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Senior druid Arthur Pendragon has been told he can take English Heritage to court to challenge “pay to pray” car parking charges at Stonehenge.
King Arthur Pendragonbelieves the £15 parking fee at Stonehenge was “an illegal charge” A senior druid has been told he can take English Heritage to court to challenge “pay to pray” car parking charges at Stonehenge. King Arthur Pendragon argued a parking fee of £15 for the 2016 summer solstice breached his human rights. Parking at the Neolithic monument, managed by English Heritage (EH), usually costs £5. A judge at Salisbury County Court granted Mr Pendragon a full hearing at a small claims court.
Other druids and pagans were at the court to support King Arthur Pendragon, who was joined by other druid and pagan supporters to protest outside the court, believes the £15 fee was “illegal” and excluded 12,500 from the event. He told the judge at the allocation hearing that the claim was not about money or costs, but the fact it “unfairly targeted his religion”. An estimated 23,000 people attended the Neolithic site in 2015 compared to 12,000 in 2016 The increased charge was introduced to encourage more people to car share or travel by bus, but Mr Pendragon said he wanted to prove EH was wrong to turn him away when he refused to “pay to pray”. A spokeswoman for EH said: “This was a procedural hearing establishing the next steps and we look forward to presenting our full case at a later date. “As legal proceedings are ongoing it…
Mr Pendragon asked that the date for the full hearing does not clash with the spring or summer solstice.
The ink wasn’t even dry (or the bits weren’t even embedded in the Cloud) yet on the 2 Comments about a new theory that Stonehenge once stood in Wales before being moved to Wiltshire when a cry rose up from other archaeologists who claim that it was glaciers, not humans, that pushed the monoliths to their current resting place in Wiltshire. Who’s right, who’s wrong and what’s the betting line on the fight?
The feud started with a report last week in the journal Antiquity that archaeologists from University College London (UCL) identified two quarries in Wales that matched some of the bluestones at Stonehenge. The more controversial part of the report was their belief that the stones were made into a monument in Wales which stood for a few hundred years before being toppled and moved to England, making Stonehenge what some were sacrilegiously calling a “second-hand monument.”
Just a week later, Dr. Brian John, Dr. Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd and John Downes thumbed their noses at their peers in a paper published in the journal Archaeology in Wales where they stated that there are “no traces of human intervention in any of the features that have made the archaeologists so excited.”
The stone of contention in this argument is foliated rhyolite debris – fragments of thinly-layered volcanic rock that were found at both sites, prompting the UCL team to declare that they came to Glastonbury with the bluestones from Wales. Dr. John’s team says the Irish Sea Glacier brought the foliated rhyolite debris (a great name for a heavy metal band) 500,000 years ago.
While Dr. John’s team agrees that the Welsh outcrops of Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-felin show signs of human campgrounds, there’s no evidence the Neolithic humans were quarrying monoliths and building a miniature Welsh Stonehenge. In fact, he suggests that the features the UCL team thought were evidence of quarry activity were actually made by the archaeologists themselves. As Dr. John eloquently puts it:
An expectation or conviction that ‘engineering features’ would be found has perhaps led to the unconscious fashioning of archaeological artifices.
Ouch! But Dr. John doesn’t stop there.
On the contrary, there is substantial evidence in favour of glacial transport and zero evidence in support of the human transport theory … We think the archaeologists have been so keen on telling a good story here that they have ignored or misinterpreted the evidence in front of them. That’s very careless. They now need to undertake a complete reassessment of the material they have collected.
Dr. John has taken the lead. Back to you, team from University College London.
‘Evidence that bluestones were quarried in Wales 500 years before they were put up in Wiltshire prompts theory that Stonehenge is ‘second-hand monument’
Archaeologists at one of the Stonehenge quarry sites in Wales. Photograph: UCL
Evidence of quarrying for Stonehenge’s bluestones is among the dramatic discoveries leading archaeologists to theorise that England’s greatest prehistoric monument may have first been erected in Wales.
It has long been known that the bluestones that form Stonehenge’s inner horseshoe came from the Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire, around 140 miles from Salisbury Plain.
Now archaeologists have discovered a series of recesses in the rocky outcrops of Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-felin, to the north of those hills, that match Stonehenge’s bluestones in size and shape. They have also found similar stones that the prehistoric builders extracted but left behind, and “a loading bay” from where the huge stones could be dragged away.
