Thousands gathered at Stonehenge to celebrate the annual winter solstice.

24 12 2021

Crowds came together for the biggest gathering at Stonehenge since the pandemic began. Thousands of people gathered at Stonehenge on Wednesday morning to celebrate the annual winter solstice. The event, which marks the first sunrise after the longest night of the year, saw 2,500 people visit the World Heritage site in Salisbury – the largest gathering at the 5,000-year-old location since the start of the pandemic. The festivities were also watched by over 55,000 people worldwide, with Druids and Pagans amongst those who marked the occasion.

Druids and pagans were joined by hundreds of others to mark the end of the longest night.

English Heritage allowed access to the site but also live streamed the sunrise for those who wanted to watch at home.

Historians believe the turning of the year was celebrated by the people who erected the stones.

It was the first time since lockdown began in March 2020 that open access was allowed at the World Heritage Site on Salisbury Plain, with about 1,000 people attending.

The curator of Stonehenge, Heather Sebire, told BBC Radio Wiltshire: “The whole monument is orientated to the midwinter sunset and the midsummer sunrise. Today is marking the turning of the year.

As the drumming echoed around the site, everyone, tourists, locals and the religious, turned their faces to the east in unison to greet the sunrise.

People marked the moment in different ways – some quiet, some jubilant – but you could sense a real joy in the air.

Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2021 Links:
Thousands gather at Stonehenge for winter solstice celebration = The Independent
Winter solstice Sunrise at Stonehenge 2021 in photos – Salisbury Journal
Winter Solstice at Stonehenge: Crowds gather for special sunrise at Wiltshire monument – ITV
Stonehenge winter solstice crowd the biggest of pandemic – BBC
Stonehenge Winter Solstice Tours, book now for 2022 – Stonehenge Guided Tours
Dawn again! Stonehenge revellers celebrate the first sunrise after Winter Solstice… – Daily Mail
Experiencing solstice at Stonehenge for the first time – Wiltshire Times

The Stonehenge News Blog
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The King of Stonehenge: A Winter Solstice Story.

20 12 2021

Based on the Bush Barrow Man – displayed in Devizes museum.

They stood in a circle, mirroring the wider circle of the great plain spread out around them beneath the vast blue dome of the sky – a plain of rolling scrubland, a threadbare forest after centuries of occupation and activity now covered in a thin cloak of white: more a hard frost than fresh snow, although old drifts had frozen over where the occasional flurry had snagged on bushes and mounds. A solemn circle of cloaked figures standing out against the white, forms and features gilded by the fires of torches and the setting sun – at its lowest ebb after its slow, steady journey from the summer solstice. Now, on the eve of the longest night of the year, it was like a tallow candle, wick guttering low in its melting pool as it sank over the horizon.

          The gathered stood vigil around an open grave pit. Within, the flickering light illumined a middle-aged male figure wrapped in a deep blue cloak against which a gold lozenge breastplate and belt buckle gleamed, catching the dying rays that shot out across the darkening plain. A once powerful profile caught this final glory. Encephalic brow over deep set eyes now shut beneath still black brows. Cheek bones and chin accentuated by grey-streaked beard. A strong mouth used to issuing commands now silent. Look closer and fine wrinkles about his eyes could be discerned – the weathering of a long, active, and careworn life.

          Around the grave stood two distinct rings of figures – shorter, raven-maned, stouter men and women wore robes dyed a woad-blue; the taller, finer-boned, flaxen-haired ones wore cloaks of pale green-grey. Between them they rhymed with the blue stones and sarsens of the Great Circle, distinctly visible just down the slope from the ridge of barrows – the mighty temple where tomorrow they would greet the rebirth of the sun.

          The blue-cloaks stood restless and uncomfortable amid the pomp and ceremony of the burial. They were more used to using their hands and minds on constructing and maintaining the Great Stones and surrounding sites. Physically distinct from the grey-cloaks, it was rumoured they had first come to the plain with the blue stones – but this had been so far back even the storytellers’ failed to recall the details in more than fanciful terms. Around the fires they told of how a great magician and a band of fifteen thousand warriors had travelled to Hibernia to bring back the stones said to be the work of giants; of how, when the Hibernians had refused them, a great battle ensued and blood had darkened the soft green hills, and the sorcerer had made the stones dance across the land into their final settling place. Whatever the truth the blue-stones – shorter and roughly hewn from a darker, more porous rock – had preceded the taller grey ones, which had been dressed and brought with no less an astounding act of skill and effort from the downs a day’s walk north. The Avenue was said to mark the direction the blue-stones had been brought from the river, the direction the midsummer sun rose, entering the Great Stones via the pair of uprights standing apart from the main circle.

