18,000 gather at a cloudy Stonehenge for all-night summer solstice party

22 06 2011

Tens of thousands of revellers gathered at Stonehenge for an all-night party to celebrate the longest day of the year this morning – despite grey clouds that obscured the sunrise.

Here comes the sun: Revellers cheer as the sun finally breaks through the clouds, more than a couple of hours after daybreak

Here comes the sun: Revellers cheer as the sun finally breaks through the clouds, more than a couple of hours after daybreak

English Heritage say 18,000 revellers descended on the site that is usually roped off to the public to witness dawn at exactly 4.43am. The event is significant for druids, who were joined by hippies, pagans and tourists as well as hordes of younger visitors in search of a good party.

However the number of people who camped out overnight or arrived early to witness the dawn was down on previous years because of the poor weather and the solstice falling on a weekday.

There was no beautiful sunrise into clear blue skies – heavy overnight rain gave way to overcast but dry skies as the sun rose, greeted by cheering and applause.

The self-styled King Arthur Pendragon, the veteran druid who led the event, said it had passed off smoothly.

‘We didn’t get a great sunrise but it was dry,’ he said. ‘Everyone seems happy with the result.

‘It is great to see the stones being used in this way, as opposed to the usual manner with tourists being herded around.’

Stonehenge, which is between 4,000 and 5,000 years old, has in past years been the site of confrontations between revellers and police.

But Superintendent Gavin Williams, of Wiltshire Police, said the majority of the crowd this year were well-behaved and ‘came to see the sunrise in the spirit of the event’, which was policed in the same way as night spots in the county. However, two men were photographed fighting at the event.

Of the 20 arrests, 11 were for drugs offences and five for public

Mr Williams said: ‘Although it was disappointing that some individuals chose to bring drugs with them, they were dealt with robustly.’

English Heritage, which manages the Stonehenge site on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, said the atmosphere had been ‘peaceful and good natured’.

The annual event is a modern take on solstice celebrations which were once a highlight of the pre-Christian calendar. Celebrations focus on the Heelstone, which sits just outside the main circle, and is aligned with the midsummer sunrise.

The solstice is one of the few times access is granted inside the stone circle, which has been roped off since 1978 following years of erosion and vandalism.

Stonehenge’s origins remain a mystery, but one theory is that it is a huge astronomical calendar. Others say an ancient sun-worshipping culture aligned the structure with the midsummer sunrise and the midwinter sunset.

The World Heritage site was used as a cremation cemetery since its inception, archaeologists say, but it is unclear if that was its principal function.

It was build in three phases, with stones brought from up to 150 miles away, between 3000 BC and 1600 BC

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2006112/Summer-solstice-18-000-gather-cloudy-Stonehenge-night-party.html

Sponsored by the Stonehenge Tour Company – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle website





Stonehenge Summer Solstice advice for drivers – 2011

15 06 2011

Traffic on the A303 at Stonehenge is expected to be very busy on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st June during the summer solstice celebrations.
A303 Stonehenge trafficPeople travelling to Stonehenge are advised to use public transport where possible. People arriving by car and through traffic on the A303 are advised to allow longer for their journeys.

Motorists can get up-to-the-minute advice about roadworks and travelling conditions by visiting the Highways Agency website www.highways.gov.uk, or telephone the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000 at any time. Calls from landlines to 0300 and 08700 numbers can cost up to 8p per minute but are free from some landline providers: calls from mobiles usually cost more.

Before using any mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency. Make sure it’s safe and legal before you call.

http://www.hgvuk.com/06/15/stonehenge-summer-solstice-advice-for-drivers/

Follow Stonehenge on twitter for all the latest news and updates during the solstice celebrations:  http:www.TWITTER.COM/ST0NEHENGE.COM

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

 





Secrets of the Stones

30 05 2011

As the summer solstice will soon see thousands gather at Stonehenge, an archaeologist discusses his belief that the Wiltshire monument is evidence of a great civilisation which once thrived there

Sunrise at Stonehenge - June 21st

Sunrise at Stonehenge - June 21st

IN three weeks’ time, thousands of devotees will gather in the dark in a field in Wiltshire. They do this every year and each time their number grows.

They are there to celebrate the midsummer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and will wait until daybreak when the sun sends a piercing ray of light through Stonehenge, the ancient ruin they have come to venerate.

This primordial circle of stones, eight miles north of Salisbury in Wiltshire, exerts an extraordinary power over the people of Britain.

Some, like the Druids, claim it is the source of a mystical power while others, curious but sceptical, believe it to be the site of an ancient monument that has no relevance to the way we live today.

