Stonehenge Lecture by Mike Pearson. Wiltshire Heritage Museum

28 01 2013

Prof Mike Parker Pearson, who will be presenting the latest scientific results from laboratory analysis following a decade of fieldwork in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. 2(:30 pm, Saturday, 23 February, 2013)

A striking and original interpretation of the awesome Stone Age site from one of the world's foremost archaeologists on death and burial"

A striking and original interpretation of the awesome Stone Age site from one of the world’s foremost archaeologists on death and burial”

New research over the last year has provided fascinating insights into the lives of the people of Stonehenge and why they built this enigmatic and mysterious monument. Mike Parker Pearson will talk about his new book Stonehenge: exploring the greatest Stone Age mystery, and will present the latest scientific results coming out of laboratory analysis following a decade of fieldwork in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. This includes new light on the people buried at Stonehenge, and on the settlement of the builders at the nearby henge of Durrington Walls. He will also reveal the results of new research into the provisioning of Stonehenge, including the search for its quarries in Wiltshire and west Wales, to show how the act of building Stonehenge involved people from all over prehistoric Britain.

Mike has spent many years researching Stonehenge and its environment, particularly during the Stonehenge Riverside project. He is Professor of British Later Prehistory at UCL Institute of Archaeology.


* Tel: 01380 727369 (office hours Tuesday to Friday 10am to 5pm)

Saturday afternoon lectures start at 2.30pm and last approx. one hour.
This lecture is being held at Devizes Town Hall, just a short walk from the Museum.

 Cost:   £6 (£3.50 WANHS members)

‘See you there’
Merlin @ Stonehenge

New light on Stonehenge. Latest theories about when and why Stonehenge was built

8 11 2012

Tuesday 13 November 2012. A talk by Professor Mike Parker-Pearson, University of Sheffield. This lecture will present new findings by the ‘Feeding Stonehenge’ project about the people who built Stonehenge, and about the sources of its stones in Wales and north Wiltshire. It will examine the latest theories about when and why Stonehenge was built, and will present new discoveries from Wales as well as the Stonehenge area.

image credit : Adam Stanford of Aerial-Cam

image credit : Adam Stanford of Aerial-Cam

Prof. Mike Parker-Pearson is leader of the Stonehenge Riverside Project and author of Stonehenge: exploring the greatest Stone Age mystery, published by Simon & Schuster in June 2012. (see below)

7.00 pm refreshments, 7.30 pm lecture.


Please note this lecture is at the Guildhall (Market Square)not the Museum. A lecture in the Salisbury Museum Archaeology Lectures (SMAL) series. SMAL lectures are held on the second Tuesday of each month from September to April. Please note earlier start time for this particular lecture. This particular lecture requires booking. This is a fundraising event.

Booking:  Booking required. Please contact the Museum to book.

Cost:  In Advance: £8.00; On the Night : £10.00.

Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery

Our knowledge about Stonehenge has changed dramatically as a result of the Stonehenge Riverside Project (2003-2009), led by Mike Parker Pearson, and included not only Stonehenge itself but also the nearby great henge enclosure of Durrington Walls. This book is about the people who built Stonehenge and its relationship to the surrounding landscape. The book explores the theory that the people of Durrington Walls built both Stonehenge and Durrington Walls, and that the choice of stone for constructing Stonehenge has a significance so far undiscovered, namely, that stone was used for monuments to the dead. Through years of thorough and extensive work at the site, Parker Pearson and his team unearthed evidence of the Neolithic inhabitants and builders which connected the settlement at Durrington Walls with the henge, and contextualised Stonehenge within the larger site complex, linked by the River Avon, as well as in terms of its relationship with the rest of the British Isles. Parker Pearson’s book changes the way that we think about Stonehenge; correcting previously erroneous chronology and dating; filling in gaps in our knowledge about its people and how they lived; identifying a previously unknown type of Neolithic building; discovering Bluestonehenge, a circle of 25 blue stones from western Wales; and confirming what started as a hypothesis – that Stonehenge was a place of the dead – through more than 64 cremation burials unearthed there, which span the monument’s use during the third millennium BC. In lively and engaging prose, Parker Pearson brings to life the imposing ancient monument that continues to hold a fascination for everyone

Sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ –

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog

Stonehenge Solstice Snow Globe, and other crap gifts

3 12 2011

Looking for that perfect ‘Stonehenge’ gift for a loved one this Christmas ? Look no futher I have sourced some real rubbish to waste your money on (see below)  My personal favourite is the tasteful  ‘Solstice Wall Mounted Sculpture.’  Tongue firmly in cheek

Stonehenge Solstice Sunset Snow Waterball Christmas Gift
Stonehenge Snow GlobePicture Print Of: A Fabulous Print of Stonehenge Solstice at Sunset…
Made from Clear Acrylic Wipe Clean Plastic with a Gold Coloured Base
Comes Filled with Water with Lot’s of Sparkly Silver & White Glitter Flec’s
When Shaken Will Give a Pretty Sparkling Snow Storm Effect
The Same Picture Image Can be Seen from Both Sides of Globe
This Waterball Would Make a Very Pretty Gift…

Merlin says: Every mantlepiece should have one (except mine)…………..

