Stonehenge Visitor Centre and Galleries Preview Tour.

11 05 2013

What happened on the visit ? We met English Heritage; Loranie Knowles (Stonehenge Project Director), Richard Williams (Stonehenge Project Manager) and Lisa Holmes (Stonehenge Community Projects Manager) together with staff from Vinci Construction.

Stonehenge Visitor Centre

Collectively they shared their experience behind the scenes of how the fantastic new facility is being made possible.  We got a tour around the site and also a chance to ask questions.

We also had an opportunity to make comments after the tour and shared our thoughts about the build, along with ideas and ways we would like to see the centre used by local community in the future

The open day has been organised and hosted by English Heritage with thanks to Vinci Construction and to Heritage Lottery funding which supports local community involvement in the Stonehenge Environmental Improvement programme.

Stonehenge Visitor Centre

Panoramic view of Stonehenge Visitor Centre Roof

Stonehenge Visitor Centre

Panoramic view of Stonehenge Visitor Centre from the new coach park

Stonehenge Visitor Centre

Panoramic view from the Stonehenge Visitor Centre Souvenir Shop

Stonehenge Visitor Centre

Panoramic view of the Stonehenge Visitor Centre from the West

More images of the exterior and interior:

The Stonehenge 360 Cinema

The Stonehenge 360 Cinema

Stonehenge Visitor Centre.  Roof top view

Stonehenge Visitor Centre. Roof top view

Stonehenge Visitor Centre.  Main entrance.

Stonehenge Visitor Centre. Main entrance.

Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge director for English Heritage, said: “It is fantastic to see the building taking shape and to see how well it sits in the landscape. “Progress with the creation of the interior spaces for the museum galleries, education area, shop and cafe is equally exciting because it is now possible to see on the ground how these great new facilities will be experienced by our visitors.

English Heritage’s £27million project to transform the visitor facilities at Stonehenge will see the new centre open in December, with the existing facilities to be demolished and grassed over by next June.

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Druid calls for fake human remains to be displayed at Stonehenge

8 05 2013

A druid leader is calling for fake, rather than real, human remains to be put on display at Stonehenge.

English Heritage plans to display the remains at the new Stonehenge visitor centre

English Heritage plans to display the remains at the new Stonehenge visitor centre

In an open letter, King Arthur Pendragon has criticised English Heritage for the “macabre manner” it plans to display “ancestral remains”.

In 2011 he lost a High Court bid to have bones, found in 2008, reburied.

English Heritage said the remains are not from the 2008 excavation and their “presentation, treatment and storage” will follow strict UK guidelines.

The cremated remains of more than 40 bodies, thought to be at least 5,000 years old, were removed from a burial site at the ancient stone circle five years ago.

According to Mr Pendragon, the bones were the remains of members of the “royal line” or “priest caste” who could have been the “founding fathers of this great nation”.

“There are cremated remains and a full skeleton from one of the barrows, which they’re planning to put on display,” he said.

“This is not only out of step with the feelings of many of the peoples and groups that I represent but is surely against the driving cultural principles of a Unesco World Heritage Site.”

The £27m scheme to build a new visitor centre and close the road alongside the ancient monument, is due to be completed by the end of the year.

Mr Pendragon said visitors would be “appalled” and unless “models and replicas” were used he could “not rule out non-violent direct action against the proposals”.

‘Visitors expect remains’

But a spokeswoman for English Heritage said visitor research showed the “vast majority of museum visitors are comfortable with, and often expect to see, human remains”.

“The remains of three human burials found in the landscape will be displayed with ample explanation along with archaeological objects, providing visitors with a direct connection to the people who lived and worked there,” she said.

“As such, we believe they have a rightful place in the exhibition and their presentation, treatment and storage will follow strict guidelines set out by the UK government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-22438232

Merlin at Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge occupied 5,000 years earlier than previously thought

19 04 2013

Stonehenge may have been occupied five thousand years earlier than previously thought, archaeologists claim.

The people occupying the site would likely have been responsible for erecting the first monument at Stonehenge, the Mesolithic posts, between the 9th and 7th millennia BC.  Photo: REX

The people occupying the site would likely have been responsible for erecting the first monument at Stonehenge, the Mesolithic posts, between the 9th and 7th millennia BC. Photo: REX

Excavation of a site just a mile from the stone structure provided what researchers claim is the first firm evidence of continuous occupation from as early as 7,500BC.

