Stonehenge News. Read all about it!

10 10 2012
Once again Stonehenge and Wiltshire is in the spotlight.  The recent revealing 3D laser resilts have uncovered some fascinating facts.  Stonehenge is being talked about across the world which can only be good for South West toursim.  Here is a small selection of Stonehenge Newslinks:

Stonehenge secrets revealed by laser scan
BBC News
Researchers using laser technology at Stonehenge have uncovered evidence which they say shows the importance of the midwinter sunset to its creators. The scan by English Heritage showed significant differences in how various stones were shaped and
 

BBC News
Stonehenge dressed to impress
Stuff.co.nz
A cutting-edge laser scan of Stonehenge has shown how Britain’s enigmatic neolithic monument was built to enhance the dramatic passage of sunlight through the circle of stones at midsummer and midwinter. The slabs were intended to appear at their best 
 
Stonehenge was an ‘art gallery’ suggests new study
TNT Magazine
Laser scans have revealed prehistoric carvings of axe heads, which are invisible to the naked eye. The surface of the 83 remaining stones was scanned using state-of-the-art 3D scanners. These recorded using billions of points of microtopographically. 

TNT Magazine
New Stonehenge secrets revealed
Evening Standard
Professor Clive Ruggles, emeritus professor of achaeo-astronomy at University of Leicester, said: “This extraordinary new evidence not only confirms the importance of the solstitial alignment at Stonehenge, but also show unequivocally that the formal  
Revealed: Early Bronze Age carvings suggest Stonehenge was a huge prehistoric art gallery
Stonehenge News Blog
A detailed laser-scan survey of the entire monument has discovered 72 previously unknown Early Bronze Age carvings chipped into five of the giant stones.

Evening Standard
Lasers find secrets of Stonehenge
This is Bath
They’ve dug under it, mapped it, photographed it and dated it, but a new laser scan of Stonehengehas told scientists even more things they didn’t already know about the ancient Wiltshire monument – including which way the monument ‘faced’. The scan  
The story of British art
The Guardian
From the earliest evocative stone structures at Skara Brae and Stonehenge to the disturbing 20th-century portraits by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, the art inspired by the British isles tells a truly spectacular story. Through painting, sculpture  
Midwinter Sun Link to Stonehenge – ITV News
Read Midwinter Sun Link to Stonehenge latest on ITV News. All the Tuesday 9th October 2012 news.#
Midwinter sun linked to Stonehenge – Stonehnege Tours. The latest 3D laser technology has revealed new evidence of the importance of the midwinter sunset to the ancient creators of Stonehenge. 
Laser uncovers new Stonehenge evidence (From Salisbury Journal)
NEW evidence to suggest the importance of the solstices at Stonehenge to its creators has been discovered by English Heritage. A 3D laser scan was used to 
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Stonehenge – New Evidence for its Solstitial Function and Approach

9 10 2012

Using the latest 3D laser scanning technology, an English Heritage analysis of Stonehenge has found new evidence of the importance of the two solstices to its creators, including that of the midwinter sunset.

Approach and View from North East Important
The laser scan has revealed significant differences in the way the stones were shaped and worked. These differences show that Stonehenge was not only aligned with the solstices, but that the view of the monument from the Avenue, its ancient processional way to the north east, was particularly important. To approach and view the stone circle from this direction means that the midwinter sunset had special meaning to prehistoric people, and that they made deliberate efforts to create a dramatic spectacle for those approaching the monument from the north east.

The view of Stonehenge as seen from the north east, a view now found to be most important to the creators.

The view of Stonehenge as seen from the north east, a view now found to be most important to the creators.

Stones in the North East Segment Larger and More Uniform

A detailed analysis of the first comprehensive laser survey of Stonehenge reveals that those stones on the outer sarsen circle visible when approaching from the north east have been completely pick dressed – that is, the brown and grey crust on the surface has been removed exposing a fine, bright grey-white surface. By contrast, the outer faces of surviving uprights in the south-western segment of the circle were not pick dressed.

These stones facing north-east are also the largest and most uniform in shape, unlike the south-western segment of the monument where there are several smaller and more irregular stones. The lintels are also exceedingly well worked and finished, compared to those that survive elsewhere in the monument.

Stones on Solstitial Axis most Carefully Shaped and Dressed

The study also shows that the techniques and amounts of labour used vary from stone to stone. These variations provide almost definitive proof that it was the intent of Stonehenge’s builders to align the monument with the two solstices along a north-east/south-west axis.