Mouse Mat
I Love Stonehenge Decorated Mouse Pad Click here:
Merlin says: How can you possibly use a comuter without one of these





Stonehenge BeltHand painted buckle. Can also be used as an ornament with the supplied display stand. Suitable for detatchable snap-fit belts up to 1.5 inches wide (sold separately – of course) Click here

Merlin Says:  This will really pull the chicks (hmmm)

Its gets better…………………….
Stonehenge Wall hangingsStonehenge Summer Solstice Relief Wall Mounted Sculpture – Click here
This is a superb 3-dimensional wall sculpture portraying Stonehenge by Garry White. Measures 23cm by 21cm and stands off the wall by 5cm making a dramatic and eyecatching statement. This is a wall mounted plaque and comes ready to hang with a hook attached on the back. Made from poured stone which is stone dust bonded with resin resulting in a richly detailed piece with a high quality stone-like finish. Hand painted and individually finished by hand.

Merlin says: Hideous!  Losing the will to live


Stonehenge cuff linksStonehenge Cuff links – click here
Revisit the history with a unique cufflink with a picture of great historic landmark- Stone Henge on it. Stay connected to roots! Buy for yourself or present it to someone special. Comes wrapped in a beautiful gift box to add worth.

Merlin says: Classy!   Will match my Stonehenge socks (yes you can really buy Stonehenge socks)


Stonehenge Tax DiskStonehenge Solstice Sunset Car Tax Disc Holder – click here
Car Tax Disc-Licence Holder…
Design /Print: A Fabulous Print of Stonehenge Solstice at Sunset…
A Self Adhesive Top Quality PVC Vehicle Tax Disc /Licence Holder
Easy Peel Back Backing that Reveals a Clear PVC Outer Rim Around the Image When Removed
Photo /Image is Seen Inside the Vehicle As the Tax Must be Displayed & Seen from the Outside
Gift Packed in a Clear Polybag with Header Card at Top
All Our Licence Holders are Made Using the Highest Quality Materials Available and with Crystal Clear Images
A Perfect Gift… Or Your Own Special Treat!

Merlin says: Won’t be seen at the Solstice without one!

 STONEHENGE BIBBib with Stonehenge, boulders – Click here

  • Ergonomically designed for comfortable fit
  • Adjustable necklace for indivudual fit
  • Approved for food use
  • Washable

Size: 11.4″ x 7.8″

Merlin says: Whatever next – I give up…………….

Build Your Own Stonehenge (Running Press Mini Kits) – Click here
Build StonehengeAh Stonehenge. The mystical place where Tess is arrested in the heartbreaking climax of ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’. And of course where our colleague Simon passed out after a rather wild night at the Summer Solstice. Whatever your knowledge or experience of this legendary site, you can now own your own version of it.

Merlin says:
Got 60 seconds  and £5 to waste – nows your chance, buy one of these

Please visit our shop:
(there are also some good books etc avaialble – honest)

Any other tacky Stonehenge gift ideas ?

Merlin : Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

Stonehenge Book Gift Guide

3 12 2011

As Mid-Winter approaches, it’s time to consider the accompanying consumerfest. Whether you’re buying gifts for someone else, or just giving yourself a year-end treat, the following is a list of books, in no particular order, that we have enjoyed throughout the year. You may too.

Note that not all of these are new books by any means, but they are books we’ve read, enjoyed and can recommend.

  • Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland Before the Romans – Francis Pryor. The first in a four-part opus spanning athe Ice Age to Modern Times, this books concentrates on the birth of Farming and Agriculture in Britain, a subject close to Pryor’s heart.
  • A History of Ancient Britain – Neil Oliver. A companion to the TV series, this book spans half a million years of human occupation, through several Ice Ages to the Romans, looking at the various objects left behind for us to interpret. A thoughtful read.
  • A Brief History of the Druids (Brief Histories) – Peter Berresford Ellis. Forget the romantic antiquarian view of the Druids, this books tells it like it is, using the latest research into classical sources to give a good general overview of life and society in the pre-Roman period.
  • A Brief History of Stonehenge – Aubrey Burl. Although titled ‘A Brief History’, the scope and detail in this book is remarkable. casting aside the more lunatic fringe ideas, this book deals purely in facts, but is no less readable for all that. The ‘Brief History’ series generally is to be recommended, whatever your historical period of interest.
  • The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain – Julian Cope. First written in the 1990′s and recently re-printed, this book spawned a website of the same name that has gone from strength to strength. A series of extraordinary essays followed by a decent gazetteer of some 300 ancient sites to visit in Britain.
  • Standing with Stones: A Photographic Journey Through Megalithic Britain and Ireland –  “Across the length and breadth of Britain and Ireland lies an unsurpassed richness of prehistoric heritage. Standing with Stones is a personal voyage of discovery, taking the reader to over a hundred megalithic sites in a photographic journey through the British Isles.” Stunning photography and an easily accessible text make this book a must-have. A companion DVD is also available.
  • A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany – Aubrey Burl. A superb gazetteer of stone circles. Provides what it says on the cover. In our view, an indispensible item.

Any of the above should provide a decent background to our ancient heritage. There are of course many more academic books we could recommend which go into fine detail about specific sites or time periods, but those above are targetted to a more general readership. If you think we’ve left anything important off our list, please add a comment to let us know.

Thanks to Heritage Action for the recommendations

Stonehenge Bookshop:
Please take the time to visit our online shop:

Sponsored by The Stonehenge Tour Company –

Melin @ Stonehenge

The Stonehenge Enigma – An inconvenient truth

30 08 2011

Robert Langdon’s new book, sheds new light on the evidence found in Stonehenge’s Visitors Car Park, which has subsequently been buried for over 40 years, that proves Stonehenge is really 5000 years older than we believe!

The Stonehenge Enigma, has unearthed evidence that has been kept from public scrutiny for over 40 years. Current theories on the discovery of the four post holes in a line found during excavation work on the visitors car park in 1966 are simple and dismissive – they are ‘totem poles’ claim English Heritage in their book ‘Stonehenge in its landscape’ by Cleal et al. 1995.

However, analysis of the claim simply does not stand up to scrutiny. “They are likely to be individual uprights, perhaps reminiscent of those of the American Indian (totem poles).” The problem is that ‘totem poles’ survive less than 100 years, if they are made of hard wood – pine is softwood and rots much quicker. So when you start to look at the carbon dating evidence on when each post whole was cut a whole new story emerges.

For the first post hole would have been constructed around 8275BC the second one (next to the first) was erected about 7035BC some 1240 years later! By then the first post would have rotted away and the first post hole completely lost. The third post hole we cannot date as the charcoal that was found was lost or not processed, which is no surprise as all three samples were stored away for 10 years before some eagle eyed researcher realised that pine wood did not exist in the late Neolithic (2500BC), which the original date archaeologists claimed these poles were erected (to match the building date of Stonehenge) before packing the samples away into oblivion, without getting them tested. Yet, another post hole on the same alignment was found in 1989 some 75m away from the three original post holes. This was accurately dated to about 7890BC, 385 years after the first post but 855 years before the second.

So English Heritage asks us to accept that a group of hunter-gatherers went to the Stonehenge site in 8275BC and placed a ‘totem pole’ in a valley away from the high ground (where Stonehenge sits today) which was at this time in history surrounded by a tall pine forest. These people then disappeared for about 400 years, returning to place a second ‘totem pole’ 75 yards away from the first, finally to return 855 years later and place a third pole next to the first with the fourth (of unknown date) in an alignment. Moreover, these people left no trace of their 1200 year occupation of this site until they returned 5,000 years later in 3000BC to build Stonehenge phase 1.

Why has this absurd theory not have the scrutiny that it desires? Why was the evidence buried in a vault for 10 years? And why do they still insist that these post holes are ‘totem poles’? In his book, Langdon shows that these structures played a more significant role than has previously been believed. Not only does he reveal what these post holes were for, but he also gives a more plausible explanation on what really happened at Stonehenge including, WHO built the Monument, WHEN they built the monument and WHY they built the monument.

For the full article on ‘The Stonehenge Enigma – An inconvenient truth’ including photo’s and academic references visit this web site at – all rights to duplicate and extract information or photographs with reference to source and author is granted.

A video promo is available on:

Details and extracts from the book – The Stonehenge Enigma at:

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

Archaeostrononomer Gerald Hawkins died today 2003

26 05 2011

Gerald Stanley Hawkins

Gerald Hawkins

Gerald Hawkins

Astronomer who claimed Stonehenge was a computer

· Gerald Stanley Hawkins, archaeoastronomer and author, born April 20 1928; died May 26 2003.