Earlier evidence had suggested that humans were present at the site, known as Vespasian’s Camp, around 7,500BC but there were no signs anyone had lived there until as late as 2,500BC.

By carbon-dating materials found at the site, the archaeologists identified a semi-permanent settlement which was occupied from 7,500 to 4,700BC, with evidence that people were present during every millennium in between.

The people occupying the site would likely have been responsible for erecting the first monument at Stonehenge, the Mesolithic posts, between the 9th and 7th millennia BC.

Instead of being seen as a site which was abandoned by Mesolithic humans and occupied by Neolithic men thousands of years later, Stonehenge should be recognised as a place where one culture merged with the other, researchers said.

Dr David Jacques of the Open University, who led the study, said he identified the settlement after deciding to search for evidence around a spring on the site, which he reasoned could have attracted animals.

“My thinking was where you find wild animals, you tend to find people,” he said. “What we found was the nearest secure watering hole for animals and people, a type of all year round fresh water source. It’s the nearest one to this place [Stonehenge]. I think it’s pivotal.”

Dr Josh Pollard of the Stonehenge Riverside Project added: “The team have found the community who put the first monument up at Stonehenge.

“The significance of David’s work lies in finding substantial evidence of Mesolithic settlement in the Stonehenge landscape [which was] previously largely lacking, apart from the enigmatic posts, and being able to demonstrate that there were repeated visits to this area from the 9th to the 5th millennia BC.”

Source: , Science Correspondent – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

The findings will be broadcast in an episode of The Flying Archaeologist on BBC One on Friday evening.

Merlin at Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog

 

 





Stonehenge project compares Neolithic building methods

17 04 2013

An experiment is under way here in Wiltshire to find out more about Neolithic building methods.

Using archaeological evidence unearthed from nearby Durrington Walls, three structures are being built at Old Sarum Castle, near Salisbury.

The project aims to recreate the buildings which may have existed in Neolithic times

The project aims to recreate the buildings which may have existed in Neolithic times

The English Heritage project aims to discover what was the most efficient way of building with locally-sourced materials.

The final reconstructions will be built at Stonehenge later this year.

They will be put up outside the new visitor centre.

The experiment is part of a £27m English Heritage scheme looking at how the setting of the ancient monument can be improved.

The recreated Neolithic buildings will form part of an “interactive and experiential” external exhibition at the 3,500-year-old World Heritage site.

The Dorset-based Ancient Technology Centre has been commissioned to construct the three prototype homes.

Luke Winter from the centre said the project aimed to look at what type of buildings may have been around at the time.

“The evidence from Durrington Walls several years ago brought to light the remains of several different types of building,” he said.

“We’re trying to reconstruct what they looked like above ground.

“On each of the three buildings we are trying different materials and methods and at the end we can say which is most likely to have been used

Link source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-22168354

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge Solstice Manager Job Vacancy

16 04 2013

English Heritage manages access to Stonehenge for celebration of the summer and winter solstices and other seasonal gatherings in conjunction with Wiltshire Council, the Highways Agency, the National Trust and representatives of pagan and druid groups. These celebrations attract many thousands of people every year. From 2014, with the completion of the transformational Stonehenge Environmental Improvements Programme, a new solstice operational plan will come into effect.

English Heritage LogoAs part of the Stonehenge management team, reporting to the General Manager, the successful candidate will be responsible for developing, leading and implementing the future plan, working in close liaison with stakeholders. A track record of organising and managing large-scale events, and of working with stakeholders to deliver positive outcomes will be essential. Highly-developed influencing and negotiating skills and the confidence and ability to represent English Heritage at a senior level will also be critical as will the requirement to work flexibly to meet the needs of this important role.

Title: Solstice Manager Stonehenge (Part-time/Annualised Hours)
Location: Stonehenge
Job Type: Permanent
Salary: c. £34k
Close Date:
06/05/2013 23:59:59

Full details: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/about/jobs/job/?ref=4575

You will need to refer to the following document(s) when completing your application. Job Description Download English Heritage Behaviours

The Stonehenge News Blog





The Stonehenge Project – Phase 1

29 03 2013

An amazing opportunity to gain a rare and fascinating insight into the development of the famous World Heritage Site. The first in a series of exclusive Members’ Events to share with you the details of the high profile development of the new Visitors Centre, join Stonehenge Director Loraine Knowles and Programme Manager Richard Williams to discuss the project and gain insight at this early stage. With the help of a time lapse film you will see the stages of the construction process and discover the plans for the centre once completed.