The sides of the stones that flanked the solstice axis were found to have been most carefully worked to form very straight and narrow rectangular slots. These stones include two of the north-east facing sarsens in the outer circle, the Great Trilithon in the inner sarsen horseshoe, and a now isolated upright stone in the south-west segment of the outer circle.

Since all other stones have visibly more natural, less neat outlines, this strongly suggests that special effort was made to dress those that flank the NE/SW axis to allow a more dramatic and obvious passage of sunlight through the stone circle on midsummer and midwinter solstices.

Laser scan of the Great Trilithon reveals its extremely straight, neat outline and smooth surface, compared with all the other trilithons. It suggests that Stonehenge creators made deliberate efforts to shape and dress it more carefully due to its special position on the solstice axis, just as they did for other stones that flank this axis.

Laser scan of the Great Trilithon reveals its extremely straight, neat outline and smooth surface, compared with all the other trilithons. It suggests that Stonehenge creators made deliberate efforts to shape and dress it more carefully due to its special position on the solstice axis, just as they did for other stones that flank this axis.

Solstitial Alignment Currently Severed by Road to be Restored

Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge Director at English Heritage, said: “The new presentation of Stonehenge will enable visitors to appreciate the importance of the solstitial alignment far better. It’s why we are closing the A344 – which severs the alignment – to enable the stone circle to be reunited with the Avenue.”

The new Stonehenge visitor centre at Airman’s Corner, 1.5 miles west and out of sight of Stonehenge, is scheduled to open in late 2013.

Findings Exceed Expectations

Analysis of the laser scan has also led to the discovery of many more prehistoric carvings, including 71 new Bronze Age axeheads, which bring the number of this type of carvings known at Stonehenge to 115.

Susan Greaney, Senior Properties Historian at English Heritage, said: “We didn’t expect the results to be so revealing about the architecture of Stonehenge. It has given further scientific basis to the theory of the solstitial alignment and the importance of the approach to the monument from the Avenue in mid winter.

“Analysis of the different techniques used to dress the stones may even help to refine the chronology of the construction. Disappointing to some, the scan has also ruled out many poorly defined lines and hollows previously thought to be possible prehistoric carvings.”

English Heritage commissioned the first comprehensive laser survey on Stonehenge in 2011. Archaeological analysis was then carried out to examine the high-resolution data that was produced for all the stone surfaces.

Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/about/news/stonehenge-solstitial-function/

Blog sponsored bt ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ www.StonehengeTour.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge up close: digital laser scan reveals secrets of the past

9 10 2012

Most detailed analysis yet of prehistoric stone circle shows how masons spent more time making key areas look the best

Like any corner-cutting modern builder, the ancient stonemasons who built Stonehenge lavished the most work and best materials where they would be first seen –shining in the last light of the setting winter solstice sun, or at dawn on the longest day.

Stonehenge: a digital laser scan has revealed tool marks from 4,500 years ago, and graffiti made by Victorian visitors. Photograph: Yoshihiro Takada/Corbis

Stonehenge: a digital laser scan has revealed tool marks from 4,500 years ago, and graffiti made by Victorian visitors. Photograph: Yoshihiro Takada/Corbis

The first complete 3D laser scan of the stone circle has also revealed tool marks made 4,500 years ago, scores of little axehead graffiti added when the enormous slabs were already 1,000 years old, and damage and graffiti contributed by Georgian and Victorian visitors.

The survey, carried out for English Heritage, exposes numerous details now invisible to the naked eye and will be used in displays for the long-awaited new visitor centre, due to open late next year. It shows the stones in unprecedented precision, from the double-decker bus height sarsens from Salisbury Plain that give the monument its unmistakable profile, to the smaller bluestones brought from west Wales by means still hotly debated, and the stumps of stones that have almost been destroyed.

It also confirms the importance of the prehistoric monument’s alignment on the winter and summer solstice. The largest, most uniform and most imposing stones, carefully shaped and dressed through hundreds of hours of work with stone hammers, were set where they would be seen first by people approaching the monument from north-east along the Avenue, a processional way that would have been particularly spectacular at the midwinter sunset.

In an epic piece of work, the stones facing in that direction were laboriously shaped to appear straight and regular, their original rough brown surfaces hammered away, or pick-dressed, to expose the lighter inner layer of stone, which when newly worked would have shone in the sunlight. The gigantic lintels that bridge the uprights were also elaborately worked to even their size and height.

In contrast, on the opposite side of the circle the builders only bothered to pick-dress the inner faces of the surviving uprights. The backs, they clearly reckoned, would never be studied in detail.

Clive Ruggles, emeritus professor of archaeoastronomy at the University of Leicester, said it was already clear that Stonehenge was one of the earliest examples of a monument aligned on the winter and summer solstices.

