Orionid meteor shower 2016 to light up Wiltshire skies this October

9 10 2016

The Orionid meteor shower will be at its peak — 20 showers per hour — in the morning of  21st October 2016.

Sky gazers in the United Kingdom can brace themselves for a visual feast, thanks to the meteor shower that will light up the sky this October.

meteor-shower

A general view of Stonehenge during the annual Perseid meteor shower in the night sky in Salisbury Plain, southern England August 13, 2013. The Perseid meteor shower is sparked every August when the Earth passes through a stream of space debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle. Picture taken using a long exposure. [Representational image] Reuters

The meteor shower is called Orionid and originates from the remains of the Halley’s Comet. The shower is likely to take place from October 2 to November 7, a Science Alert report said.

The Earth passes through the Halley’s Comet trail twice annually. The last time the planet passed through the trail of Halley’s Comet was in May and Eta Aquarids meteor shower was observed.

The meteor shower will be at its peak — 20 showers per hour — in the morning of October 21 2016. However, scientists have said that the shower will be seen at pre-dawn from today up to October 15, as the moon is likely to hinder the visibility later on.

Various planets, stars and constellations can be observed this month along with the meteor shower. Uranus will be visible opposite the Sun in the east post sunset on October 15 and the full moon will aid the visibility.

Jupiter will be spotted along with its moon with naked eyes during dawn in the east on October 28. Saturn and Venus too will be seen too in the low south-west skies on October 30 and Venus will be more luminous than Saturn.

Aldebaran, the orange star which is known as the bull’s red eye of the constellation Taurus, might be seen in the dark skies on October 18. Also, radiant stars Alpha Leonis and Eta Leonis from constellation Leo can be seen before sunrise on October 25, National Geographic reported.

Article Source and more stories: International Business Times

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King Arthur takes council to court in Stonhenge parking row

30 09 2016

Even kings have problems with councils, it seems.

King Arthur in all his glory (Picture: SWNS)

King Arthur in all his glory (Picture: SWNS)

Arthur Pendragon, the self-titled druid king of Britain and who says he’s the reincarnation of King Arthur, is suing over a parking charge at Stonehenge.

He’s also taking action against a police force and English Heritage over the £15 fee.

King Arthur believes the charge is ‘illegal’ for worshippers to the stones for the summer solstice, dubbing ‘pay to pray’.

The charge was introduced for this year’s event on June 21, which saw 12,000 people flock to Stonehenge, in Salisbury, Wiltshire, to mark the longest day of the year.

When Mr Pendragon refused to fork out – saying the £15 fee is ‘grossly unfair’ as it is three times what tourists pay on any other day of the year – he was barred from the UNESCO World Heritage site.

The 62-year-old, who rides a motorbike, decided to take action against the ‘money-grabbing’ authorities because it breaches his human rights.

Mr Pendragon – an ex-soldier and biker gang leader who was born John Timothy Rothwell to parents May and Wilfred – said he will do ‘whatever it takes’ to win.

Who is the modern-day King Arthur?

Mr Pendragon is an English eco-campaigner and Neo-Druid leader of the Loyal Arthurian Warband, who believes he is the reincarnation of King Arthur.

He rose to fame in the 90s when he won a case at the European Court of Human Rights to allow open access to Stonehenge for religious festivals.

He said: ‘If you go to Stonehenge as a tourist today you will pay £5, but if you go there on the solstice as a pilgrim they make you pay ££15.

‘As soon as they bring in a parking charge, it means it is virtually impossible to attend unless you pay. They are stopping me from praying.’

English Heritage has previously stated that it needs to charge the fee as £60,000 is spent on parking facilities during summer solstice.

He said: ‘It is all about money. Stonehenge is getting 1.3 million tourists a year – it is English Heritage’s biggest cash cow.

Read the full story on the Metro website

More relevant links:

Arthur Pendragon Facebook Page: (Arthur is a Warrior, Druid, Witch and Pagan High Priest defending environmental and libertarian causes) https://www.facebook.com/arthur.rex.984

Arthur Pendragon at Stonehenge: Live Periscope video footage from the Autumn Equinox 2016 celebrations: https://www.periscope.tv/w/1vOxwRaaZMdJB

King Arthur launches Stonehenge parking legal action | Plymouth Herald

NEWS: Senior druid launches legal challenge over £15 parking charge at for solstice: http://www.spirefm.co.uk/news/local-news/2106390/king-arthurs-stonehenge-parking-wars-to-be-shown-on-tv/

King Arthur sues council, police and English Heritage over ‘pay to pray’ scheme: 

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Bronze Age burial near Stonehenge discovered by badger

9 02 2016

A Bronze Age cremation burial has been discovered near Stonehenge after being accidentally dug up by a badger.

bronze-age-find

An archer’s wrist guard and shaft straighteners were among the objects discovered

Objects found in a burial mound at Netheravon, Wiltshire, include a bronze saw, an archer’s wrist guard, a copper chisel and cremated human remains.

