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.

http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk


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’ – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge. Henge Diggers – Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum

8 09 2012

Saturday 8 September 2012 – Saturday 12 January 2013. This photographic exhibition captures the actions and emotions of archaeologists from universities across Britain whilst they carried out ground-breaking new work to reinterpret the Stonehenge landscape.  Bill Bevan was resident photographer on site for three years during the excavations of the internationally important Stonehenge Riverside Project (2004-2010).  His photographs and the accompanying text offer the visitor an unusual and revealing vantage point from which to view the archaeologists at work. 

Stonehenge Riverside Project is a joint collaboration between archaeologists at the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester, Bristol, UCL and Bournemouth.   This exhibition has been funded by Arts Council England and Manchester University in partnership with Salisbury Museum.

Henge Diggers

An exhibition of how archaeologists work on-site, Themes of the exhibition include the working practices of archaeologists, the brief deposition of tools that mimic the ancient tool deposits they excavate, the repetitive nature of excavation and notions of time and space. All photographs are from the Stonehenge Riverside Project. Thank you to the directors of the project for generously given access to the excavations. More information about the project can be found here –www.shef.ac.uk/archaeology/research/stonehenge

Check out http://www.billbevanphotography.co.uk/ for more information about Bill’s projects.

picture credit: In The Shadow 1 by Bill Bevan, 95 x 70 cms, (c) Bill Bevan


Booking:  No booking required.


 

 

Sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says: “Went today with the kids, well worth a visit!”

Merlin @ Stonehenge Stone Circle
The Stonehenge News Blog

 

 





Stonehenge was built to unify Britain, researchers conclude

22 06 2012

Building Stonehenge was a way to unify the people of Stone Age Britain, researchers have concluded.
Teams working on the Stonehenge Riverside Project believe the circle was built after a long period of conflict between east and west Britain.

 Researchers believe Stonehenge was built in the "centre of the world" for prehistoric peopl


Researchers believe Stonehenge was built in the “centre of the world” for prehistoric peopl

Researchers also believe the stones, from southern England and west Wales, symbolize different communities.

Prof Mike Parker Pearson said building Stonehenge required everyone “to pull together” in “an act of unification”.

The Stonehenge Riverside Project (SRP) has been investigating the archaeology of Stonehenge and its landscape for the past 10 years.

In 2008, SRP researchers found that Stonehenge had been erected almost 500 years earlier than had originally been thought.

Now teams from the universities of Sheffield, Manch

ester, Southampton, Bournemouth and University College London, have concluded that when the stone circle was built “there was a growing island-wide culture”.

“Stonehenge appears to have been the last gasp of this Stone Age culture”

Professor Mike Parker PearsonUniversity of Sheffield

“The same styles of houses, pottery and other material forms were used from Orkney to the south coast – this was very different to the regionalism of previous centuries,” said Prof Parker Pearson, from University of Sheffield.

“Stonehenge itself was a massive undertaking, requiring the labour of thousands to move stones from as far away as west Wales, shaping them and erecting them.

“Just the work itself, requiring everyone literally to pull together, would have been an act of unification.”

Stonehenge may also have been built in a place that already had special significance for prehistoric Britons

‘Centre of the world’

The SRP team found that its solstice-aligned avenue sits upon a series of natural landforms that, by chance, form an axis between the directions of midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset.

“When we stumbled across this extraordinary natural arrangement of the sun’s path being marked in the land, we realised that prehistoric people selected this place to build Stonehenge because of its pre-ordained significance,” said Mr Parker Pearson.

“This might explain why there are eight monuments in the Stonehenge area with solstitial alignments, a number unmatched anywhere else.

“Perhaps they saw this place as the centre of the world”.

Previous theories suggesting the great stone circle was inspired by ancient Egyptians or extra-terrestrials have been firmly rejected by researchers.

“All the architectural influences for Stonehenge can be found in previous monuments and buildings within Britain, with origins in Wales and Scotland,” said Mr Parker Pearson.