“Now we can see how the utmost care and attention was devoted to ensuring the pristine appearance of Stonehenge for those completing their final approach to the monument along the solstitial axis. The effect would have been especially powerful at the two times of year when the sunlight itself shone along the alignment – when those approaching had the midsummer rising sun behind or the midwinter setting sun ahead.”

Some hollows, cracks and lines interpreted in the past as carvings have been revealed as natural features, but what astonished Susan Greaney, an English Heritage historian and expert on Stonehenge, is the extent of surviving tool marks.

“Some are quite visible, and have long been noted, but the surprise to me was that everywhere we looked, on every surface, even on very weathered faces of stones which have been lying on the ground for centuries, we could see evidence of the stone working. On some you can see where different groups worked on different areas of the same stone – and with varying skills.”

Long after the monument was built, when Bronze Age burial mounds rich in grave goods began to be scattered across the plain around Stonehenge, and the archaeological evidence suggests those who could make or trade in metal goods had an almost shamanic status, people carved little images of daggers and axes, many now invisible to the naked eye, into the stones. Scores more have been revealed by the scan, including 71 new axe heads, bringing the total to 115 – doubling the number ever recorded in Britain.

“It is wonderful to have discovered so many more, but what is fascinating is that they are carved without regard to the importance or the siting of the stones – almost as if the people who carved them could no longer quite remember the significance of the monument and how it worked,” Greaney said.

Writing about the project in the new issue of British Archaeology, Marcus Abbott, head of geomatics and visualisation for ArcHeritage, and Hugo Anderson-Whymark, an Oxford based expert on ancient worked stone, note that the 850 gigabytes of data covering hundreds of faces of the stones were equivalent to 750m pages of printed text or 200,000 music files.

“Over the months we have recorded and scrutinised every square centimetre of Stonehenge in unparalleled detail, revealing over 700 areas of stoneworking, rock art, graffiti, damage and restoration.”

They processed the data digitally to strip away weathering and surface texture, and as well as revealing carved details, were able to show that some stones that now appear insignificant were originally much more imposing, but have either broken naturally or been quarried for building stone.

“Fallen stones were particularly vulnerable – the analysis suggests that six have lost tens of tons of stone – and as Stonehenge became a major tourist attraction in the 19th century visitors could actually hire chisels to hack away their own souvenirs.

For Greaney their work answers one of the Stonehenge mysteries – but leaves another unsolved. Some had suggested because some stones are so much less imposing and others are missing, that Stonehenge was never finished.

“I think we can say now that the monument certainly was finished – but where the stone went is still a puzzle. At Avebury you can readily see stone reused in nearby buildings from medieval times on, but Stonehenge is some distance from the nearest village, so it’s much less easy to see where the stone would have been taken – although we have looked far and wide, we have not succeeded in finding evidence of the re-use of the missing stones.”
Source: Maev Kennedy The Guardian,       

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

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle News Blog

 





The Solstice connection. Laser scanning uncovers new Stonehenge evidence.

8 10 2012

English Heritage experts have used 3D laser scanning technology to discover new evidence of the importance of the two solstices to its creators.
The laser scan has revealed significant differences in the way the stones were shaped and worked. These differences show that Laser scanning uncovers new Stonehenge evidence Stonehenge was not only aligned with the solstices, but that the view of the monument from the Avenue, its ancient processional way to the north east, was particularly important.

To approach and view the stone circle from this direction means that the midwinter sunset had special meaning to prehistoric people, and that they made deliberate efforts to create a dramatic spectacle for those approaching the monument from the north east.
A detailed analysis of the first comprehensive laser survey of Stonehenge reveals that those stones on the outer sarsen circle visible when approaching from the north east have been completely pick dressed – that is, the brown and grey crust on the surface has been removed exposing a fine, bright grey-white surface. By contrast, the outer faces of surviving uprights in the south-western segment of the circle were not pick dressed.
These stones facing north-east are also the largest and most uniform in shape, unlike the south-western segment of the monument where there are several smaller and more irregular stones. The lintels are also exceedingly well worked and finished, compared to those that survive elsewhere in the monument.
The study also shows that the techniques and amounts of labour used vary from stone to stone. These variations provide almost definitive proof that it was the intent of Stonehenge’s builders to align the monument with the two solstices along a NE/SW axis.
The sides of the stones that flanked the solstice axis were found to have been most carefully worked to form very straight and narrow rectangular slots. These stones include two of the north-east facing sarsens in the outer circle, the Great Trilithon in the inner sarsen horseshoe, and a now isolated upright stone in the south-west segment of the outer circle.
Since all other stones have visibly more natural, less neat outlines, this strongly suggests that special effort was made to dress those that flank the NE/SW axis to allow a more dramatic and obvious passage of sunlight through the stone circle on midsummer and midwinter solstices.
Professor Clive Ruggles, Emeritus Professor of Archaeo-astronomy at University of Leicester, said: “This extraordinary new evidence not only confirms the importance of the solstitial alignment at Stonehenge, but also shows unequivocally that the formal approach was always intended to be from the north-east, up the Avenue towards the direction of midwinter sunset.