Experts believe the burial may have been that of an archer or a person who made archery equipment.

The artefacts date back to 2,200-2,000BC, senior archaeologist Richard Osgood, of the MOD, said.

The burial mound, about five miles north of Stonehenge, lies on MOD land.

Mr Osgood, from the MOD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation, said it was “an exciting find”.

“It was utterly unexpected. These are wonderful artefacts from the early Bronze Age, about 2,200-2,000 BC,” he said.

wilts-map

Other archaeological finds in Wiltshire:

1. Bronze Age burial discovered by a badger

2. Soldiers uncover 27 ancient bodies at Barrow Clump on Salisbury Plain

3. Researchers find large Neolithic site at Durrington Walls

4. Stonehenge dig finds 6,000-year-old encampment at Blick Mead

5. Bronze Age child’s skeleton discovered at Wilsford henge

6. Bronze Age jewellery discovered in a Wiltshire field

7. Iron Age woman’s footless body found near West Knoyle

8. Bronze Age hoard found near Tisbury


Also among the finds were shaft straighteners for straightening arrows, and pieces of pottery.

Mr Osgood said the badger had dug out the cremation urn and sherds of pottery were lying on the surface when they were spotted.

A full archaeological dig was then carried out on the site.

Mr Osgood said: “There are badger setts in quite a few scheduled monuments – the actions of burrowing animals is one of the biggest risks to archaeology in Britain – but to bring out items of this quality from one hole is unusual.

“We would never have known these objects were in there, so there’s a small part of me that is quite pleased the badger did this… but it probably would have been better that these things had stayed within the monument where they’d resided for 4,000 years.”

Injured military personnel and veterans helped to excavate the site.

The items are due to be put on display at Wiltshire Museum in Devizes later this year.

Read the full story (source) on the BBC website

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Designers appointed for A303 tunnel at Stonehenge

15 01 2016

A DESIGN consultant has been appointed to develop a preferred option to improve the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down in Wiltshire.

303-henge-road

Traffic queues along the A303 past Stonehenge in Wiltshire as people head away to the west country this weekend. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 5, 2013. Photo credit should read: Chris Ison/PA Wire

As part of a £15B strategy to invest in roads over the next five years, the government has pledged to improve this section of the A303, including a tunnel near Stonehenge and a bypass of Winterbourne Stoke.

Highways England has announced that a package of work with an estimated value of £17.5M has been awarded to an Atkins/Arup joint venture. The companies will develop options to take to public consultation and ultimately will announce a preferred route.

Once the preferred route has been announced, the Planning Inspectorate will examine the development in public, before the transport secretary makes any final approval. Construction work is expected to begin by April 2020.

By WGD_Mumby

Read more: http://www.westerngazette.co.uk/Designers-appointed-A303-tunnel-Stonehenge/story-28528092-detail/story.html#ixzz3xIEN8jG0

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Archaeologists Feud Over Second-Hand Stonehenge Theory

15 12 2015

The ink wasn’t even dry (or the bits weren’t even embedded in the Cloud) yet on the 2 Comments about a new theory that Stonehenge once stood in Wales before being moved to Wiltshire when a cry rose up from other archaeologists who claim that it was glaciers, not humans, that pushed the monoliths to their current resting place in Wiltshire. Who’s right, who’s wrong and what’s the betting line on the fight?

Stonehenge-585x306

The feud started with a report last week in the journal Antiquity that archaeologists from University College London (UCL) identified two quarries in Wales that matched some of the bluestones at Stonehenge. The more controversial part of the report was their belief that the stones were made into a monument in Wales which stood for a few hundred years before being toppled and moved to England, making Stonehenge what some were sacrilegiously calling a “second-hand monument.”

Just a week later, Dr. Brian John, Dr. Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd and John Downes thumbed their noses at their peers in a paper published in the journal Archaeology in Wales where they stated that there are “no traces of human intervention in any of the features that have made the archaeologists so excited.”