Carbonised hazelnut shells and charcoal from the quarry workers’ campfires have been radiocarbon-dated to reveal when the stones would have been extracted.
Prof Mike Parker Pearson, director of the project and professor of British later prehistory at University College London (UCL), said the finds were “amazing”.
“We have dates of around 3400 BC for Craig Rhos-y-felin and 3200 BC for Carn Goedog, which is intriguing because the bluestones didn’t get put up at Stonehenge until around 2900 BC,” he said. “It could have taken those Neolithic stone-draggers nearly 500 years to get them to Stonehenge, but that’s pretty improbable in my view. It’s more likely that the stones were first used in a local monument, somewhere near the quarries, that was then dismantled and dragged off to Wiltshire.”
The dating evidence suggests that Stonehenge could be older than previously thought, Parker Pearson said. “But we think it’s more likely that they were building their own monument [in Wales], that somewhere near the quarries there is the first Stonehenge and that what we’re seeing at Stonehenge is a second-hand monument.”
There is also the possibility that the stones were taken to Salisbury Plain around 3200 BC and that the giant sarsens – silicified sandstone found within 20 miles of the site – were added much later. “Normally we don’t get to make that many fantastic discoveries in our lives,” Parker Pearson said. “But this is one.”
Parker Pearson heads a project involving specialists from UCL and the universities of Manchester, Bournemouth and Southampton, among others. Their findings are published on Monday in the journal Antiquity alongside a new book by the Council for British Archaeology titled Stonehenge: Making Sense of a Prehistoric Mystery.
Prof Kate Welham, of Bournemouth University, said the ruins of a dismantled monument were likely to lie between the two megalith quarries. “We’ve been conducting geophysical surveys, trial excavations and aerial photographic analysis throughout the area and we think we have the most likely spot. The results are very promising. We may find something big in 2016,” she said.
The long-distance transport of the bluestones from Wales to Stonehenge is one of the most remarkable achievements of Neolithic societies. The archaeologists estimate that each of the 80 monoliths weighed less than two tons and that people or oxen could have dragged them on wooden sledges sliding on rail-like timbers.
Parker Pearson said people in Madagascar and other societies were known to have moved such standing stones long distances and that doing so created a spectacle that brought together communities from afar.
“One of the latest theories is that Stonehenge is a monument of unification, bringing together people from across the many parts of Britain,” he said.
He recalled the moment he looked up the near-vertical rock-face and realised that this was one of the quarries. “Three metres above us were the bases of these monoliths that were actually sitting there ready simply to be lowered out of their recesses,” he said.
“It’s the Ikea of Neolithic monument building. The nice thing about these particular outcrops is that the rock has formed 480 million years ago as pillars. So prehistoric people don’t have to go in there and bash away … All they have to do is get wedges into the cracks. You wet the wedge, it swells and the stone pops off the rock.”
Given it was on the market 16 years earlier for £125,000, lawyer Cecil Chubb bagged a bargain when he picked up Stonehenge at a 1915 auction for £6600, two years after Druids cursed the relic’s owner.
First angering Druid worshippers by building a fence and charging admission, in 1913 Edmund Antrobus, whose family bought 525ha on Salisbury Plain around Stonehenge in 1824, banned Druid solstice celebrations in 1913.
Druid leader Macgregor Reid called down a “kara” on Antrobus, chanting “in grief and sorrow I call down the curse of Almighty God”.
Antrobus died at 67 in February 1915, four months after his only son, Edmund Jr, 28, perished on Belgian battlefields. A Grenadier Guards lieutenant, he died fighting Germans on October 24, 1914, and was buried in an orchard in a village outside Ypres.
Estate agents Knight, Franck and Rutley put the historic site under the hammer at Salibury’s Palace Theatre on September 21, 1915. Chubb placed the winning bid for “Lot 15: Stonehenge with 30 acres of adjoining land”.
Chubb reportedly placed the bid on a whim, either to purchase the site as a gift for his wife or because be believed a “Salisbury man ought to buy it”.
Chubb was born in 1876 at Shrewton, 6km west of Stonehenge, to saddler Alfred and his wife Mary. He attended Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury, working as a student teacher from age 14, when he met his future wife Mary Finch at a school cricket game.
Chubb earned a double first in science and law at Christ’s College, Cambridge and in 1902 married Mary, whose uncle Corbin Finch owned Fisherton House mental asylum.