“We see how the utmost care and attention was devoted to ensuring the pristine appearance of Stonehenge for those completing their final approach to the monument at the two times of the year when sunlight shines along the alignment – when those approaching had the midsummer rising sun behind or the midwinter setting sun ahead.”

Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge Director at English Heritage, said: “The new presentation of Stonehenge will enable visitors to appreciate the importance of the solstitial alignment far better. It’s why we are closing the A344 – which severs the alignment – to enable the stone circle to be reunited with the Avenue.”

The new Stonehenge visitor centre at Airman’s Corner, 1.5 miles west and out of sight of Stonehenge, is scheduled to open in late 2013.

Analysis of the laser scan has also led to the discovery of many more prehistoric carvings, including 71 new Bronze Age axeheads, which bring the number of this type of carvings known in Stonehenge to 115.

Susan Greaney, Senior Properties Historian at English Heritage, said: “We didn’t expect the results of a laser scan to be so revealing about the architecture of Stonehenge and its function.”

English Heritage commissioned the first comprehensive laser survey on Stonehenge in 2011. Archaeological analysis was then carried out to examine the high-resolution data that was produced for all the stone surfaces.

Link Source:http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/news/9971558.Laser_scanning_uncovers_new_Stonehenge_evidence/?ref=twtrec
Link: High definition surveying. Laser scanning to 3D models & 2D drawing www.terrainsurveys.co.uk/
Link: https://blog.stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk/2011/09/16/3d-stonehenge-model-unveiled/
Link: https://blog.stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk/2011/03/10/laser-scan-for-stonehenge-secrets/

Sponsored by ‘Stonehnege Guided Tours’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





The ‘Stonehenge giant’ statue is put up for ren

25 09 2012

A seven-tonne steel statue, erected at Stonehenge each year to mark the summer solstice, is to be rented out.

The 22ft (6.70m) figure, known as the Ancestor, cost more than £35,000 and took nine months to build.

The Ancestor is over 20ft tall and weighs more than seven tonnes

The Ancestor is over 20ft tall and weighs more than seven tonnes

But its creators, Andy Rawlings and Michelle Topps, have been unable to sell it and now want to rent the statue out for festivals and events.

Mr Rawlings said: “We haven’t seen a penny for him so now we need the Ancestor to be working for us.”

The monumental statue with “head thrown back and arms open wide” made its debut at the summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge in 2010.

And until recently, the “Big Man” had a prominent position outside the Holiday Inn on the A303 at Solstice Park in Amesbury.

Now it is back at the couple’s workshop undergoing refurbishment and “some anti-rust treatment”.

“He’s actually cost us closer to £40,000 – he’s had a new arm and we were paying for the insurance on having him outside the Holiday Inn,” said Mr Rawlings.

“It’s all costing us and we really need him [the Ancestor] to pay for himself now.”

Created out of thousands of hand-cut pieces of steel welded to a steel frame, the statue can – according to Mr Rawlings – be “easily” dismantled and loaded on to a 7.5 tonne lorry.

‘Easy to assemble’

“People don’t realise how easy he is to assemble and just how moveable he is,” said Mr Rawlings.

“With a crane-assisted lorry, two people can do it in a couple of hours.

“And we really like the idea of renting him out – either for a day or long-term – and taking him to festivals or places like Landsend, Blackpool or even football clubs.

“And he’ll be back for the summer solstice at Stonehenge again next year.”

Refurbishment is expected to be completed within the next couple of months, after which the Ancestor will be available to hire.

