Stonehenge upgrade to finally begin

8 07 2012

Work to improve the environment of Stonehenge gets under way next week – after decades of wrangling and many millions spent on schemes and consultations that came to nothing

The A344 is due to close in April 2013 and the new visitor centre to open in autumn 2013

The A344 is due to close in April 2013 and the new visitor centre to open in autumn 2013

“It’s the official start,” said Renée Fok of English Heritage, which manages   the World Heritage Site. “Things are finally getting done.”

The mysterious monument in Wiltshire is one of the most famous tourist sites   in the world. Each year it receives more than a million visitors, half of   them from overseas. But while the stones themselves continue to amaze,   Stonehenge’s setting and facilities have come in for withering criticism.   Simon Jenkins, the chairman of the National Trust, has called the site a   “national disgrace”.

The principal problem is that Stonehenge is beset by traffic and roads – the   always-busy A303, and the A344 that branches from it and passes close to the   stone circle. The car parks become overcrowded in summer and the visitor   centre is dated. Under the new scheme, which will cost £27 million, English   Heritage promises “a landscape transformed”.

The keystone of the project is the closure of the A344, part of which will be   grassed over. The existing buildings and car parks will be removed and a new   “energy-efficient” visitor centre built, with a shop, café, “education   space” and galleries. An adjacent coach and car park will be built 1½ miles   west of the stones at Airman’s Corner.

A shuttle service will take visitors to the stones, and people will have the   option of walking all or part of the way.

The scheme has received cautious approval. Nigel Swift, the chairman of   Heritage Action, which is dedicated to the conservation of Britain’s   prehistoric sites, expressed “sheer relief and gratitude that a nightmare   that has lasted for many decades is over”.

Frank Somers of the Amesbury and Stonehenge Druids, who regard the site as a   temple, said he was “broadly happy that some improvements are finally   scheduled to happen”.

The A344 is due to close in April 2013 and the new visitor centre to open in   autumn 2013. The area of the existing buildings will be returned to grass by   the summer of the following year. Stonehenge will remain open during the   building work. For more information, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/stonehenge.

Aricle by By  – Telegraph

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

Merlin says “All good for wiltshire tourism”
Merlins @ Stonehenge Stone Circle





Stonehenge visitor centre preparation work begins

26 06 2012

Preparation work has begun ahead of building a new multi million-pound visitor centre near Stonehenge.

Pre-construction tests are being carried out at the site and work on the centre itself will begin next month.

The visitor centre is expected to open in autumn 2013

The visitor centre is expected to open in autumn 2013

The tests aim to see if a ground water source can provide sufficient drinking water and energy for a year-round heating/cooling system for the centre.The centre, about a mile-and-a-half (2.4km) west of the prehistoric stones, is expected to open in autumn 2013.

A Grade-II listed Airman’s Cross memorial at nearby Airman’s Corner will be re-sited in the grounds of the centre.

Link source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-18590301

Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/our-plans/

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

Merlin @ Stonehenge

 





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





‘Supermoon’ Alert: Biggest Full Moon of 2012 Occurs Today over Stonehenge

5 05 2012

Skywatchers take note: The biggest full moon of the year is due to arrive over Stonehenge tonight.

Situated on the edge of Salisbury Plain, the prehistoric ceremonial landscape of Stonehenge occupies a large, sparsely populated area of ancient downland ideal for star gazing and viewing the Supermoon.

Supermoon over Stonehenge

Supermoon over Stonehenge

The moon will officially become full Saturday (May 5th) at 11:35 p.m. EDT. And because this month’s full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee — its closest approach to Earth — it will also be the year’s biggest.

The moon will swing in 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) from our planet, offering skywatchers a spectacular view of an extra-big, extra-bright moon, nicknamed a supermoon.

And not only does the moon’s perigee coincide with full moon this month, but this perigee will be the nearest to Earth of any this year, as the distance of the moon’s close approach varies by about 3 percent, according to meteorologist Joe Rao, SPACE.com’s skywatching columnist. This happens because the moon’s orbit is not perfectly circular.

This month’s full moon is due to be about 16 percent brighter than average. In contrast, later this year on Nov. 28, the full moon will coincide with apogee, the moon’s farthest approach, offering a particularly small and dim full moon.

Though the unusual appearance of this month’s full moon may be surprising to some, there’s no reason for alarm, scientists warn. The slight distance difference isn’t enough to cause any earthquakes or extreme tidal effects, experts say.

