New Stonehenge sunset alignment theory ‘shown to be correct’

25 06 2015

A new theory that the tallest stone at Stonehenge points towards the midsummer sunset has been observed to be correct, it has been claimed.

Stonehenge steward Tim Daw said his pictures of the midsummer solstice sunset on 20 June 2015 showed how it aligned to the tallest stone

Stonehenge steward Tim Daw said his pictures of the midsummer solstice sunset on 20 June 2015 showed how it aligned to the tallest stone

Earlier this year Tim Daw, a steward at the site, said he had discovered the previously unknown alignment, involving a line of stones at 80 degrees to the axis of the monument.

The theory was tested when the solstice sun set at 21:26 BST on Saturday.

Mr Daw said he was “really thrilled” at the finding.

“It wasn’t the best evening for a sunset picture as a bank of cloud came in at the wrong moment but it was close enough to prove the point,” he added.

“I put forward this theory. I said ‘this stone, the sun will set along its back’ [on] Midsummer. Yes it did.

“[There was] a wonderful sunset last night. We could see the sun going down directly in line with… the back of this stone. It was fantastic.”

Some 23,000 people attended the neolithic site at Stonehenge to watch the sun rise at 04:52 BST, while others gathered at the nearby Avebury stone circle.

The figure was down on the estimated 36,000 who attended last year and the 30,000-40,000 expected this year.

Wiltshire Police said the celebrations were “positive and peaceful”.

Article source: BBC Wiltshire

The Stonehenge News Blog





NEW THEORY: Stonehenge’s tallest stone ‘points at winter sunrise’

22 04 2015

The tallest stone at Stonehenge points towards the sunrise on the midwinter solstice, according to a new theory from an English Heritage steward.

Aerial photograph of Stonehenge
The newly observed alignment (red line) is at 80 degrees to the line of the axis of the monument (blue line)

Historians have long known the circle of stones is aligned with the midsummer sunrise but Tim Daw says the tallest one is lined up with the midwinter sun.

It was previously thought the stone had been put back at the wrong angle when it was re-erected in 1901.

But Mr Daw, who works there, says his research shows its angle is deliberate.

‘Botched job’

Mr Daw said: “The largest stone at Stonehenge is not where it ‘should’ be, it is twisted.

“This stone, Stone 56, is the tallest one at the end of the inner horseshoe of sarsen stones.

“Because it was put back to the vertical in 1901 it has been assumed that the twist is the result of the modern excavators botching the job.

Drawing of Stonehenge prior to 1901
The tallest stone in the monument was straightened in 1901

“My research shows that not only was the standing stone out of symmetry with the central solstice alignment originally, but that its now fallen partner had also been, and so were surrounding stones, including the Altar Stone.”

Mr Daw, who last year came up with evidence that the outer stone circle at Stonehenge was once complete, said his newly discovered alignment was at 80 degrees to the line of the axis of the monument, which points to midsummer solstice sunrise and midwinter sunset.

‘100 tonnes of stone’

“The stones point to the midwinter solstice sunrise and midsummer sunset,” he said.

“This alignment had been missed by previous investigators… as they used an idealised plan rather than an actual plan for their calculations.”

“This isn’t some nebulous sighting line on a distant star; this is 100 tonnes of stone deliberately pointing to the major event at the other end of the day the rest of the monument celebrates.

“One stone out of line might be a coincidence but that it is five of the major stones, at least, shows it was a designed feature.

“It shows what can be discovered by simple observation even in such a well-researched site as Stonehenge.”

Stonehenge
Tim Daw said the tallest stone (centre) was positioned to align with the midwinter sunrise

Director of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society (WANHS), David Dawson, said: “This is an interesting new idea which highlights the “skew” of the Stonehenge trilithons, which has been known for some time.

“It highlights the significance of the summer and winter solstices at Stonehenge, and the 80 degree angle between them.

“We know that the Bush Barrow lozenge, on display at the Wiltshire Museum, hints at this same significant astronomical feature.

“There will now be a debate between archaeologists and a re-examination of the evidence to test this new hypothesis.”

Jessica Trethowan from English Heritage said it was “an interesting idea”.

Mr Daw’s theory has been published in the latest WANHS magazine.

Midwinter sunrise at Stonehenge
People traditionally gather at Stonehenge for the winter and summer solstices

Read the full story on the BBC News website

The Stonehenge News Blog








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