(1928–2003) was an English astronomer and author most famous for his work in the field of archaeoastronomy. A professor and chair of the astronomy department at Boston University in the United States. In 1965 he published an analysis of Stonehenge in which he was the first to propose its purpose as an ancient astronomical observatory used to predict movements of sun and stars. Archeologists and other scholars have since demonstrated such sophisticated, complex planning and construction at other prehistoric earthwork sites, such as Cahokia in the United States.

Gerald Hawkins’ work
Gerald Hawkins’ work on Stonehenge was first published in Nature in 1963 following analyses he had carried out using the Harvard-Smithsonian IBM computer. Hawkins found not one or two alignments but dozens. He had studied 165 significant features at the monument and used the computer to check every alignment between them against every rising and setting point for the sun, moon, planets, and bright stars in the positions they would have been in 1500 BC. Thirteen solar and eleven lunar correlations were very precise against the early features at the site with precision falling during the megalithic stages. Hawkins also proposed a method for using the Aubrey holes to predict lunar eclipses by moving markers from hole to hole. In 1965 Hawkins wrote (with J. B. White) Stonehenge Decoded, which detailed his findings and proposed that the monument was a ‘Neolithic computer’.

Atkinson replied with his article “Moonshine on Stonehenge” in Antiquity in 1966, pointing out that some of the pits which Hawkins had used for his sight lines were more likely to have been natural depressions, and that he had allowed a margin of error of up to 2 degrees in his alignments. Atkinson found that the probability of so many alignments being visible from 165 points to be close to 0.5 (or rather 50:50) rather that the “one in a million” possibility which Hawkins had claimed. That the Station Stones stood on top of the earlier Aubrey Holes meant that many of Hawkins’ alignments between the two features were illusory. The same article by Atkinson contains further criticisms of the interpretation of Aubrey Holes as astronomical markers, and of Fred Hoyle’s work.

A question exists over whether the English climate would have permitted accurate observation of astronomical events. Modern researchers were looking for alignments with phenomena they already knew existed; the prehistoric users of the site did not have this advantage.

Later Stonehenge theories

Although Stonehenge has become an increasingly popular destination during the summer solstice, with 26,000 people visiting in 2010, scholars have developed growing evidence that indicates prehistoric people visited the site only during the winter solstice. The only megalithic monuments in the British Isles to contain a clear, compelling solar alignment are Newgrange and Maeshowe, which both famously face the winter solstice sunrise.

The most recent such evidence supporting the theory of winter visits includes bones and teeth from pigs which were slaughtered at nearby Durrington Walls. Their age at death indicating that they were slaughtered either in December or January every year. Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield has said, “We have no evidence that anyone was in the landscape in summer.”

From the Guardian 2003

In 1961, Gerald Hawkins, who has died of a heart attack aged 75, was professor of physics and astronomy at Boston University in Massachusetts. It was then that he returned to Salisbury Plain to film the sun rise over the marker Heelstone at Stonehenge. Assistants meanwhile plotted every stone and pit, punched coordinates on to cards and fed them, and astronomical data, into an IBM 704.This was at a time when computers were rare and glamorous. Asking that age’s technological wonder to decipher the ancient world’s icon was a gesture of timely genius. The journal Nature published Hawkins’s first results in 1963. Two years later Stonehenge Decoded, written by Hawkins with John B White, was published in the US.The IBM machines, Hawkins argued, showed Stonehenge to be a neolithic computer-observatory for predicting eclipses of the sun and moon. From New York to Iraq, newspapers praised the professor and his computer for rewriting prehistory. Stone-age savages were revealed as skilled scientists.

Archaeologists were less happy. They sniffed at his “overconfident style”, resented his publicity and questioned his results. Hawkins’s statistics were shown to be dodgy; he had contrived a computer from a monument believed to have developed piecemeal over centuries.

Stonehenge excavator Richard Atkinson described Hawkins’s book as: “tendentious, arrogant, slipshod, and unconvincing” – for him the builders of Stonehenge were “howling barbarians”.

The popular archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes, meanwhile, observed that “every age has the Stonehenge it deserves – or desires”.

Hawkins claimed surprise at the response. That contribution to Nature was his 61st scientific paper and many of his others, on subjects such as tektites, meteors and steady-state universe theory seemed to him more exciting. But none of his other dozen books was as successful.

Hawkins had changed the way we think about Stonehenge, and inspired the science of archaeo-astronomy. Repeated studies have failed to do more than support a few solar, and perhaps lunar alignments, and deny a computational function. Yet in the public mind, Stonehenge is now fixed as an observatory and computer. Stonehenge Decoded initiated a debate still alive, and inspired the first generation of archaeo-astronomers.