However, the normal tides around the world will be particularly high and low. At perigee, the moon will exert about 42 percent more tidal force than it will during its next apogee two weeks later, Rao said.

The last supermoon occurred in March 2011.

To view this weekend’s supermoon to best effect, look for it just after it rises or before it sets, when it is close to the horizon. There, you can catch a view of the moon behind buildings or trees, an effect which produces an optical illusion, making the moon seem even larger than it really is.

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

 Merlin says “Lets hope the skies are clear – Howllllllllllllll……….”

Merlin at Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle News Blog





Prehistoric Wiltshire. Sites of Significance

1 05 2012

If you are in doubt about the key role Wiltshire plays in the long history of these Islands, and that it has done so since the time humans first set foot on our soil, this book joins the growing scholarly titles from the excellent ‘heritage; publisher Amberley Publishing will dispel it.

Prehistoric Wilsthire

Prehistoric Wilsthire

This attractive book is the latest in a successful series from the Stroud-based publisher Amberley. (Amongst others, their titles include Prehistoric Gloucestershire by Tim Darvill, and John Aubrey and Stone Circles: Britain’s First Archaeologist by Aubrey Burl.) It is well written by a knowledgeable local archaeologist in a style that is pleasingly free of jargon, and opens with a fitting tribute from Francis Pryor.

As with some other titles in the series, this pocket-sized book is specifically designed as a field guide (at 235 x 165mm it is slightly larger than A5), in this instance describing nearly 50 of the most visible and accessible prehistoric monuments within the county of Wiltshire. The selected sites are grouped by topographic region (the Marlborough Downs, the Vale of Pewsey and so on), the majority situated on the chalk uplands. All the familiar forms of earthwork from causewayed camps and long barrows to round barrow groups and hillforts are covered. Appropriately, they include the monuments of the World Heritage Site centred on Avebury and Stonehenge, but information from the latest fieldwork in those areas ensures up-to-date coverage.

An introductory section provides a brief outline of the conventional sub-divisions of later prehistory (the Mesolithic to the Iron Age). Thereafter, details are offered on how best to reach each site: although there are no maps, National Grid References and useful directions are offered. Some of the sites are on private land and hence the book judiciously warns ‘this guide does not infer rights of way’, deferring to the county’s highway authority for the latest information on footpaths and bridleways. Nonetheless, it describes what can be seen at each site from the best publicly-accessible vantage points. The entries briefly describe the history of investigation at each site and summarize current understanding of its function and date.

The book is beautifully illustrated. The majority of the figures are the author’s own fine colour photographs, although some monochrome archival images are also used where necessary. Arguably the best views are the excellent oblique aerial photographs. Their use as an invaluable aid to comprehension recalls the local tradition pioneered by O. G. S. Crawford and Alexander Keiller in their 1928 work, Wessex from the Air. Evidently, the author enlisted the help of several pilots, employing a range of micro-light and private aircraft to gain the necessary perspective. Because the book focuses on visible sites, most of the subjects are obviously upstanding earthworks. Nonetheless, the photographs include a few soil-marks, crop-marks and excavations to emphasis that even in an area which boasts some of the country’s best-known monuments, many others have been lost from normal view.

It is well known that Wiltshire contains a remarkable number of well-preserved field monuments of various forms, and hence the author is in the enviable position of being able to select the most impressive. Because of the quality and visibility of its ancient monuments, Wiltshire is an ideal region to serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with prehistoric remains, but equally it is an unceasing source of inspiration for the most experienced archaeologist. The field monuments are complemented by outstanding local museums whose displays reflect the long history of archaeological investigation within the county. Yet, despite the richness of their collections, these museums remain the responsibility of private trusts and societies that constantly struggle to find the necessary resources to conserve and exhibit their assets. It is most commendable, therefore, that Bob Clarke, the author, has written Prehistoric Wiltshire as a personal contribution to the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society’s fund raising effort to re-display the famous Bronze Age gallery at Devizes Museum. There are thus two compelling reasons to buy this excellent book – to guide you to some of the best prehistoric sites in Southern England, and to help display the spectacular objects found in some of those sites.

Sponsored by The Stonehenge Tour Companyhttps://stonehengetours.com/

Merlin says “Visiting Wiltshire ? Buy this book!”