          As the dying light of the sun lingered on the horizon – a bloody eye slowly shutting – the grey-cloaks stepped forward to place gifts in the grave.

          A tall, handsome woman carried before her a ceremonial mace, handle inlaid with a zig-zag pattern. As the torches gutted in the chill dusk breeze, her voice carried across the gathered. ‘Our cherished leader brought together the tribes – forging peace, alliances, friendships, and heart-unions. May this mace remind the ancestors of this great deed!’ The circle made noises of respect and assent, and she carefully placed it on the chest of the man, laying his right hand gently over it. Then, after a private moment when she murmured something and kissed his brow, she stood stiffly up, and returned to the ring.

          Then a man with long silver hair stepped forward and offered a milky spherical stone. ‘Our cherished friend knew the secrets of the sun, moon, and stars, better than anyone – even than myself. His vision helped us to achieve this mighty dream,’ he gestured to the Great Stones, ‘one that has taken many lifetimes of effort. But now it is accomplished. The long line that has overseen the sky temple’s construction and completion may rest in peace, rightly proud of their legacy. And so, the seer-stone can rest now with its bearer.’ He stooped and placed the orb in the man’s left hand, curling frost-stiffened fingers about it. Then, quietly: ‘May it guide you on your journey in the beyond, old friend.’

          The silver-haired man stood up and stepped back, face curtained by his hair, his expression taut, eyes glinting in the torchlight.

          Then a young man stepped forward in his virile prime. The resemblance to the man in the grave was unmistakable – though his smooth features and mien were unwearied by the burdens of chieftainhood. He carried before him a dagger with a handle adorned with golden pins.

          ‘My father was father to many tribes, and many knew him as a strong leader, one who fiercely defended his people, and this land. And yet there was another side to him, which I was lucky to glimpse at times. Yes, he was tougher on me than most, pushing me to become as great, nay, even greater than he. But behind that was an undying love. I realise that now. He could not be like other fathers, and yet he still taught me many things. The tales he shared! When the day’s work was done, and he returned to our hut – to sit by the fire with a warming beaker, a different man would emerge. I remember that man, while I honour the leader. Dear father, may this dagger guard you in your journey beyond the sky.’

          The young man placed the dagger by his feet, spent a moment in contemplation kneeling by his father’s grave, then finally stood up, and returned to the circle.

          And then the blue-cloaks brought their gifts – jugs of beer, a loaf, a sack of grain, a braided talisman – simple, homespun gifts but heartfelt.

          The grave goods were carefully placed around the recumbent form until not a gap was left.

          And then the silver-haired man stepped forward and raised a final toast with a horn – pouring some of its contents onto the disturbed earth at the edge of the grave, before taking a slow, thoughtful sip. With a bow, he passed it with both hands to the handsome woman, who did the same.

Then, to the son, whose hand shook, though none chose to notice it.

One-by-one, each took a turn to the raise the horn.

          Returning full circle to him, the silver-haired man signalled it was time to raise the mound.

          Starting with the grey-cloaked woman, each person gathered cast an oxen-shoulder blade’s worth of mead-splashed chalky soil on the man before returning the back of the line. A chant began, slow and rhythmic, as slowly the mound was raised in the dying light, a mound glowing white in the gloaming.

          And then finally it was done.

          Before them, the white mound rose in the full dark of the deepest night, its soft glow echoing the glint of stars far, far above – the line of barrows a constellation in the chalk pointing the spirit-fire of their newest ancestor back home.  

          Frozen to the bone, the gathered filed back to the huts to the honour-feast. All night long they would tell tales of his deeds, share their memories of the man, the husband, the father, the legend.

          And so, they would pass the longest night of the year – holding vigil to ensure the spirit’s safe passage to the land behind life where, so the tale-weavers speak, the night sky is white and the stars are black.

          Until finally the glow in the east would be seen, and they would gather in the Great Stones to greet the dawn.