Path and distance the bluestones would have had to travel from Wales to Wiltshire

The stone of contention in this argument is foliated rhyolite debris – fragments of thinly-layered volcanic rock that were found at both sites, prompting the UCL team to declare that they came to Glastonbury with the bluestones from Wales. Dr. John’s team says the Irish Sea Glacier brought the foliated rhyolite debris (a great name for a heavy metal band) 500,000 years ago.

While Dr. John’s team agrees that the Welsh outcrops of Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-felin show signs of human campgrounds, there’s no evidence the Neolithic humans were quarrying monoliths and building a miniature Welsh Stonehenge. In fact, he suggests that the features the UCL team thought were evidence of quarry activity were actually made by the archaeologists themselves. As Dr. John eloquently puts it:

An expectation or conviction that ‘engineering features’ would be found has perhaps led to the unconscious fashioning of archaeological artifices.

Archaeologists at the site in Wales - are they finding evidence or creating their own?

Ouch! But Dr. John doesn’t stop there.

On the contrary, there is substantial evidence in favour of glacial transport and zero evidence in support of the human transport theory … We think the archaeologists have been so keen on telling a good story here that they have ignored or misinterpreted the evidence in front of them. That’s very careless. They now need to undertake a complete reassessment of the material they have collected.

Dr. John has taken the lead. Back to you, team from University College London.

Article by Paul Seaburn | Mysterious Universe

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Stonehenge researchers ‘may have found largest prehistoric site’

7 09 2015
Standing stones found buried near Stonehenge could be the “largest” intact prehistoric monument ever built in Britain, archaeologists believe.Large stones at Durrington Walls
The large stones are located around the edge of the henge at Durrington Walls (Image copyrigh Ludwig Boltzmann Institute)

Using ground-penetrating radar, some 100 stones were found at the Durrington Walls “superhenge”, a later bank built close to Stonehenge.

The Stonehenge Living Landscapes team has been researching the ancient monument site in a five-year project.

Finding the stones was “fantastically lucky”, researchers said.

The stones may have originally measured up to 4.5m (14ft) in height and had been pushed over the edge of Durrington Walls.

The site, which is thought to have been built about 4,500 years ago, is about 1.8 miles (3km) from Stonehenge, Wiltshire.

The stones were found on the edge of the Durrington Walls “henge”, or bank, an area which had not yet been studied by researchers.

Large stones at Durrington Walls
The stones could have measured up to 4.5m in height (Image copyright Ludwig Boltzmann Institute)

Lead researcher, Vince Gaffney said the stones were “lost to archaeology” but found thanks to modern technology.

National Trust archaeologist, Dr Nick Snashall said there were “hints” the stones could be buried in the landscape.

“In the field that lies to the south we know there’s a standing stone which is now the only standing stone, now fallen, that you can go up to and touch in the whole of the Stonehenge landscape,” he said.

“It’s called the Cuckoo Stone.

“If there are stones beneath the bank… they’re probably looking at stones of pretty much the same size as the Cuckoo Stone.”

Radar scanning at Durrington Walls, Wiltshire
Ground-penetrating radar was used to detect the large stones at Durrington Walls (Image copyright Geert Verhoeven)

Dr Snashall added there was a “sense” of an area set aside for the living and another for the dead at Durrington Walls – and that had changed over time.

“This gives us a a whole new phase that shows us that has started within 40 years of the site going out of use, or even less than that,” he said.

The findings are being announced later on the first day of the British Science Festival being held at the University of Bradford.

Large stones at Durrington Walls
The row of stones were standing over the edge of the bank of the henge (Image copyright Ludwig Boltzmann Institute)

Source and full story : BBC Wiltshire

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Stonehenge Opening Hours Summer 2015

21 07 2015

You now park over a 2 kilometres from Stonehenge itself, out of sight of the Stonehenge monument. Here there is a modern visitor centre and excellent exhibition and education facilities plus a spacious cafe and souvenir gift shop. A Stonehenge shuttle bus transports you between the visitor centre and the Stone Circle.  English Heritage advise to budget for a visit of around 2 hours. The Visit Wiltshire App is a must for those visiting Stonehenge and the surrounding area.

Last admission time is 2 hours before the advertised closing time.

Entrance to Stonehenge is now managed through timed tickets and advance booking is required. Booking is the only way to guarantee entry on the day and at the time of your choice. Advance bookings are advised!

A temporary coach park will be built near to Stonehenge, Wiltshire Council has agreed

This includes FREE visits by English Heritage and National Trust members (applicable to members of the National Trust in England only – does not include National Trust Scotland or other National Trust affiliated organisations).