Whatever their conviction they are all missing the point according to one man who has studied the location for 30 years and believes he knows the real reason why Stonehenge is so special.

“Stonehenge is unique; it is already recognised as a World Heritage Site but it’s more than just an ancient curiosity, it is the place where civilisation began,” says writer and archaeologist Robert John Langdon.

“It’s simply the most amazing place in the world and we should all be celebrating the meaning of this incredible place.”

Robert fell under the spell of Stonehenge as a boy. He explored the massive stone monoliths and was intrigued by the official explanation of their origin. As the years passed and he learned more he was puzzled by contradictions in official explanation of its origins.

“The carbon dating of the stones is not consistent. I have discovered that stone post holes in what is now the car park for the site predate the accepted date for Stonehenge by 5,000 years. If this evidence is accepted, and it has been denied for years, it turns the conventional history of Stonehenge, and the rest of the world for that matter, on its head.”

If Robert is right, and he says he has the scientific evidence to prove he is, Stonehenge is the most important archaeological site in the world. It would mean Salisbury Plain is home to the first and most significant civilisation on earth. So how could this have happened?

“The geography and landscape of the site would have been very different. Britain would have been emerging from the last Ice Age, so much of the country we now recognise would have been under water. Stonehenge would have been on an estuary that led to the open sea. Too many important facts have been ignored,” says Robert.

“There is evidence that water was close, but that has been classified as a moat which I believe is wrong. It is also believed the stones were dragged over land from Wales which is misleading.

“The large sarsen stones came from an area close to Avebury which is not far from Stonehenge.  To have brought them overland all the way from Wales takes no account of the fact that according to the official time scale Salisbury Plain at that time would have been heavily forested which would have made that access all but impossible. The bluestones, which are the key to the secret of Stonehenge, were smaller and did come from Wales but they were brought there by boat.”

Robert’s hypothesis is based on his conviction that the men who built Stonehenge were much more skilled and sophisticated than is currently believed. In 10,000 BC, the Mesolithic period, he believes that men in ancient Britain developed the first recognisable civilisation and that Stonehenge was their greatest achievement.

“These were extremely capable people who found a way of drilling into stone and used sophisticated mortice and tenon joints to erect Stonehenge but most importantly they mastered the seas. These boat people, as we can call them, travelled widely and traded and these are the people I believe that Plato referred to in his writings on the origins of civilisation.”

So why did these people make such an effort to build Stonehenge? what was it intended to do?

“Stonehenge was accessible to boat people from  all over Europe and Mesolithic men and women came there to be cured of their ailments and to depart from this world. The alignment of the site to the sun and the moon is immensely significant but so is the presence of the bluestones in the circle.

“Bluestone turns blue in water, and was believed to have incredible powers of healing. Evidence from bones found close to Stonehenge suggests that the original inhabitants practised sophisticated medical procedures which included dentistry, limb removal and even brain surgery.

“These were not the fur-clad hunter gatherers living in mud huts that many mistakenly believe were the builders of Stonehenge. They were instead members of a great civilisation that moved out, leaving Stonehenge as the only surviving physical evidence of their genius.”

If Robert Langdon is right Stonehenge is much older than the Pyramids and there is a surprising connection between the two ancient stone monuments.

“Over the centuries the climate and landscape in Britain changed. Mesolithic men used their seafaring skills to move to a more sympathetic environment. They traded widely and sailed south to what is now the Mediterranean and moved in along the coast from Egypt to Greece and Italy. The ancient Egyptians’ skill at engineering and building with stone had its roots in the lessons learnt by the men who built Stonehenge.”

It is not only archaeologists with a theory about the significance of Stonehenge. The Druids regard it as a sacred place where they perform spiritual rituals.

Robert says: “I don’t have any disputes with the Druids and they don’t seem to mind me. I’ll be rubbing shoulders with lots of them at the midsummer solstice. The Druids may well have their beliefs but they came on the Stonehenge scene very late in the day.

“They would have discovered the site as an ancient and abandoned temple and taken it over but that’s all right. I get on pretty well with other archaeologists too although they do tend to dismiss my work, but that’s their loss. Stonehenge has a special hold on me and the more I learn about it the more fascinated I become. I’m already working on a new book which I think will ruffle quite a lot of feathers.

“In a sense what we know as Stonehenge is almost the foundations of a much bigger edifice. Stonehenge is, despite all the myths that have been fostered, a very special place. It is, I believe, the birthplace of civilisation and we all ought to give it the respect that it really deserves.”

Article from The Express Newspaper
Sponosred by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Compant’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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