Hawkins also analysed the Nazca lines in Peru and the temple of Amun at Karnak, Egypt. He recently developed a crop circles theory based on Euclidean geometry and musical intervals. He first saw Stonehenge in 1953, when working at nearby Larkhill camp. He read that the monument was aligned on midsummer sunrise, a fact first noted by William Stukeley in the 18th century, and made much of by Sir Norman Lockyer in 1906.

Hawkins’s hometown was Great Yarmouth. He obtained his first degree at Nottingham University in 1949 in physics, with pure maths subsidiary, and a PhD in radio astronomy under Sir Bernard Lovell at Manchester University in 1952.

Manchester awarded him a DSc in 1963 for astronomical research at the Harvard-Smithsonian Observatories. He was professor of astronomy and chairman of the department at Boston University (1957-69), and dean of the liberal arts Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania (1969-71).

Boston presented him with the Shell award for distinguished writing in 1965. Other awards came from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Academy of Sciences, and he was a proud member of the prestigious intellectual Cosmos Club, Washington DC. He was a science advisor to the US Information Agency.

Hawkins was dedicated to his research, and enthusiastic and generous with those ready to listen. He was due to address an Oxford conference with a new Stonehenge study and, to the surprise of some British academics, he continued to see himself as an Englishman. He leaves his second wife, Julia Dobson.

Sponsors: The Stonehenge Tour Company,


Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

The Stonehenge Legacy – New book 2011

10 01 2011
Stonehenge Legacy

Stonehenge Legacy

Eight days before the summer solstice, a man is butchered in a blood-freezing sacrifice on the ancient site of Stonehenge before a congregation of robed worhsippers. Within hours, one of the world’s foremost treasure hunters has shot himself in his country mansion. And to his estranged son, young archaeologist Gideon Chase, he leaves a cryptic letter …Teaming up with an intrepid Wiltshire policewoman, Gideon soon exposes a secret society – an ancient international legion devoted for thousands of years to Stonehenge. With a charismatic and ruthless new leader at the helm, the cult is now performing ritual human sacrifices in a terrifying bid to unlock the secret of the stones. Packed with codes, symbology, relentless suspense, and fascinating detail about the history of one of the world’s most mysterious places, The Stonehenge Legacy is a blockbuster thriller to rival the very best of Dan Brown.

The author will be in Waterstones, Salibury at the end of the month signing copies……….
Or buy a copy here: The Stonehenge Legacy. by Sam Christer
Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Website


Book Extract: Stonehenge by Rosemary Hill

8 01 2011

Hill’s Stonehenge surveys the endless speculations around this mysterious monument

Antiquaries were a relatively new intellectual species, largely a

Rosemary Hill - Stonehenge

Rosemary Hill - Stonehenge

product of the Reformation, and they were interested in what could be discovered of the past by looking beyond the written records. They studied anything that was old – stones, metal, pottery, coins – attracting in the process much derision from contemporaries who thought it an “unnaturall disease” to be so “enamour’d of old age and wrinkles”. Yet the antiquaries were the first archaeologists. They were also the first oral historians, costume historians, art historians and folklorists. They opened up vast intellectual horizons and if, as later archaeologists have sometimes been quick to point out, they made mistakes, they were not alone in that and, working in an age before academic specialisation, before science and the arts had parted company, they were also able to make daring and useful connections.

It was James I, who prided himself on being up to date with intellectual fashion, who initiated the archaeological investigation of Stonehenge, although as befits the man known as “the wisest fool in Christendom” his efforts had mixed results. Staying nearby at Wilton House in 1620, he expressed an interest in the stones. Since the Reformation the land on which Stonehenge stood had passed into private hands and it was to remain private property until the 20th century. James’s intimate friend the Duke of Buckingham, eager to please, immediately tried to buy it for the King. The owner, however, refused to sell, so Buckingham had to be content with digging an enormous hole in the middle of it, from which he removed various objects now lost and, as John Aubrey later thought, caused one of the stones (stone 56) to tilt over “by being underdigged”. After this unpromising start the King approached the Royal Surveyor, Inigo Jones, and asked him to produce a report. Jones’s Stone-Heng Restored appeared posthumously in 1655. It was the first book entirely devoted to the subject and it argued that Stonehenge was Roman. The reaction that this theory provoked kick-started the antiquarian investigation of Stonehenge. If there was anything the typical antiquary liked more than proving himself right, it was proving somebody else wrong, and Jones’s book prompted two people, Walter Charleton and his friend John Aubrey, to throw their energies into discrediting it.

The archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes famously remarked that every age “has the Stonehenge it deserves – or desires” and the Stonehenge of the Stuart antiquaries was born of the age that saw the foundation of the Royal Society, the wider exploration of the Americas and a new Baconian spirit of critical enquiry, in which nature and mathematics were the ultimate authorities. This critical, analytical cast of mind brought about a change in attitudes to the past and to the study of it. Until then history had been narrated, chiefly, as the story of a Golden Age, with everything since a long-protracted fall. “Till about the yeare 1649,” as Aubrey noted, “’twas held a strange presumption for a man to attempt an innovation in learning; and not to be good manners to be more knowing than his neighbours and forefathers.” Enquiry now was all the rage, but it was tinged also with melancholy and foreboding. The generation of antiquaries that had lived through the Civil Wars had seen towns and families divided. They had watched Puritans smash stained glass and knock the heads off the statues in churches; they feared for the past and for the future. Charleton, who was the first to respond to Inigo Jones, had been particularly close to these events as physician to Charles I and later to his son in exile. His book, Chorea Gigantum Or, The Most Famous Antiquity of Great Britain, Vulgarly called Stone-heng, was published in 1663. When Charleton looked at the monument he saw the stones “sleeping in deep forgetfulness, and well-nigh disanimated by the Lethargy of Time”. But he also saw the spot where Charles II, now restored as king, had paused on his flight after the Battle of Worcester at one of the most desperate moments of his life. Both images haunt Charleton’s treatise and inform its surprising conclusion that the circle was the work of the Danes.

The argument was based on some, admittedly rather loose, comparisons with the stone circles of Denmark documented by his Danish friend and fellow antiquary Ole Worm, but the method was new and not naïve. In trying to understand Stonehenge in its own terms, without magic and in relation to the other similar monuments, Charleton was a pioneer. The dedicatory poem that prefaces Chorea Gigantum was written by John Dryden and it associates Charleton firmly with the new spirit of “free-born Reason”. From now on the attempt to “make Stones to live” was to be on a par with medicine and exploration as a proper study for the best minds. In the end Charleton’s thesis found by analogy with Denmark that Stonehenge was not a temple, or the tomb of Boadicea as Edmund Bolton had suggested in 1624, but a meeting place for the election and coronation of kings. This was an especially happy conclusion given that Charleton’s book was dedicated to his employer, Charles II. As Dryden put it:

These Ruins sheltred once His Sacred Head,
Then when from Wor’ster’s fatal Field He fled…
His Refuge then was for a Temple shown:
But, He Restor’d, ’tis now become a Throne.

Charleton is usually written off as a sycophant as well as a poor scholar. Yet in so far as his book is a political statement, and there are few antiquarian texts of the 17th century which are not, he is no simple-minded royalist. Chorea Gigantum is not an endorsement of the Divine Right of Kings but of popular leaders, governing “by the general suffrage of the assembly”. It dwells, to the point of tactlessness in the circumstances, on the fact that the Danes were republicans. Charleton’s Stonehenge is an emblematic reminder to the restored monarch that he reigns only with the people’s consent.

The treatise concludes somewhat smugly that “this Opinion of mine, if it be erroneous, is yet highly plausible; having this advantage over the others… that it is not so easily to be refuted”. Charleton was wrong about that as well and he was not to rest on his laurels for long.

© Rosemary Hill 2008
Stonehenge’ by Rosemary Hill is published by Profile, £15.99
Buy the book here: Stonehenge (Wonders of the World)

About the author Rosemary Hill is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a trustee of the Victorian Society and a Brother of the Artworkers’ Guild. Her biography of AWN Pugin, ‘God’s Architect’, was published in 2007. She was born in London, where she lives with her husband, the poet Christopher Logue.

Well worth a read………………….
Merlin @ Stonehenege
The Stonehenge Stone Circle website

Stonehenge Art – The Prehistory collection

3 01 2011
Art of Stonehenge
As well as collecting objects from Stonehenge, Salisbury Museum has an extensive range of paintings, prints and drawings of the monument. These include some of the earliest known depictions of the stone circle, as well as works by contemporary artists.Stonehenge
By John Britton and W. Lowry
Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England (Plans)Britton believed that the romanised Britons constructed Stonehenge at the end of the fifth century AD, about 1500 years ago. Nowadays archaeologists believe that Stonehenge is a lot older. The first phase probably dates from about 5000 years ago and the final phase around 4000 years ago.

Stonehenge: Plan of Avenue
By George Maunoir Heywood Sumner
Stonehenge: Plan of Avenue1916
This image was used in a guidebook to Stonehenge, called Stonehenge Today and Yesterday, by Frank Stevens, O.B.E. Stevens succeeded his father, Edward, as curator of the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum. Under his management it became one of the best provincial museums in the country. He was also passionate about education. He taught local school children about the history, archaeology and natural history of the area. Frank Stevens died in 1945.