          And at the moment the sun breached the barrowed skyline on the shortest day of the year, they would hail its rebirth: the true king of Stonehenge.

Guest Blogger: Dr Kevan Manwaring is an author, lecturer, and specialist tour-guide. His books include The Long Woman (a novel which features Stonehenge and Avebury), Lost Islands, Turning the Wheel: seasonal Britain on two wheels, Desiring Dragons, Oxfordshire Folk Tales, Northamptonshire Folk Tales, and Herepath: a Wiltshire songline. He is a keen walker and loves exploring the ancient landscape of the Marlborough Downs (where he lives) and beyond.  www.kevanmanwaring.co.uk

WINTER Solstice celebrations will be marked at Stonehenge next week. Sunrise will be live streamed from Stonehenge for free.

English Heritage is inviting people to watch from home as the Winter Solstice sunrise is going to be livestreamed from Stonehenge on the morning of Wednesday (December 22). 

Those wanting to mark the solstice at the site in person, which will be subject to any changes in government gudiance, legislation or public health advice, will need to take a lateral flow test before setting off and only travel if it is negative and they feel well. Transport is available from Salisbury or guided tours from London and Bath

Stonehenge Winter Solstice Links:
How to watch the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge 2021 – Salisbury Journal
Winter Solstice 2021 – English Heritage
Stonehenge Winter Solstice Managed Open Access Arrangements 2021 – Stonehenge News Blog
The Rebirth of the Sun: the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Winter solstice: Why do pagans celebrate the shortest day of the year? THE TELEGRAPH
The Sun Stones: The Story of the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge Winter Solstice Tours from London – STONEHENGE GUIDED TOURS
Solstice at Stonehenge. From Past to Present. – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
What has Stonehenge got to do with the winter solstice? – METRO NEWS
Stonehenge Winter Solstice Tours from Bath – SOLSTICE TOURS U.K
Celebrate Winter Solstice at Stonehenge – HOLIDAY EXTRAS
Solstice and Equinox Experience Tours – SOLSTICE EVENTS UK
The Stonehenge Sostice Pilgrims – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge, the Winter Solstice, and the Druids – INTERESTRING ENGINEERING
Respecting the Stones.  Managed Open Access –STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News and Winter Solstice updates.





Stonehenge to be Celebrated with ‘Landmark’ Exhibition at British Museum #TheWorldOfStonehenge

8 12 2021

A forthcoming exhibition at the British Museum will celebrate the iconic megalithic monument Stonehenge in what the institution promises to be a “landmark show.” Set to open in February of next year, ‘The World of Stonehenge’ will surprisingly be the first time ever that the legendary site has served as the subject of a major event at the massive and prestigious museum. In keeping with that momentous occasion, curators putting the exhibition together have reportedly amassed a staggering array of artifacts, including approximately 250 pieces that have been loaned to the event from institutions throughout Europe and the UK.

Towering above the Wiltshire countryside, Stonehenge is perhaps the world’s most awe-inspiring ancient stone circle. Shrouded in layers of speculation and folklore, this iconic British monument has spurred myths and legends that persist today.

A key part of the collection, this 4,000-year-old Bronze Age timber structure has been nicknamed the Stonehenge of the Sea after it re-emerged on a Norfolk beach in 1998. It consists of a large upturned tree stump surrounded by 54 wooden posts. The oak posts, some up to 3m tall and form a 6.6m-diameter circle around the upturned oak, creating a giant tree-like spectacle. A narrow entranceway was built aligning to the rising midsummer sun and it is speculated the monument was used for ritual purposes.

The Nebra Sky Disc is 3,600 years old and will go on show at the London museum next year. Picture by: The British Museum

The aim is to set the stone monument – built 4,500 years ago, and one of the most recognisable sights in Europe – into the context of an era during which there was huge social and technological change.