1 JUNE – 31 AUGUST 2015

Monday 9:00 – 20:00
Tuesday 9:00 – 20:00
Wednesday 9:00 – 20:00
Thursday 9:00 – 20:00
Friday 9:00 – 20:00
Saturday 9:00 – 20:00
Sunday 9:00 – 20:00

1 SEPTEMBER – 15 OCTOBER 2015

Monday 9:30 – 19:00
Tuesday 9:30 – 19:00
Wednesday 9:30 – 19:00
Thursday 9:30 – 19:00
Friday 9:30 – 19:00
Saturday 9:30 – 19:00
Sunday 9:30 – 19:00

16 OCTOBER 2015 – 15 MARCH 2016

Monday 9:30 – 17:00
Tuesday 9:30 – 17:00
Wednesday 9:30 – 17:00
Thursday 9:30 – 17:00
Friday 9:30 – 17:00
Saturday 9:30 – 17:00
Sunday 9:30 – 17:00

HOLIDAY OPENING TIMES FOR THIS PERIOD

Christmas Eve
24 Dec 2015
Closed
Christmas Day
25 Dec 2015
Closed
Boxing Day
26 Dec 2015
10:00 – 16:00
Boxing Day Bank Holiday
28 Dec 2015
9:30 – 17:00
New Year’s Eve
31 Dec 2015
9:30 – 17:00
New Year’s Day
1 Jan 2016
10:00 – 16:00

Please visit the English Heritage Website for details and current prices

Visit Wiltshire Official Website
Salisbury Museum
Devizes Museum
Amesbury Museum
Stonehenge Transport from Salisbury
Stonehenge Guided Tours from London

Enjoy your visit to Stonehenge!

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Tunnel could have an “adverse impact” on Stonehenge, an advisory body on World Heritage Sites has warned.

30 11 2014

Stonehenge fears over A303 road tunnel plan

A planned dual carriageway and road tunnel could have an “adverse impact” on Stonehenge, an advisory body on World Heritage Sites has warned.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos), which advises Unesco, has expressed concern over plans for the project in Wiltshire.

The group wrote to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin earlier in November.

An announcement about upgrading the whole A303 is expected in the chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

The options include a 1.6-mile (2.5km) tunnel or two longer 1.8-mile (2.9km) tunnels that would run south of the current A303 route.

Proposals to build a tunnel beside Stonehenge were dropped seven years ago because of cost, but lobbying has continued from local councils.

A303 past Stonehenge
The A303 currently passes right past the Stonehenge site in Wiltshire
Stonehenge
The site is near Amesbury, thought to be the longest continuous settlement in the UK

Despite the road layout at Stonehenge being changed, the stretch of single carriageway still has many traffic jams.

In a letter seen by the BBC, the UK branch of Icomos said it wanted the government to “fully engage” with the World Heritage Committee to find a solution that “respects and maintains” the value of the “iconic and unique site”.

“We appreciate the very real need to address the issue of the A303 and recognise that a tunnel could have beneficial impacts on parts of the World Heritage property,” Icomos said.

“However, we are concerned that associated portals and dual carriageways could have a highly adverse impact on other parts of the World Heritage landscape that cannot be set aside, however great the benefits of a tunnel.”

The Department for Transport said it had “worked closely with key organisations” and “no decisions” had yet been made.

English Heritage, which runs the Stonehenge site, said the bottleneck road was “highly detrimental” to the ancient monument.

“We have met with a representative of Icomos UK to explain the work we’ve done and sought feedback on it,” a spokeswoman said.

Article Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-30248826

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Stonehenge Autumn Equinox (Mabon) 2014

21 09 2014

Autumn Equinox Stonehenge Open Access Arrangements: 23rd September 2014

This Tuesday Druids and pagans converge on the windswept English plains of Wiltshire to observe the annual rites of autumn. The occasion is the equinox, when the tilt of Earth’s axis is suspended between 12 hours of night and 12 hours of daylight.

Druid at Stonehenge.

Dawn: Stonehenge Autumn Equinox 2013

Mabon marks the middle of harvest, it is a time of equal day and equal night, and for the moment nature is in balance. It is  a time to reap what you have sown, of giving thanks for the harvest and the bounty the Earth provides. For finishing up old projects and plans and planting the seeds for new enterprises or a change in lifestyle. Mabon is a time of celebration and balance.

