (weather permitting) from the same point on the Earth about once every year.

Why would eclipses have been so important to the ancient people of Stonehenge? Perhaps they considered the darkening of the Sun or the Moon a fearsome event — a celestial omen of doom or disaster. Many cultures have interpreted eclipses this way. But the sophistication of the astronomy of Stonehenge suggests that the builders had something different in mind. Their understanding of the solar and lunar cycles must have led to a high regard for the cosmic order. Eclipses may have been seen as affirmations of the regularity of these cycles. Or perhaps the unseen lunar nodes formed an element of their religion as invisible gods capable of eclipsing the brightest objects in the heavens.

The idea that Stonehenge may have been a center for some kind of worship has occurred to many. It is not hard to imagine Stone Age people gathering at a “sacred place” at “sacred times” (such as solstices, equinoxes, and eclipses) to reaffirm their religious beliefs through ritual practices. British antiquarian Dr. William Stukeley, who in 1740 was the first to note the summer solstice alignment at Stonehenge, advanced the notion that the monument was built by Druids to worship the serpent. He claimed that Stonehenge and similar stone circles had been serpent temples, which he called “Dracontia.” Could this serpent symbolism be related to eclipses? Recall that the key to eclipses is the position of the lunar nodes. The length of time for the Moon to return to a node (about 27.2 days) astronomers call the draconic month. (Draco is the Latin word for “serpent” or “dragon.) Perhaps the mythical serpents of Stonehenge and the legendary dragon that eats the Sun are symbols of the same thing: the invisible presence in time and space that eclipses the Sun and the Moon.

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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