Monday, 15 December 2014

Special shuttle buses from Salisbury for Winter Solstice Celebrations at Stonehenge.

SPECIAL shuttle buses will be taking people to Stonehenge this year to mark the Winter Solstice.
Salisbury Reds is running its 333 service between 6am and 7.25am from Salisbury New Canal on Monday (December 22) with buses returning from Stonehenge between 8.10am and 8.30am.

“Buses will leave Salisbury from early on Monday morning, to give customers plenty of time to reach the stones and mark the Winter Solstice in their own way,” said Salisbury Reds communications manager, Nikki Honer.
“We already work closely with English Heritage at Stonehenge - providing buses to the location for those wishing to leave their cars behind - but this is a very special occasion.
“The aim is to make it as easy as possible for people to come and take in the magical atmosphere here early on Monday morning.”
Tickets cost £10 for an adult return. These can also be used to travel back to Salisbury on the official tour bus for those wishing to leave the site later on. Child tickets (between 5 and 14 years) cost £5 return.
For more information about the shuttle service and its timetable visit

Article source (Salisbury Journal):

Stonehenge Guided Tours are offering their usual Winter Solstice tour from London that includes luxury return transport and the services of an expert guide.

Stonehenge Tour Guide

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Stonehenge and Avebury to be covered by same World Heritage Site management plan for first time

Comments can be made on a new management plan being drawn up for Stonehenge and Avebury, which are both being set to be covered by the same plan from 2015 for the first time.

Beth Thomas, Stonehenge World Heritage Site co-ordinator, said: "There has been a great deal in the national and local press about Stonehenge in the last few months.
"Most of the news has been around possible government investment in the A303 which may help to solve traffic problems and improve the World Heritage Site (WHS) landscape.

"Although roads are a very important issue there is a lot more to the protection and management of the World Heritage Site. 
"The new World Heritage Site Management Plan for the first time covers both Stonehenge and Avebury.
"Both Stonehenge and Avebury are globally important for their unique and dense concentration of outstanding prehistoric monuments and sites, which together form a landscape without parallel.
"The management plan provides a long term strategy to protect the World Heritage Site for this and future generations.
"Its main aim is to protect what makes the site internationally important and to achieve an appropriate balance with other interests such as tourism, farming, nature conservation, roads and traffic, research, education and the local community.

"The new plan has a greater focus on engaging the local community with the WHS and helping it to gain a greater economic benefit across the whole county from the WHS and its visitors."
Comments are now being invited on the management plan as part of public consultation which will run until March 1, 2015.

Changes to the plan, made in light of comments about it, will be made before the final version is submitted to the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO after its publication in 2015.
Comments can be made by completing an online survey which provides an opportunity to give feedback on the aims and priorities of the management plan.

Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites World Heritage Site was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1986. The World Heritage Site is managed in partnership by a large number of agencies, charities, individuals and organisations living and working in the site. 
The WHS Coordination Unit was formed In March 2014 with the aim of managing both parts of the Stonehenge and Avebury WHS together. The unit is a partnership between English Heritage, the National Trust and Wiltshire Council which is based at Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre as part of its heritage and arts team.  

You can meet the World Heritage Site team at:
• Tuesday, January 13 - Salisbury Library
• Thursday, January 15 - Avebury Social Centre
• Friday, January 16 - Amesbury Library
• Wednesday, January 21 - County Hall, Trowbridge
• Wednesday, January 28 - Marlborough Library
• Thursday, January 29 - Devizes Library

The consultation draft can be found at where the public can follow the link to an online survey.

Copies can be viewed at all Wiltshire Council libraries and at: County Hall, Trowbridge; Salisbury (27–29 Milford Street); Chippenham (Monkton Park); and Devizes (Snuff Street).
Completed response forms can also be emailed to or sent by post to: The WHS Coordination Unit, Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, SN15 3QN

Written comments must be received by noon on Monday, March 2, 2015

Full story in the Swindon Advertiser:

Stonehenge Tour Guide

An Anglo-Saxon decapitation and burial at Stonehenge An Anglo-Saxon decapitation and burial at Stonehen...: Mike Pitts just uploaded a paper on An Anglo-Saxon decapitation and burial at Stonehenge. View the paper here:  https://w...

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Learn about Stonehenge and Neolithic Britain with this new online course.

The most spectacular monument of the Neolithic is now a British icon and a World Heritage Site. Explore 5,000 years of Stonehenge and discover your own response to this enigmatic stone circle.

When was Stonehenge built?
Who built it?
How was it built?
Why was it built?

Answers cannot be promised to all of these, but we can get better at asking the questions and work towards solutions. We can look at how people have responded to Stonehenge. Most of all we can begin to think about what Stonehenge means to us.

What do I learn?
  • •To understand present archaeological thinking about Stonehenge.
  • •To evaluate responses to Stonehenge in art, literature, music, architecture and culture.
  • •To consider your own response to Stonehenge, expressed through two peer-evaluated mini-essays.
What do I need too know?
No entry requirements. This MOOC is open to all.
Course Structure

Chapter 1: The Stonehenge Landscape
 Stonehenge as a landscape of prehistoric sites. A historical context: the Mesolithic, the Neolithic and the building of the Stonehenge.
Chapter 2: Who built Stonehenge?
 Theories: when, by whom, how and why.

Chapter 3: Stonehenge Problems
 Context - the Stonehenge landscape: problems with transportation and erection. Part destruction - why and how?