Actual Date and Time of Autumnal Equinox: 02.29 23rd September 2014

Access to the Stonehenge Monument Field from 06:15 (or first light) until 08:30 on 23rd September 2014
Parking is on both sides of Byway 12 – no parking on A344
Access to the Byway from 19:00 on 22nd September 2014 via the A344
Exit via A344 closes at 09:00 on 23rd September 2014
Disabled Parking: 8 spaces available in the VTS turning circle. These are permit-only and must be booked in advance by contacting Lucy Barker at lucy.barker@english-heritage.org.uk
**Conditions of entry

The new Stonehenge visitor centre is well worth a vist and opens at 9.30am. Visit the English Heritage website
Save time and buy entrance tickets in advance here:
Directions to Stonehenge: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/directions?lang=en&gclid=CMCjxJnd8cACFYXJtAod1xMAhw
Download the free English Heritage Stonehenge Audio Guide here: http://wp.me/pQAXF-yH

If do not have your own transport and are travelling from London then Solstice UK Events are offering their usual transport option with an expert guide. It can be booked here

**Stonehenge is a world renowned historic Monument and seen by many as a sacred site – please respect it and please respect each other!

Do not climb or stand on any of the stones – this includes the stones that have fallen. This is in the interest of personal safety, the protection of this special site and respect for those attending. As well as putting the stones themselves at risk,
climbing on them can damage the delicate lichens.

Merlin at Stonehenge
Follow Twitter@st0nehenge for Equinox updates





Amesbury – including Stonehenge – is the UK’s longest continually-occupied settlement

6 05 2014

Amesbury in Wiltshire confirmed as oldest UK settlement.

A Wiltshire town has been confirmed as the longest continuous settlement in the United Kingdom.

Amesbury - including Stonehenge - is the UK's longest continually-occupied settlement

Amesbury – including Stonehenge – is the UK’s longest continually-occupied settlement

Amesbury, including Stonehenge, has been continually occupied since BC8820, experts have found.

The news was confirmed following an archaeological dig which also unearthed evidence of frogs’ legs being eaten in Britain 8,000 years before France.

Amesbury’s place in history has also now been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records.

David Jacques, from the University of Buckingham, said: “The site blows the lid off the Neolithic Revolution in a number of ways.

“It provides evidence for people staying put, clearing land, building, and presumably worshipping, monuments.

“The area was clearly a hub point for people to come to from many miles away, and in many ways was a forerunner for what later went on at Stonehenge itself.

“The first monuments at Stonehenge were built by these people. For years people have been asking why is Stonehenge where it is, now at last, we have found the answers.”

Mr Jacques said the River Avon, which runs through the area, would have been like an A road with people travelling along it.

“They may have had the equivalent of local guides and there would have been feasting,” he added.

“We have found remains of big game animals, such as aurochs and red deer, and an enormous amount of burnt flint from their feasting fires.”

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The dig unearthed the largest haul of worked flints from the Mesolithic period

Previously, Thatcham in Berkshire, 40 miles from Amesbury, held the record for the longest continuous settlement in the country.

The dig in Amesbury also uncovered 31,000 worked flints in 40 days as well as animal bones such as frogs’ legs.

Mr Jacques said our ancestors were eating a “Heston Blumenthal-style menu”.

The find was based on a report by fossil mammal specialist Simon Parfitt, of the Natural History Museum.

Andy Rhind-Tutt, the founder of Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust, said there was “something unique and rather special about the area” to keep people there from the end of the Ice Age, to when Stonehenge was created and until today.

“The fact that the feasting of large animals and the discovery of a relatively constant temperature spring sitting alongside the River Avon, may well be it,” he said.

The dig was filmed and made into a documentary by the BBC, Smithsonian, CBC and others to be screened later in the summer.

The project was led by the University of Buckingham

Article source: BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-27238503

Historic Amesbury – the Home of Stonehenge

Nestling within a loop of the River Avon alongside the A303 just 1.5 miles from Stonehenge, Amesbury is a destination not to be missed. With recent evidence of continuous settlement since before 7500BC and a breath-taking Mesolithic collection that is greater in quantity (from one single location) than any other found in this country, the town’s new Museum at the Melor Hall, Church Street will amaze visitors with its story of life before the Stones and its mind blowing artefacts from the Town where History began.

Visit Wiltshire Website: http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/ideas-and-inspiration/amesbury-museum-and-heritage-centre-p1536253

Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust: https://www.facebook.com/AmesburyMuseum

Salisbury Reds (transport to and from Amesbury): http://www.salisburyreds.co.uk/ptv-amesbury.shtml

Local Tour Operators including Amesbury and Stonehenge:
Salisbury, Stonehenge and Sarum Audio Tours: http://www.salisburystonehengetours.co.uk/
The Stonehenge Travel Company: http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

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