 The World of Stonehenge is at the British Museum, London, from 17 February to 17 July 2022

Relevant Stonehenge News Links:
Story of Stonehenge to be told in major British Museum exhibition – The Guardian
British Museum exhibition explores Stonehenge of the sea – BBC News
Mysterious Seahenge monument coming to British Museum for Stonehenge show – Evening Standard
Guided Tours of Stonehenge with the megalithic experts – Stonehenge Guided Tours
A major exhibition on Stonehenge featuring 430 objects and artefacts is due to open at the British Museum. – The Conservative Post
The local Stonehenge touring experts based in Salisbury – The Stonehenge Travel Company
British Museum seeks loan of Ireland’s priceless artefacts for landmark exhibition – The Indepedent
World’s oldest map of the stars — is to go on display at the British Museum – Daily Mail

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News
http://www.Stonehenge.News





Stonehenge’s Builders May Have Feasted on Mince Pies and Sweet Treats

2 12 2021

Excavations near the iconic English monument revealed traces of fruits and nuts.

  • Excavation work has been led by English Heritage at Durrington Walls, Wiltshire
  • Durrington Walls was inhabited by the builders of Stonehenge in about 2,500 BC
  • Evidence suggests traces of hazelnuts, sloes, apples and other fruits at the site 

Previously it was thought they had consumed pork, beef and dairy.

But excavations of the Durrington Walls settlement, inhabited by the builders of the monument in about 2,500 BC, suggest they collected and cooked hazelnuts, sloes and crab apples too.

Researchers said evidence of charred plant remains suggest they might have followed recipes to preserve the food.

There was no direct evidence for pastry being used, but people knew how to grow cereal crops and could have made pastry from wheat, hazelnut or acorn flour, English Heritage said.

Neolithic “mince pies” could have been baked on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire using a flat stone or ceramic pot heated in the embers of a fire, much like a Welsh cake, it added.

Travelers visiting Stonehenge this month can sample a dish that may have been enjoyed by the monument’s builders some 4,500 years ago. As Alex Green reports for PA Media, volunteers with English Heritage, the organization that cares for the prehistoric site, are cooking up mince pies with ingredients used by these Neolithic workers, including hazelnuts and crab apples.

‘We know that midwinter and feasting were really important to the builders of Stonehenge,’ said Susan Greaney, the charity’s senior properties historian.

‘Thanks to the Stonehenge Riverside Project, we’re lucky to have evidence which tells us that they had access to nutritious fruit and nuts, and that they may even have made and cooked recipes.’  

Durrington Walls is two miles (3.2 km) north-east of Stonehenge, but it’s located within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

Earlier this month, a a series of deep pits which were discovered at Durrington Walls last year were confirmed as having been made by ancient Britons – after some experts dismissed them as mere natural features.

The 20 pits, which are more than 30 feet across and 16 feet deep, are arranged in a circle shape around Durrington Walls.  

Stonehenge Relevant Links
Rock cakes? Stonehenge builders may have enjoyed mince pies – The Guardian
Stonehenge builders fuelled themselves on sweet treats including ‘Neolithic mince pies’, excavation suggests – Daily Mail
NEOLITHIC MINCE PIE RECIPE: Download open fire mince pie recipe card. English Heritage
Stonehenge’s Builders May Have Feasted on Sweet Treats – The Smithsonian
Visit Stonehenge and sample a mince pie – Stonehenge Guided Tours
Stonehenge builders had a sweet tooth, artefacts suggest – BBC News
Stonehenge builders fuelled themselves on sweet treats, excavation suggests – The Evening Standard
Private Guided Stonehenge Tours with the local experts – The Stonehenge Travel Company

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News
http://www.Stonehenge.News





Stonehenge Winter Solstice Managed Open Access Arrangements 2021

28 11 2021

English Heritage are expected to offer a short period of access, from first light or safe enough to enter the monument field (approximately 07.30am until 10.00am) on the 22nd December. The winter solstice is one of the few times access is granted inside the stones. Sunrise is just after 8am on Wednesday 22nd December and visitors will be able to access the monument as soon as it is light enough to do so safely. This is subject of course to any changes in the coronavirus guidance.  

English Heritage is inviting people to watch from home as the Winter Solstice sunrise is going to be livestreamed from Stonehenge on the morning of Wednesday (December 22). 

It will be livestreamed for free on YouTube and English Heritage’s social media channels at 7.25am.  

Those wanting to mark the solstice at the site in person, which will be subject to any changes in government gudiance, legislation or public health advice, will need to take a lateral flow test before setting off and only travel if it is negative and they feel well. The charity will be encouraging the wearing of facemasks, providing regular hand sanitiser stations and making sure wherever possible that there is plenty of space to socially distance.