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Celebrate World Heritage Day at Stonehenge and Avebury.

18 04 2012

World Heritage Day is celebrated annually on 18th April. This year, (also the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention), English Heritage experts are on hand to help you discover the prehistoric landscapes at Stonehenge and Avebury and to show how World Heritage Status is helping to conserve them.
Stonehenge Heritage

Stonehenge and Avebury became a World Heritage Site in 1986 for their outstanding prehistoric monuments dating from around 3,700 to 1,600 BC. The stone circle of Stonehenge is recognised throughout the world and the site is very special. The 2,600 hectares  of surrounding landscape contains 350 burial mounds and prehistoric monuments such as the the Cursus, Woodhenge and Durrington Walls. Part of this landscape is also managed by the National Trust.

Avebury is the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world. The site includes Windmill Hill, the West Kennet Long Barrow, the West Kennet and Beckhampton Avenues, the Sanctuary, Silbury Hill (the largest prehistoric mound in Europe),  the West Kennet Palisaded Enclosures, and important barrows.

The event is  from 10am to 6pm on April 18th and tickets cost £35 (includes refreshments).  Booking via English Heritage is essential: 0870 333 1181.
Link: http://www.insidewiltshire.co.uk

What is World heritage Day ?

World Heritage Day 18th April 2012 – Get Involved!

This year’s theme has been chosen to mark the 40th anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, which was adopted in 1972. The focus will be on “World Heritage and Sustainable Development: the Role of Local Communities”.

This special day offers an opportunity to celebrate local heritage all over the world! Why not get involved … there’s any number of things you could do to celebrate World Heritage Day 2012 …

  • Provide free admission to your heritage site
  • Publicise your site in local newspapers or radio
  • Hang World Heritage Day banners on your local sites
  • Organise a public talk or lecture on your local heritage
  • Put together an exhibition celebrating your local heritage
  • Award a prize to soemone who has made an outstanding contribution to your local heritage
  • Inaugurate a recently restored monument
  • Get the kids involved with tours or treasure hunts

World Heritage Day (International Day for Monuments & Sites) was created in 1982 by ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments & Sites) and was later approved at the UNESCO General Conference in 1983.
Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle News Blog Blog





Olympic flame will, at last, go to Stonehenge

3 04 2012

Olympic torch relay organisers have reassured tourism bosses that the Olympic flame will visit the iconic backdrop of Stonehenge, after it was left off the official relay route through the West.

Instead of forming part of the public route through Wiltshire in July, the Olympic flame will be taken at dawn to the stones for a closed photo opportunity the morning after its overnight stop in nearby Salisbury.

  1. The Olympic torch will now visit Stonehenge and Glastonbury Tor

    The Olympic torch will now visit Stonehenge and Glastonbury Tor

The decision does mean, however, the public will not be able to descend on Stonehenge to see the once-in-a-lifetime moment it is carried around the Neolithic monument.

English Heritage, which manages the stones, and Olympic Torch Relay bosses confirmed the early morning visit after publishing a route which did not include Stonehenge or Avebury.

Western Daily Press reader Margaret Scott said: “Obviously Stonehenge is one of the major tourist attractions in Britain and it just seemed ridiculous if the torch relay is going to Amesbury but not going a mile to the west to be run around Stonehenge. They surely are not missing it out?”

A spokesman for English Heritage said that they had been informed by the Olympic organisers that the torch would be driven to Stonehenge and back again early on July 12, before it is scheduled to leave Salisbury Cathedral, for a photocall.

“Rest assured the opportunity to have the Olympic torch at Stonehenge is not going to be missed,” said a spokesman.

The National Trust has also confirmed that the torch is due to be carried up to the top of Glastonbury Tor on Tuesday May 22 – again not as part of the published route, which merely suggests the relay will pound the streets of the town. But it appears there is not such good news for another of the West’s historic sites.

The next day, on Wednesday, May 23, the torch is travelling from Bristol to Gloucester via Wiltshire, but it appears there are no plans to stop at the Avebury stone circle.

Source: http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/

Merlin says “Great news for Wiltshire Tourism”

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





The Stonehenge prehistoric landscape. A Satellite view,

30 03 2012

I found this wonderful image on the stone-circles web site.  See it here:
http://www.stone-circles.org.uk/stone/stonehenge.htm
 Satellite image of the Stonehenge Landscape

It shows the “ritual” and non-ritual features in the Stonehenge area — with the features themselves overlaid onto a satellite image of the district.  Click to enlarge.