Welcome refreshments are included. This event has been graded as Easy Access, as there are clear walkways and seating available.

event-stonehengeHow to Book

Ticket are available to book from 10am on Tuesday 26 March by calling our dedicated ticket sales team on 0870 333 1183. (Mon-Fri 8.30am – 5.30pm & Sat 9am – 5pm)

Prices

Welcome refreshments are included.

Members’ Only Event

    • Date: Mon 22 Apr 2013
    • Property:
      Watershed, Bristol
    • Children’s Event
      Time: 10am-12pm
    • Booking :
      Suitable for: Adults

Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/the-stonehenge-project-phase-1-watershed-22-apr/

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stoneheng News Blog





Stonehenge visitors to ‘experience’ standing in the ancient circle

25 03 2013

A 360 degree cinema is being developed so visitors to Stonehenge can experience standing inside the ancient circle.

Stonehenge receives one million visitors a year and is a World Heritage Site Photo: Christopher Jones for the Telegraph

Stonehenge receives one million visitors a year and is a World Heritage Site Photo: Christopher Jones for the Telegraph

Access to Stonehenge has been fiercely contested for decades, with campaigners arguing that they should be allowed into the stone circle.

Now, English Heritage has developed a possible solution, a virtual visit in a 360 degree cinema where visitors can “experience” standing in the ancient circle.

It will be the centrepiece of a new £27 million centre at the site and is one of a number of audio visual attractions being built to bring the prehistoric monument to life.

These will include a 32ft “landscape wall”, on to which computer generated images of the countryside around the circle and other ancient earthworks will be projected.

In addition, there will be five “people films”, shown on screens in one of the two vast pods being built to house the visitor centre. These will provide information about the monument and prehistoric items on display

There will also be films exploring the conflicting theories over the establishment and use of the circle.

Outside the centre, replica Neolithic dwellings are being built, where visitors will be able to see how early inhabitants of the sites lived.

The plans for the centre are revealed in a series of tender documents from English Heritage, seeking firms to provide the technological content for the audio visual displays. The documents describe the “immersive 360 degree projected film” as the “most important and high profile piece of audio visual ever undertaken by EH”.

The new auditorium’s 100ft circumference will compare with about 300ft in the actual stone circle.

Robert Campbell, the head of interpretation at the centre, said: “It’s meant to give people a sense of what it is like to stand in the middle of Stonehenge because most people just won’t be able to do that. It won’t feel like you are standing in a computer programme. The idea is to take our visitors back in time.”

The virtual visits may not win over all campaigners including Pagans and Druids who want open access to Stonehenge, which was created about 5,000 years ago.

When it was first opened to the public, it was possible to walk among and even climb on the stones. However, they were roped off in 1977 due to problems with erosion.

Visitors are now kept a short distance away, although English Heritage does permit access during the summer and winter solstice, and the spring and autumn equinox. Some access visits early in the morning or late in the evening can also be booked.

Stonehenge receives one million visitors a year and is a World Heritage Site. The multi-million project is being built 1.5 miles from the stones.

By , and David Barrett (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

Merlin at Stonehenge
The Stonehnege News Blog

 





Secrets of the Stonehenge Skeletons

8 03 2013

Ancient bodies lie buried beneath Stonehenge, but what can they tell us about Britain’s greatest prehistoric monument? One man has found vital clues to this ancient puzzle

c4-stonehengeStonehenge is Britain’s greatest prehistoric monument and, for many centuries, has also provided perhaps our greatest prehistoric mystery.

One man believes he has found the vital clues to solve this puzzle, and this programme follows him through a series of discoveries that rewrite the story of Stonehenge.

Buried beneath the stones are ancient bodies, and a research team led by world-renowned archaeologist Professor Mike Parker Pearson has been granted special permission to analyse them for the first time.

The results of that investigation overturn the accepted view on when Stonehenge was built and what it was built for, providing compelling evidence that it once united the people of Britain.

The programme proves that the monument we know today was not the original Stonehenge and answers the mystery of its sudden decline.

When? Next on Channel 4 Sun 10th March , 8PM

Watch a clip here

Link: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/secrets-of-the-stonehenge-skeletons

Links: http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/techfacils/secrets-of-the-stonehenge-skeletons/5052681.article?blocktitle=LATEST-FEATURES&contentID=38754

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge transformation work well on schedule

20 02 2013

Work to transform Stonehenge, which officially started on site in July last year, is progressing well.