Woodhenge, Durrington Walls and Byway 12, aka “The Stonehenge Drove” is now closed in preparation for the #WinterSolstice.

INFORMATION ABOUT ATTENDING

Before coming to Winter Solstice, please read the English Heritage conditions of entry and information here and find answers to commonly asked questions below.

Is there parking available?

We encourage you to take public transport as there is limited parking available. English Heritage’s Solstice Car Parks open at 6am on Wednesday 22 December – there is no official parking provision before this time. To access the Solstice car parks, drivers should head to the Stonehenge Visitor Centre following Solstice signage and the directions of stewards in the local area. There will be a charge of £5 per vehicle and £2 per motorbike. Commercial vehicles are permitted on a strictly limited pre-booked basis only.

Blue badge parking is chargeable as above and located in the Visitor Centre car park, close to accessible toilets. A free shuttle bus will take visitors with accessibility needs to the Monument Field. Please ensure you bring and wear a face covering unless exempt.

The Visitor Centre is approximately a 20 minute walk from the Stonehenge Monument Field. Visitors with accessibility needs will take priority on shuttle buses. Those visitors who are able to do so should dress for the walk in sturdy shoes and bring a torch.

What public transport can I use?

There will be a bus service on the morning of 22 December operating between Salisbury New Canal Street, Salisbury Rail Station, Amesbury The Centre and the Stonehenge Car Park.

Please visit Salisbury Reds website for a timetable nearer the time.

What Covid safety measures are in place?

We are following all public health guidance regarding covid-secure outdoor events as we have done throughout the pandemic.  We strongly suggest that you take a lateral flow test in advance – and only attend if the result is negative. Our staff, and others working on site have been advised to do the same. Do not attend if you have Covid symptoms. Please remember to bring a face covering as you will be required to wear one in all indoor public places, including our shuttle buses. There will be plenty of friendly staff and volunteers on site to answer any questions or concerns and lots of signage in place reminding everyone to keep a safe space where necessary, and to indicate where hand sanitising stations can be found.

Can I bring my pet?

With the exception of assistance animals, no pets or other animals are allowed at Winter Solstice.

To see what else is prohibited, please read our Conditions of Entry page here.

Can I watch the sunrise on a live stream?

We will be live streaming the sunrise on the morning of 22 December for free on our digital channels. Visit the official Stonehenge or English Heritage Facebook page, or the English Heritage YouTube channel. Please beware of fake/scam Facebook pages, events and groups that might have been set up.

The solstice is the point in time when one hemisphere of the planet reaches the point tilted most towards the sun and the other is tilted furthest away. In the northern hemisphere, that gives us the winter solstice in December whilst in the southern hemisphere it is the summer solstice. After the shortest day, the days start getting longer and the nights shorter.

Stonehenge is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset.

Why is open access on the 22nd December?
Many people believe the Winter Solstice always falls on December 21, but because of a mismatch between the calendar and solar year, the December solstice is not fixed to a specific date.

This year, English Heritage says based on advice from the druid and pagan communities, the Solstice will be marked at Stonehenge on the morning of Wednesday December 22 December – the first sunrise following the astronomical solstice which occurs after sunset the previous day.

Access to Stonehenge for Winter Solstice is is subject to the Conditions of Entry. Please read these before deciding whether to attend.  Stonehenge is in a field on Salisbury Plain and the weather in December will be cold and wet.  Even if it isn’t raining, the ground will be wet from the dew and there may also be frost. Sensible footwear and warm, waterproof clothing is essential. Please note, parking charges apply.

DATE AND TIMES

Wednesday 22nd December 2021
6am: Limited car parking opens
7.45am (approximately depending on light levels): Monument field opens
8.09am: Sunrise
10am: Monument field closes

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY

Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site which has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Winter Solstice for thousands of years and is seen by many as a sacred site.

English Heritage is pleased to provide free Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for Winter Solstice and ask that if you are planning to join us for this peaceful and special occasion that you read these Conditions of Entry and the information provided on the following pages before deciding whether to come.

Please help English Heritage to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the Conditions of Entry and guidelines.  They have a duty of care to ensure public safety and are responsible for the protection of Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments.  If we are to ensure that future access is sustainable, it is essential that everyone observes and abides by these Conditions of Entry.