Stonehenge: The Wheel of Time or The Perpetual Calendar of the Druids
By Martin and Hood
Stonehenge: The Wheel of Time or The Perpetual Calendar of the Druids1851 – 1875
This picture was used in a book written by the Rev. Edward Duke to illustrate his own theories about Stonehenge. Duke (1779-?1849) was born in Hungerford, Berkshire, but moved to Wiltshire in 1805 when he inherited the Elizabethan manor house in Lake. He was a learned man and very interested in archaeology. Sir Richard Colt Hoare helped him to excavate a barrow on his estate. Duke made frequent contributions to the Gentleman’s Magazine, mainly regarding the antiquities of Wiltshire. He published a book, called The Druidical Temples of Wiltshire, which is the culmination of his opinions. As well as being a clergyman, Duke, was a magistrate and helped the poor of the county.

The Borgia Ring
By Unknown
The Borgia Ring1826 – 1875
This image is from the Illustrated London News and it depicts a scene from a drama called The Borgia Ring that appeared at the Adelphi Theatre. The theatre was renamed the Adelphi in 1819. Distinguished actors and actresses appeared in its plays, including Madame Celeste who was the first heroine of what became known as Adelphi drama. It was pulled down in 1858 and then under new management from 1879 it was famous for melodramas, by writers such as Wilkie Collins, for the next twenty years.

The Druid’s Sacrifice
By William Overend Geller
The Druid’s Sacrifice1832
There is no historical or archaeological evidence that the druids constructed or worshipped at Stonehenge. The idea was popularised in the 18th century by Dr William Stukeley. The druids were part of Celtic society. One of their main functions was probably to supervise sacrifices and religious ceremonies. It is likely that they also recounted orally in verse the traditional stories about the tribe as well as upheld the law and acted as judges. Until the 20th century images of druids were heavily influenced by the writings of Roman authors.

The first spring clean
By William Heath Robinson
The first spring clean1921
This cartoon was first published in the magazine ‘Let’s Laugh’. Heath Robinson dated it 1921 BC. The joke in this date is actually quite accurate for dating the monument!





The Front View of Stonehenge
By William Stukeley
The Front View of StonehengeThis image combines two prints that were in a book about Stonehenge by Dr William Stukeley. Stukeley drew them and then Harris engraved the plan and Gerard Van der Gucht engraved the main picture.

The North East Side of Stonehenge

By Edward Rooker
1751 – 1800
The North East Side of StonehengeA copy of this engraving appeared in Hervey’s New System of Geography written by Frederic Hervey in 1785. D.Fenning originally wrote this book and then Hervey edited a revised version. The landscape behind the monument is reminiscent of the bleak downland of Salisbury Plain but errors in the scale of the stones suggest that the artist did not draw this picture from life.

The Stupendous Stones called Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain
By Alexander Hogg
The Stupendous Stones called Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain1794
This simple and clear image shows a very accurate view of Stonehenge. However the scale of the figures in the foreground is completely wrong. They are far too small and serve only to make the stones look bigger than they really are. Wonderful Magazine, from which this picture is taken, specialised in articles on strange sights, creatures and phenomena. It was not beyond exaggeration as is demonstrated here.

Three prehistoric monuments
By W. Hamper
Three prehistoric monuments1806
This image appeared in an issue of the Gentleman’s Magazine in July 1806 (plate I page 600). The three images show Avebury and Stonehenge in Wiltshire and the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire. All three stone circles attracted the attention of the early antiquarians.





By Conrad Martin Metz and James Heath
Unknown1776 – 1825
This image has been clearly influenced by Italian Renaissance art. The stones have been portrayed quite accurately but the setting, particularly the shepherd in the lower left corner, is classical in style. This is typical of the fashion for artworks during this period. It also reinforces the emerging idea that Great Britain was becoming the most important empire in the world and therefore, the new Rome.

Large Stonehenge
By David Charles Read
Large Stonehenge1830
This is a beautifully atmospheric picture that shows off the skills of the artist very well. The sketchy effects of etching have been cleverly used to control the light in the image. The darkness increases the impressive size and presence of the stones, whilst enough moonlight is allowed through the clouds to reveal the people. Perhaps they are lovers, perhaps they are travellers. Either way, the picture has the feeling of an episode from a romantic novel.

Grand Conventional Festival of the Britons
By Samuel Rush Meyrick and Charles Hamilton Smith
Grand Conventional Festival of the Britons1801 – 1850
This picture is a low quality reproduction of Meyrick and Smith’s Grand Conventional Festival of the Britons. Until the 19th century all images of druids were heavily influenced by the illustrations in Britannia Antiqua Illustrata, written by Aylett Sammes (published 1676). Then in 1815 Meyrick and Smith issued a book, called The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of the British Isles. Their drawings were influential as they introduced British prehistoric ornaments as costume accessories. However, the authenticity of their images is questionable as they combined elements of dress from different periods of history, such as Early Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age, Celtic and Medieval.