Links: http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.co.uk

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ http://www.StonehenegTours.com

Merlin says “Stonehenge is so much more than a Stine Circle and I encourage you all to explore this prehistoric Landscape”

Merlin @ Stonehenge Stone Circle 





1st Exhibition of Mesolthic Amesbury – 3000 years before the Stones

24 03 2012

Resulting from the Amesbury 2012 initiative lead by Mayor Andy Rhind-Tutt and supported by Amesbury Town Council, local people and our Druids we are pleased to announce that Amesbury Town Council, have completed the purchase of the Melor Hall in Amesbury (Opposite the Antrobus Arms) and will now move to the process of planning and building the Town its first ever Museum and interpretation centre.

This will tell the Story of Amesbury and interest a percentage of those millions of tourists that visit our Stonehenge, bolstering the local economy and mutually supporting the two existing museums of Salisbury and Devizes and Stonehenge.
Amesbury Museum

On the Easter weekend, the existing hall will be used for an exhibition highlighting the Mesolithic rich heritage that is being found. This will feature live archaeology taking place locally at one of the most exciting dig sites in Britain today.

Meet the archaeologists, ask questions, handle finds and discover for yourselves the wonders of the Mesolithic Salisbury Plain.

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

Merlin says “This is great news for Stonehenge, Amesbury and Wiltshire Tourism 2012.  See you at the Easter Weekend event”

The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge Spring Equinox 20th March 2012

1 03 2012

The exact time for the 2012 Spring (or Vernal) equinox at Stonehenge is 5.14am ;
Sunrise on the March 20th at 6.09am.

Stonehenge EquinoxEnglish Heritage have confirmed Open Access for Stonehenge on the Spring Equinox 2012 will be dawn on the 20th of March.

Expect a short period of access, from approximately 5.45am to 8.00am.

This is the second of the four ‘sky points’ in our Wheel of the Year and it is when the sun does a perfect balancing act in the heavens.

At the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox the sun rises exactly in the east, travels through the sky for 12 hours and then sets exactly in the west. So all over the world, at this special moment, day and night are of equal length hence the word equinox which means ‘equal night’.

Of course, for those of us here in the northern hemisphere it is this equinox that brings us out of our winter.

For those in the southern hemisphere, this time is the autumnal equinox that isArthur Pendragon taking you in to your winter. And this is very much how I think of the equinoxes – as the ‘edges’ of winter. This is why they can be quite hard on our bodies as it is a major climatic shift, so it is a good time to give a boost to your immune system with natural remedies and cleansing foods.

Here in Wiltshire (as with the rest of rural Britain), it was traditional to drink dandelion and burdock cordials at this time as these herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after its winter hardships.

As the Vernal Equinox heralds the arrival of spring, it is a time of renewal in both nature and the home, so time for some spring-cleaning!

This is more than just a physical activity, it also helps to remove any old or negative energies accumulated over the dark, heavy winter months preparing the way for the positive growing energy of spring and summer.

As with all the other key festivals of the year, there are both Pagan and Christian associations with the Spring Equinox.To Pagans, this is the time of the ancient Saxon goddess, Eostre, who stands for new beginnings and fertility.

This is why she is symbolized by eggs (new life) and rabbits/hares (fertility).

Her name is also the root of the term we give to the female hormone, oestrogen.By now, you may be beginning to see the Christian celebration derived from this festival – Easter.

And this is the reason why the ‘Easter Bunny’ brings us coloured eggs (and if you’re lucky chocolate ones!) at this time of year.

So, as nature starts to sprout the seeds that have been gestating in her belly throughout the winter, maybe you can start to think about what you want to ‘sprout’ in your life now and start to take action.

Our sponsors ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ are offering transport from London. They have been offering ‘non obtrusive’ small group guided tours of the solstice and equinox events for many years and we welcome their approach and ‘thought provoking’ trips.  It works out much cheaper and certainly easier  at that time of the morning.

Link: http://pagancalendar.co.uk/
Link: http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/longest-day/
Link:  http://www.stonehengetours.com/html/stonehenge-spring-equinox-tour-2011.htm
Link: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/determining-easter-date.html

Merlin says “See you there and remember – RESPECT THE STONES!”

Stonehenge on Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/st0nehenge 

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle website








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