COME PREPARED

  • Stonehenge is in a field on Salisbury Plain and the weather in December will be cold and wet. Even if it isn’t raining, the ground will be wet from the dew. There may also be frost. Sensible footwear and warm, waterproof clothing is essential.
  • There is at least a 30 minute walk in low light or darkness, from the Visitor Centre to Stonehenge itself.  You are strongly advised to wear strong, waterproof footwear, and to bring a torch with you.  A shuttle will run from the Visitor Centre to the Monument and visitors with accessibility requirements will hve priority.  All other visitors should be prepared to walk.
  • There are no catering facilities in the monument field; however the café at the visitor centre will be open for hot drinks and breakfast rolls from 6am.

If you are considering visiting Stonehenge for the Winter Solstice celebrations and do not have transport, you may want to consider joining an organised tour with transport from London, Bath or Salisbury and save all the hassle and expense.  Stonehenge Guided Tours offer such tours and are the longest established company. Solstice Events offer small group tours from Bath and The Stonehenge Tour Company use only local expert guides and have a great reputation.

Stonehenge Winter Solstice Links:
Winter Solstice Livestream – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
The Rebirth of the Sun: the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Winter Solstice: Wild tales of slaughtered bulls, human sacrifice and much merriment – THE SCOTSMAN
The Rebirth of the Sun: the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Winter solstice: Why do pagans celebrate the shortest day of the year? THE TELEGRAPH
The Sun Stones: The Story of the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge Winter Solstice Tours from London – STONEHENGE GUIDED TOURS
Solstice at Stonehenge. From Past to Present. – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
What has Stonehenge got to do with the winter solstice? – METRO NEWS
Stonehenge Winter Solstice Tours from Bath – SOLSTICE TOURS U.K
Celebrate Winter Solstice at Stonehenge – HOLIDAY EXTRAS
Solstice and Equinox Experience Tours – SOLSTICE EVENTS UK
The Stonehenge Sostice Pilgrims – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge, the Winter Solstice, and the Druids – INTERESTRING ENGINEERING
Respecting the Stones.  Managed Open Access –STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News and Winter Solstice updates.





A series of deep pits which were discovered near Stonehenge last year have been confirmed as having been made by ancient Britons 

28 11 2021

New tests show neolithic pits near Stonehenge were human-made, 16ft craters near Neolithic site that experts wrote off as naturally occurring ‘blobs’ are confirmed as 4,500-year-old holes dug by ancient

Pits, which are around 30 feet across and 16 feet deep, were found in June 2020
Britons after scientists use underground mapping technology
They were arranged in a circle shape around the Durrington Walls Henge
It is two miles from the more famous Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire

The previously unknown subterranean ring is 20 times bigger than Stonehenge.

It is said to add to the evidence that early inhabitants of Britain, mainly farming communities, had developed a way to count, tracking hundreds of paces to measure out the pits.

It gives yet another twist to the story of the ancient monument.

Experts now believe that while Stonehenge was positioned in relation to the solstices, the boundary of pits may have had cosmological significance.

The team used groundbreaking technology to scan below the ground to detect where and when it had been disturbed. See relevant links below for full story.

The discovery is explored in a Channel 5 documentary titled Stonehenge: The New Revelations, to be aired on 9 December (9pm).

Relevant Stonehenge Links:
New tests show neolithic pits near Stonehenge were human-made – The Guardian
Stonehenge pits ARE man-made – The Daily Mail
New tests uncover Neolithic secret: ‘It’s one enormous structure’ – The Daily Express
Vast neolithic circle of deep shafts found near Stonehenge (June 2020) – The Guardian
Guided archaeological Tours of Stonehenge – Stonehenge Guided Tours
Visit Durrington Walls and Stonehenge with a local tour guide from Salisbury – The Stonehenge Travel Co.

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News
http://www.Stonehenge.News





Secrets of the Dead: The First Circle of Stonehenge. New evidence on the origins of Stonehenge is uncovered.

27 10 2021

A decade-long archaeological quest reveals that the oldest stones of Stonehenge originally belonged to a much earlier sacred site: a stone circle built on a rugged, remote hillside in West Wales. Using the latest tools of geotechnology, a dedicated team of archaeologists led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson (University College London) painstakingly searched for the evidence that would fill in a 400-year gap in our knowledge of the site’s bluestones. Secrets of the Dead reveals the original stones of Europe’s most iconic Neolithic monument had a previous life before they were moved almost 155 miles from Wales to Salisbury Plain.