External links:

The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

New Stonehenge book launched – Stonehenge Times Square BC

26 11 2010

New Stonehenge book

New Stonehenge book

Discover the Ultimate Function and Purpose of Stonehenge
Where would you be without your diary to check your appointments for the week, or your calendar to work out dates?

We are all ruled by hours, days, weeks and months – from getting up in the morning, to working out schedules, to planning holidays and important functions. In addition to this, most of us have heard of the mysterious, starkly beautiful monument, Stonehenge, and have wondered as to its construction. Be this as it may, how often have we given any thought as to how (and why) this Heritage Site was originated? Are we at all aware of the key role it has played in the concept of ‘time’ and in our New Year celebrations?

Once you have an understanding of the four ancient calendars, revealed and explained in this fascinating window to the past, you will realise that Stonehenge was a site of enormous importance and significance to the ancients. The monument was in fact a device or tool, for revealing the exact date of the year.

More importantly, we are given a glimpse of how the ancients discovered and designed their calendars with little more than sticks and stones to work with. Discover too, the accuracy of their calendars, which were accurate to within a day. Their solar calendar consisted of 365 days had 52 weeks, with 3 seasons of 91 days and 1 season of 92 days. Discover how 12, 30 day months were introduced around 3600 years ago with 5 tagged on days at the end of the year. This last calendar is known to have been used by both the Babylonians and Egyptians.

About the BookThe key points in any solar calendar are alignments with both midsummer and midwinter. Very early on, an important discovery made at Stonehenge was that certain of the megaliths would have aligned perfectly with the midsummer and midwinter solstices approximately 5000 years ago, when the monument was built.

Stonehenge, as it is seen today, is impressive and has fostered many theories as to its original function and purpose. However, this megalithic monument, impressive as it is, is not the full story. Archaeologists have discovered that before the Megaliths (Sarsen stones) were erected, there were earlier structures dating back to as far as 5000 years ago. The area at Stonehenge was in use long before the Sarsen megaliths were erected.

The author of Stonehenge: Times Square BC, Faith Booysen, realized that although some theories held for certain of the structures, taken as a whole, most theories did not explain the older structures.

Working on the assumption that these structures were calendars, her calculations proved that this was, indeed, so.

Her book, Stonehenge: Times Square BC sets out in detail the remarkable calculations and details of four calendars at Stonehenge. The brilliance of the ancient designers and builders are reflected in these calendars. With little more than primitive tools, they designed and built calendars that lasted for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The calendars formed the basis of the calendar we use to this day. Discover how the calendars evolved over a period of 1650 years from a circle of 56 wooden posts to the massive monument we see today.

Extract from the BookWe might never truly know whether the designers were local or foreign to Britain. What we do know is that designing and building calendars with primitive tools, required genius. Civilisation, it can be said, is built upon such genius, dedication and persistence.

These stone structures were built to last and because of this, crucial knowledge was passed down to future generations. Everything from a simple coffee in the morning to space exploration, testifies to this. Sadly, with the advent of written language, these structures fell into disuse and disrepair. Even so, after 5000 years and with little more than holes in the ground, scattered stones and a few remaining megaliths, we are able to reconstruct and understand their calendars.” Extract from Stonehenge: Times Square BC

About the AuthorThe author, Faith Booysen, has always had an overwhelming interest in the stone structures of the ancient world. Stonehenge in particular, held a strong fascination and in 2006, while watching a TV program on “Foamhenge” (a precise model of Stonehenge in polystyrene), she realized that the monument was only part of an equation and that the ancients would have used either loose stones or logs to mark their calendars daily.

It soon became obvious that the ruin of the Stonehenge monument seen today was preceded by other calendars. Stonehenge: Times Square BC is the result. Once the author had resolved the oldest calendar (the Aubrey Posts), she studied the remaining structures at Stonehenge and Woodhenge and these were revealed to be precise solar calendars. Mount Pleasant, a Neolithic henge in Dorset that supported wooden posts, proved to be a precise solar calendar as well.

Merlins CommentIt is obvious that the author knows and loves her subject and she has done some meticulous research to compile this fascinating account of the origins of our modern-day calendars and traditions behind our New Year celebrations.

Even those who are not ruled by the clock, or who are science buffs, will find that this absorbing account of the early designers who built one of the most fascinating monuments known to man and who made time and motion as we know it today all possible, makes you forget all about the time.

Link to TimeHenge book – to Stonehenge Book Shop

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

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