“In fact, Britain’s Neolithic people were isolated from the rest of Europe for centuries.

“Britain may have become unified but there was no interest in interacting with people across the Channel.

“Stonehenge appears to have been the last gasp of this Stone Age culture, which was isolated from Europe and from the new technologies of metal tools and the wheel.”

Link source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-18550513

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com
Merlin @ Stonehenge





Hidden dimension of Stonehenge revealed

8 12 2011

A project directed by academics at the University of Sheffield has made the archaeology of the world-famous Stonehenge site more accessible than ever before.

StonehengeGoogle Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge is the first application of its kind to transport users around a virtual prehistoric landscape, exploring the magnificent and internationally important monument, Stonehenge.

The application used data gathered from the University of Sheffield´s Stonehenge Riverside Project in conjunction with colleagues from the universities of Manchester, Bristol, Southampton and London. The application was developed by Bournemouth University archaeologists, adding layers of archaeological information to Google Earth to create Google Under-the-Earth.

The unique visual experience lets users interact with the past like never before. Highlights include taking a visit to the Neolithic village of Durrington Walls and a trip inside a prehistoric house. Users also have the opportunity to see reconstructions of Bluestonehenge at the end of the Stonehenge Avenue and the great timber monument called the Southern Circle, as they would have looked more than 4,000 years ago.

The project is funded through Google Research Awards, a program which fosters relationships between Google and the academic world as part of Google’s ambition to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Professor Mike Parker-Pearson from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology said: “Google Under Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge is part of a much wider project led by myself and colleagues at other universities – the Stonehenge Riverside Project – which began in 2003. This new Google application is exciting because it will allow people around the world to explore some of the fascinating discoveries we’ve made in and around Stonehenge over the past few years.”

Archaeological scientist Dr Kate Welham, project leader at Bournemouth University, explained that the project could also be the start of something much bigger:

“It is envisaged that Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge could be the start of a new layer in Google Earth. Many of the world’s great archaeological sites could be added, incorporating details of centuries’ worth of excavations as well as technical data from geophysical and remote sensing surveys in the last 20 years.” she said.

Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist at Stonehenge said: “The National Trust cares for over 2,000 acres of the Stonehenge Landscape. Seeing Beneath Stonehenge offers exciting and innovative ways for people to explore that landscape. It will allow people across the globe, many of whom may never otherwise have the chance to visit the sites, to share in the thrill of the discoveries made by the Stonehenge Riverside team and to appreciate the remarkable achievements of the people who built and used the monuments.”

You can download the application from the Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge site. The tool is easy to use and requires Google Earth to be installed on your computer.

Notes for Editors:
Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge was created at Bournemouth University by Dr Kate Welham, Mark Dover, Harry Manley and Lawrence Shaw. It is jointly directed by Dr Kate Welham and Professor Mike Parker Pearson at the University of Sheffield.

To find out more about the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology, visit: Department of Archaeology

The Stonehenge Riverside Project was a joint collaboration between Universities of Bournemouth, Bristol, Manchester, Sheffield and University College London. It was led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson, University of Sheffield, and co-directed by Professor Julian Thomas, University of Manchester, Dr Joshua Pollard, University of Southampton (formally University of Bristol), Dr Colin Richards, University of Manchester, Dr Chris Tilley, University College London and Dr Kate Welham, Bournemouth University.

This project has been supported by: The Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the Royal Archaeological Institute, the Society of Antiquaries, the Prehistoric Society, the McDonald Institute, Robert Kiln Charitable Trust, Andante Travel, University of Sheffield Enterprise Scheme, the British Academy, the National Geographic Society, with financial support from English Heritage and the National Trust for outreach. The project was awarded the Bob Smith Prize in 2004 and the Current Archaeology Research Project of the Year award for Bluestonehenge in 2010.
Links: www.shef.ac.uk/

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merln says: The tool is easy to use and requires Google Earth to be installed on your computer.

Melin @ Stonehenge Stone Cirle
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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