The episode will be available to UK audiences via PBS America. PBS America is the British television channel from America’s Public Broadcasting Service, available 24 hours a day on Freeview 84, Freesat 155, Virgin Media 273, Sky 174, Samsung TV Plus and on-demand with the Amazon UK channel.

As a point of reference, the season 19 opener for Secrets of the Dead, which premiered in the US on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, is – as of now – scheduled for multiple airings through October 31, 2021. You can see its current schedule at https://www.pbsamerica.co.uk/series/magellans-voyage-search-for-the-spice-islands/#6228.

Mike Parker Pearson between two Stonehenge bluestones. Photo credit: Barney Rowe / © TomosTVSC

Stonehenge references:
Stonehenge: Did the stone circle originally stand in Wales? – BBC
Stonehenge and Wales connection revealed in BBC2 Lost Circle – Salisbury Journal
Was Stonehenge originally built in Wales? Archaeologists unearth remains of Britain’s third largest stone circle and claim it was ‘dismantled and MOVED to Wiltshire’ – The Daily Mail
Ancient Welsh circle at Waun Mawn is brother of Stonehenge – The Times
How Stonehenge could have evolved from an earlier Welsh stone circle – The Telegraph
Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed – what you need to know – Salisbury Journal
Guided Tours of Stonehenge with megalithic experts – Stonehenge Guided Tours
Stonehenge: Find backs theory that monument was dismantled and dragged over 140 miles to Wiltshire. – The Stonehenge News Blog
Dramatic discovery links Stonehenge to its original site – in Wales – The Guardian

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News
http://www.Stonehenge.News





For two weeks during September, English Heritage is carrying out repairs to the lintels at Stonehenge.

15 09 2021
  • Restoration work at Stonehenge has begun, with scaffolding erected inside ancient Salisbury monument
  • Strong winds buffeting the 4,500-year-old stone circle have taken their toll on its horizontal stones
  • Large-scale restoration this morning, with conservators seen scaling 22ft high scaffolding 
  • The last major job was conducted in 1958, when several stones were hauled back into place by Aubrey Bailey 
  • His son Richard Woodman-Bailey is being asked to place a £2 coin within Stonehenge at a ceremony 

For two weeks during September, English Heritage is carrying out repairs to the lintels at Stonehenge, replacing old degraded cement mortar that was used in the late 1950s to prevent weathering and secure the stones in position. The work will be heavily scrutinised by those on the project, in stark contrast to the work carried out in the 1950s.

Why are the stones being repaired?

Heather Sebire, English Heritage’s senior curator for the site, said: “Four-and-a-half-thousand years of being buffeted by wind and rain has created cracks and holes in the surface of the stone, and this vital work will protect the features which make Stonehenge so distinctive.”

Orientated towards the sunrise on the summer solstice, the sacred site includes several hundred burial mounds across the complex.

Scaffolding has been erected next to Stonehenge this morning as the ancient monument undergoes the first major repairs in more than six decades so cracks and holes in the stones can be refilled 

However, Stonehenge is showing its age, with laser scans showing the lintel stones, joints and concrete mortar that balance across the vertical pillars have heavily eroded.

The concrete mortar used in the most recent project is not breathable, leaving the ancient stones vulnerable from moisture. This moisture can freeze in winter, then when it thaws, leaves deep cracks.

Instead of using concrete, conservators and engineers are to use a more forgiving material, lime mortar.

This type of mortar keeps water out more efficiently and, when moisture does enter, it allows it to escape.

Unsheltered from the elements, Stonehenge is at the mercy of what ever nature throws its way. Thrashed by wind and rain, the UK’s every increasingly extreme weather is bound to take its toll on the ancient moment.

Visitors to Stonehenge will get a unique opportunity to see conservation in action while the work takes place. Stonehenge Guided Tours offer tours from London and can include the special access experience allowing you to enter the inner circle and get a closer look. The Stonehenge Travel Company offer guided tours from nearby Salisbury and Bath.