After Finch’s death in 1905, the business and buildings were transferred to Mary. A limited company ran the hospital in 1924, with Chubb, then Sir Cecil, as chairman.
Under his management it became Europe’s largest private mental hospital. He also served on Salisbury City Council, became a successful racehorse owner and cattle breeder.
Stonehenge ownership records date to at least 1620, when a “Mr Newdick”, probably Robert Newdyk who bought land at Amesbury, Wiltshire, in 1614, refused “any offer from George, Duke of Buckingham”. Amesbury, 3km east of Stonehenge, is the oldest continuously occupied site in Britain, dating to 8820BC.
By 1639 Stonehenge had passed to knight Laurence Washington. His friend, architect Inigo Jones visited to write in 1665 of “the most notable Antiquity of Great Britain, vulgarly called Stonehenge”.
When antiquarian William Stuckley described walking “hard and dry, chalky soil” in 1740 in “Stonehenge, A Temple Restor’d to the British Druids”, it stood “in the lordship of … Armesbury, the possession of Rev Mr Thomas Hayward … the Arch-Druid of the Island”.
It belonged to William, Duke of Queensberry, in 1778, passing on his death in 1810 to Archibald, Lord Douglas, who in 1824 sold the Amesbury estates to Cheshire baronet Edmund Antrobus. His great-nephew Edmund, 4th Baronet and former Grenadier Guards colonel, put Stonehenge on the market in September, 1899.
“The most splendid relic of man’s work in Britain … is under offer to the British Government by owner Sir Edmund Antrobus, who asks no less than £125,000,” the Spectator reported. “This includes 1300 acres of land surrounding the great stone circles. The proposal … will, no doubt, receive serious consideration. It cannot be disputed that if so priceless a relic of antiquity is to pass from a private owner, who has never interfered with the public’s enjoyment of it, the State should be the purchaser.”
But the Spectator suggested a value of £25,000, allowing “£10 an acre for the land, which from an agricultural point of view is probably the worst in England and … the remoteness of Stonehenge from the beaten tracks of tourists and sightseers”, encouraging few visitors. The government refused, so in 1901 Antrobus enclosed Stonehenge and charged 1 shilling, or about £5, admission. Some 700 brothers joined an Ancient Order of Druids ceremony at Stonehenge in August, 1905, when Antrobus was inducted into the society.
In June, 1912, Reid led his Universal Bond of Zoroastrian-inspired Druids in “Sun-worship at Stonehenge”. Antrobus banned the gathering in 1913, when police attempted to stop Reid entering the site. He clashed with police again at the 1914 solstice. Chubb, who died in 1934, permitted Druid celebrations before donating Stonehenge to the British nation in October, 1918.
Using ground-penetrating radar, some 100 stones were found at the Durrington Walls “superhenge”, a later bank built close to Stonehenge.
The Stonehenge Living Landscapes team has been researching the ancient monument site in a five-year project.
Finding the stones was “fantastically lucky”, researchers said.
The stones may have originally measured up to 4.5m (14ft) in height and had been pushed over the edge of Durrington Walls.
The site, which is thought to have been built about 4,500 years ago, is about 1.8 miles (3km) from Stonehenge, Wiltshire.
The stones were found on the edge of the Durrington Walls “henge”, or bank, an area which had not yet been studied by researchers.
Lead researcher, Vince Gaffney said the stones were “lost to archaeology” but found thanks to modern technology.
National Trust archaeologist, Dr Nick Snashall said there were “hints” the stones could be buried in the landscape.
“In the field that lies to the south we know there’s a standing stone which is now the only standing stone, now fallen, that you can go up to and touch in the whole of the Stonehenge landscape,” he said.
“It’s called the Cuckoo Stone.
“If there are stones beneath the bank… they’re probably looking at stones of pretty much the same size as the Cuckoo Stone.”
Dr Snashall added there was a “sense” of an area set aside for the living and another for the dead at Durrington Walls – and that had changed over time.
“This gives us a a whole new phase that shows us that has started within 40 years of the site going out of use, or even less than that,” he said.
The findings are being announced later on the first day of the British Science Festival being held at the University of Bradford.
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Mystery surrounds this 5,000 year old monument in the centre of the World Heritage Site. Visit this prehistoric South West site near Salisbury in Wiltshire, and decide for yourself whether Stonehenge was a place of sun worship, a healing sanctuary, a sacred burial site, or something different altogether!
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