This year, the centenary of the 1913 Ancient Monuments Act, will culminate in the opening of English Heritage’s new Stonehenge exhibition galleries and visitor centre at the end of the year.

Work on the Stonehenge site is due to be completed by the end of this year

Work on the Stonehenge site is due to be completed by the end of this year

Building work is currently taking shape at Airman’s Corner, 1.5 miles to the west and out of view of the stones, where the new galleries and facilities will be located.

The sensitively designed building will comprise two “pods” which will house museum-quality exhibitions, a spacious café with indoor and outdoor seating, a bigger shop and dedicated education space

Main contractor Vinci Construction is about to erect a ’bird-cage’ scaffold which will be used to install the undulating canopy roof, a distinctive feature of the building’s design, while a visitor car park and coach park, with capacity for 500 and 30 vehicles respectively, have been laid out and are clearly visible.

Precious objects on loan from the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum are currently being conserved by English Heritage staff ready for display.

They will form the centrepiece of the permanent exhibition at the new building, helping to tell the story of Stonehenge in vivid detail.

Next month volunteers will help with an archaeological experiment at Old Sarum Castle near Salisbury where prototypes of Neolithic houses excavated at Durrington Walls will be built. The lessons learned from this experiment will inform the reconstruction of three Neolithic houses at the outdoor gallery of the new visitor centre in Spring 2014, offering visitors a glimpse of the lives of prehistoric people.

The A344 road between Stonehenge Bottom and Byway 12 will be closed at the end of June, once the new roundabout at Airman’s Corner is operational. Work will follow to remove the fences along this section of road and the road surface itself will be removed and grassed over.

No part of the Stonehenge operation will close while the works are being carried out, and the switchover to the new visitor centre will happen overnight. Until then, access to the existing Stonehenge car park will continue along the A344 but from the west via the A360 and Airman’s Corner.

The date of the opening at the end of 2013 will be announced later in the year.

Full article in the Wiltshire Times: http://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/10237112.Stonehenge_transformation_work_well_on_schedule/

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog





Ancient Avebury site has so much potential

12 02 2013

A TWO-man Avebury stone circle research team say the site should capitalise on a World Heritage boost.

The Which? Travel magazine hailed Avebury as the second greatest World Heritage site, behind only the ancient Mexican city of Monte Alban and ahead of attractions including the Great Pyramid and the Taj Mahal.

Avebury_Stone Circle, WiltshireThis was music to the ears of author Eric M Crook and artist Maurice Giraffe from Swindon, who have spent decades investigating not just Avebury but other ancient sites such as Stonehenge and Silbury Hill.

Mr Crook, 88, is the author of a study called Wiltshire: A Journey-man’s Tale. Many of the book’s illustrations are the work of Mr Giraffe, 55, who combines artistic and technical drawing skills to plot the relative positions of stones.

Mr Crook said of the Which? Travel accolade: “It’s fantastic for this to happen, and we would hope that maybe somebody has taken notice of our comments over the years about this place being so important.”

Mr Giraffe added: “I too am very, very pleased that Avebury has been nominated within the top 10.

“At the same time, what draws the attention is that seven of the 10 are building complexes. There is only one stone circle.

“Avebury should now improve its facilities for visitors. Shelters from the rain would be useful, and so would pathways for wheeled access around the stones. We’d like to see uplighters installed so the stones can be seen better at night.”

The two also suggest night time tours and regular grass cutting, as well as restricting access by grazing sheep.

The researchers believe the archaeological establishment has missed clues about ceremonial and navigational uses for such prehistoric places.

They say their research indicates that the surviving Avebury stones were once part of a vast amphitheatre featuring many thousands of carved human and animal faces, and these faces would have appeared to come to life in flickering firelight.

The researchers say remnants of these carvings can still be seen in fragments hacked from the stones down the years, whether for recycling or because the early Christian church objected to the old religions.

Mr Crook said: “Many churches were built with the old stones, and also other properties across Wiltshire.”

Wiltshire: A Journeyman’s Tale costs £9.99 and can be ordered from Amazon and book shops.
Article (By Barrie Hudson – http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk)

Merlin says: ‘Not sure about the uplighters idea’ ?

Merlin @ Stonehenge
Stonehenge News Blog








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