Relevant Stonehenge news Links:
Stonehenge restoration work begin. Daily Mail
Conservation project starts at Stonehenge – Salisbury Journal
Stonehenge project launched to repair deep lintel cracks – The Guardian
Stonehenge: English Heritage to repair cracked lintels – BBC News
Why is Stonehenge being repaired? – Wales Online
From Restoration to Conservation – English Heritage
Stonehenge to undergo first major repairs in 60 years to fill cracks and holes in monument – The Independent

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Study provides first glimpse inside one of the giant sarsen stones at Stonehenge.

7 08 2021
  • Scientists analysed a sample from one of the standing stones taken in the 1950s
  • The sample is made up of sand-sized quartz grains cemented tightly together 

Stonehenge may have lasted so long because of the unique geochemical composition of the standing stones, a new study suggests.  

Geochemical analysis shows Stonehenge may have survived so long due to sand-sized quartz grains that are cemented tightly together by an interlocking mosaic of crystals

An international team of scientists analysed wafer-thin slices of a core sample from one of the great sandstone slabs, known as sarsens, under a microscope.

The 3.5-foot-long sample, called Philip’s Core, was extracted more than 60 years ago and only returned to Britain two years ago after being kept souvenir in the US for decades.

In 1958, Robert Phillips, a representative of the drilling company helping to restore Stonehenge, took the cylindrical core after it was drilled from one of Stonehenge’s pillars — Stone 58. Later, when he emigrated to the United States, Phillips took the core with him. Because of Stonehenge’s protected status, it’s no longer possible to extract samples from the stones. But with the core’s return in 2018, researchers had the opportunity to perform unprecedented geochemical analyses of a Stonehenge pillar, which they described in a new study.

The researchers used CT-scanning, X-rays, microscopic analyses and various geochemical techniques to study fragments and wafer-thin slices of the core sample – such testing being off-limits for megaliths at the site.

They found that Stonehenge’s towering standing stones, or sarsens, were made of rock containing sediments that formed when dinosaurs walked the Earth. Other grains in the rock date as far back as 1.6 billion years.

RELEVANT STONEHENGE NEWS:
How Stonehenge’s stones have lasted so long: 20-tonne blocks are made up of interlocking quartz crystals that have stopped the monument weathering over the last 5,000 years, analysis reveals – Daily Mail
Long-lost fragment of Stonehenge reveals rock grains dating to nearly 2 billion years ago – Live Science
Stonehenge breakthrough as lost fragment of monument uncovers two billion-year-old secret – Daily Express
Petrological and geochemical characterisation of the sarsen stones at Stonehenge – Plos One
Researchers analyze rock grains from Stonehenge – Reuters
Specialist tour operator offering guided tours of the inner circle of Stonehenge – Stonehenge Guided Tours
The origin of the giant sarsen stones at Stonehenge has finally been discovered with the help of a missing piece of the site which was returned after 60 years. – Stonehenge News Blog

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Stonehenge’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status is under threat.

25 07 2021

Stonehenge could become the latest heritage site in the UK to lose its UNESCO status as a £1.7bn Government plan to build a new road and tunnel there could threaten its history, ministers have been told.

Stonehenge could be on the verge of losings its World Heritage status, if a planned £1.7bn road tunnel goes ahead.

The news comes just days after Liverpool was stripped of its Unesco status, one of just three places to have the ranking removed in almost 50 years.

The world’s most recognisable rock monument, near Salisbury, is expected to be next in line to face the axe from the UN-backed agency who are said to be considering placing it on its ‘in danger list’.

Stonehenge Avebury and Associated Sites was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1986, meaning has cultural, historical, or scientific value ‘considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

Internationally, Stonehenge is revered as one of the wonders of the world and is viewed alongside global treasures including the Taj Mahal, Pyramids of Giza and Machu Piccu. 

STONEHENGE A303 TUNNEL NEWS:

Stonehenge may be next UK site to lose world heritage status – The Guardian
Stonehenge could lose world heritage status following Liverpool – The Independent
Stonehenge ‘could lose World Heritage status’ due to £1.7bn road tunnel plan – The Mirror
Stonehenge could be next to lose Unesco world heritage status due to £1.7bn tunnel – The Daily Mail
A303 Stonehenge Tunnel | Court case has begun to determine lawfulness of planning decision – Stonehenge News Blog
The Knotty Problem of the A303 and Stonehenge.- Stonehenge News Blog
The Stonehenge Tunnel Debate – the good, the bad, and the ugly – Stonehenge News Blog

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