Link source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-19697900

Blog sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ www.StonehengeTours.com

The Stonehenge News Blog





Health and Safety Laws Threaten Access to Stonehenge

1 04 2012

English Heritage have announced that access into the inner circle of Stonehenge is to be restricted and future visitors must wear hard hats at all time.
Risk assessmentIs Stonehenge Safe ?
Health and safety officers announced:
“If there is a a chance that an object could strike or fall on the heads of persons, they MUST wear a hard hat. Employers are required to take every possible measure to make sure that persons in their employment wears a hard hat and any visitors entering the inner circle during ‘special access’ or ‘open access’ must wear them”

Is Stonehenge safe to walk around ?
It’s not surprising when many thousand year old megalithic structures without deep roots and only minimally interlocking joints eventually fall over as they are undermined.
There definitely has been ground erosion. IIRC, the stones are gently sinking into the soil, year by year. There’s also a major road nearby which is causing both vibration and air pollution problems. The stones have also had acid rain erosion problems.
Potential falling rocks. 
Parts of Stonehenge certainly have fallen over in the past.

  • Stone 22 and a lintel – both in the outer circle – fell on 31st December 1900.
  • In the central horseshoe of 5 trilithon pairs, 57-58 and their lintel fell over in 1797, but were restored in 1958.
  • Stone 23 keeled over in 1963, which is the last major collapse.

High Visibility Jackets is not enough.

Security guards already wear high visibility jackets, however this does not provide adequate protection and the contractors are currenty at risk. Staff and visitors would be exposed to objects falling from a height.

Peter Carson said yesterday “Eliminating the risk would be better than issuing a PPE!”

The English Heritage recommend the wearing of Hi-Vis jackets and hard hats will be sold in the visitor center from 1st May 2012 (approx. £2.99)

Summer Solstice Celebraions Dangers
This announcement will effect the Summer Solstice celebrations and future ‘open access’ visits. This has angered local pagan communities. English Heritage will not be supplying hard hats ‘free of charge’ and will not allow entry without them.

No hard hats at Stonehenge petition

No hard hats at Stonehenge petition

Arthur Pendragon Campaign
Local Druid Arthur was outraged to hear the news and is convinced this is just a ploy by English Heritage and Wiltshire Police to prevent future ‘open access’ to the monument.

He quoted “Sikhs in Great Britain can ride motorcycles without helmets; so we are campaigning for the right not to wear hard hats inside Stonehenge and other Stone Circles”

 

Merlin says ” APRIL FOOL!”

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Stonehenge 3D app launched for 2012

10 01 2012

Stonehenge Solstice? There’s an app for that – Stonehenge Experience lets you explore 3D site in peace

Pulling across screen lets you explore site in 3D
Can ‘walk through’ the fenced-off area around stones
Lets you ‘dig up’ relics such as the Amesbury Archer

On the Winter Solstice, the stones at Stonehenge align perfectly with the sun. ‘Pagan’ worshippers gathered this year – as they do every year – at Salisbury Plain to mark the occasion.

The application offers virtual 3D 'tours' of the site - but also lets you 'dig through' layers of artefacts such as the gold breastplate found at the site

The application offers virtual 3D 'tours' of the site - but also lets you 'dig through' layers of artefacts such as the gold breastplate found at the site

But those of us who missed it can explore Stonehenge in considerably more comfort – and detail – using a new iPhone and iPad app, the Stonehenge Experience.

The app not only lets users explore Stonehenge in 3D, but also lets you ‘rub’ the screen to reveal different layers of prehistoric artefacts from the site – and recreates the sounds of when Stonehenge was constructed.

The site uses 3D digital ‘models’ so users can do things that visitors simply can’t – such as excavating down through layers of the site to reveal artefacts such as a ‘flesh hook’ and a solid gold breast plate found at the site.

All the 3D views of the site can be controlled via pinching and zooming on screen to let you ‘walk’ through Stonehenge – without the fences that usually keep visitors far from the stones.

You can stand in the middle of the stones, and an ‘acoustic model’ also captures what it sounds like to stand there.

Rupter Till of Huddersfield University – who ‘modelled’ the sounds of the app, said,

‘Creating the sound of Stonehenge as it was when it was first built was a really interesting challenge. When put together with the Ribui app it makes for an absorbing immersive experience and allows people to see and hear Stonehenge as it was five thousand years ago.’

The app incorporates some of the latest archaeological findings, providing you with up to date explanations of the site’s purpose, based on  respected academic theory.

The Stonehenge Experience works on the iPhone 3GS and later and the iPad

The app incorporates some of the latest archaeological findings, providing you with up to date explanations of the site’s purpose, based on  respected academic theory.

The Stonehenge Experience works on the iPhone 3GS and later and the iPad

This year will see mpre than one Stonehenge app being launcehed – watch this space for details.

Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2077499/Missed-Winter-Solstice-Theres-app–Stonehenge-Experience-lets-explore-peace.html

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

Merlin says: “Novel idea, however you cant beat physically walking the Stonehenge landscape at sunrise or sunset with an expert local guide”

Merlin @ Stonehenge Stone Circle








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