Chapter 4: Responses to Stonehenge
 An array of responses: Geoffrey of Monmouth (1138); the antiquarian tradition, the temple and astronomic alignments traditions; various amateur theories; the archaeological traditions.
 Stonehenge, Woodhenge: monuments in a landscape
Chapter 5: Cultural Contexts
 Stonehenge in fiction, poetry, music, art and popular culture.
Chapter 6: Stonehenge Today
 Stonehenge as a cultural icon, emblem of Britain, World Heritage site and sacred space.
 Blick Mead as the cradle of Stonehenge.
Chapter 7: Reassessing Stonehenge
 Written activity as an assessment
Chapter 8: Responses to Stonehenge
 Examination of students' responses through their essays. Integration of blog, Wiki, Twitter and eBook as a way of continuing the discussion after the course.

Approximately two hours per week for watching video lectures, completing quizzes and homework assignments.

Course Instructor: Dr Graeme Davis

A Research Fellow at The University of Buckingham (UK), Dr Graeme Davis is a specialist in mediaeval language and literature, with interests in Stonehenge, the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Iceland, Greenland and the North Atlantic.

Enrol for free here:

Stonehenge Tour Guide

Monday, 6 October 2014

New exhibition to highlight the Stonehenge's impact on the First World War

A FASCINATING new exhibition telling the story of the world's largest military training camp opens at Stonehenge Visitors' Centre on November 5th

The exhibition, Soldiers at Stonehenge: Salisbury Plain and the journey to the First World War, will delve into the story of the estimated one million men who, between 1914 and 1918, were battle hardened at Stonehenge.
Records show 180,000 men were stationed at any one time on the plain during the First World War.
Their personal stories, photographs and original objects will form the basis of the exhibition but evidence of their presence can still be seen across the wider Stonehenge and Salisbury Plain landscape.
New exhibition to highlight the Stonehenge's impact on the First World War
New exhibition to highlight the Stonehenge's
 impact on the First World War
Robert Campbell, head of interpretation at English Heritage, which is staging the exhibition, said: "The task of these men was to overcome the horrific stalemate of trench warfare and to replicate conditions on the Western Front, soldiers dug intricate networks of trenches which were then pounded by shellfire. The exhibition will explore this aspect."
The war left its mark on the ancient archaeology of Salisbury Plain and the exhibition includes finds on loan from Wiltshire Museum including cap badges, rifle cartridges, aircraft parts and highly personal items such as a spoon and even part of a bottle of Australian hair tonic.
The war and the training camps have become part of the fabric of the modern history of Stonehenge with the human stories that emerged.
When the war broke out the site of the monument was owned by the Antrobus family. Lieutenant Edmund Antrobus, was the heir to Stonehenge, was killed in action at Ypres. His father, also Edmund, had been a professional soldier and had inherited Stonehenge as part of the Amesbury Abbey estate in 1899. He died soon after his son.
The death of owner and heir to Stonehenge led, in part to the monument being put up for sale at auction in 1915. It was bought by Cecil Chubb, a local barrister, who was the last person to privately own it.
The exhibition is on for six months and admission is included in the Stonehenge entry price.
Article in the Salisbury Journal

Stonehenge Tour Guide

Friday, 3 October 2014

Beyond Stonehenge: Mysterious stone circles in Great Britain

Grand, centuries-old cathedrals distinguish Great Britain's cities and towns, providing spiritual nourishment to those who visit. These places of worship seem ancient almost beyond imagination. But long before Gothic cathedrals ... long before recorded history even, Britain's stone circles were this land's sacred spots.
Stonehenge is the most famous of these — and has a new visitors center to serve nearly one million annual sightseers. As old as the pyramids, this site amazed medieval Europeans, who figured it was built by a race of giants. Archaeologists think some of these stones came from South Wales — 150 miles away — probably rafted then rolled on logs by Bronze Age people.

Most believe stone circles functioned as celestial calendars, and even after five thousand years Stonehenge still works as one. As the sun rises on the summer solstice (June 21), the "heel stone" — the one set apart from the rest — lines up with the sun and the altar at the circle's center. With the summer solstice sun appearing in just the right slot, prehistoric locals could tell when to plant and when to party.

Despite the tourist hordes, Stonehenge retains an air of mystery and majesty (partly because smartly designed barriers, which keep visitors from trampling all over it, foster the illusion that it stands alone in a field).

While Stonehenge is viewable only from a distance, Britain is dotted with roughly 800 lesser-known stone circles. A favorite is Avebury. Just 19 miles north of Stonehenge, it's 16 times as big. And Avebury is a megalithic playground, welcoming kids, sheepand anyone interested in a more hands-on experience. Visitors are free to wander among its 100 stones, ditches, mounds, and curious patterns from the past, as well as stroll in the village of Avebury, which grew up around and even within this fascinating 1,400-foot-wide Neolithic circle.

In the 14th century, in a frenzy of religious paranoia, Avebury villagers buried many of these mysterious pagan stones. Their 18th-century descendants hosted social events in which they broke up the remaining stones. In modern times, the buried stones were dug up and re-erected. On a recent visit, enjoying the half-mile walk along the perimeter path, I tried to make sense of the earthen ditch and bank, grateful for the concrete markers showing where the missing broken-up stones once stood.
In the moorlands of southwest England, smaller stone circles composed of weathered craggy rocks are even more evocative. (Good local maps mark them.) Windswept and desolate, Dartmoor National Park has more of these than any other chunk in the country. On one visit, I trekked from the hamlet of Gidleigh through a foggy world of scrub brush and scraggy-haired goats on a mission to find a 4,000-year-old circle of stone. Venturing in the pristine vastness of Dartmoor, I sank into the powerful, mystical moorland — a world of greenery, eerie wind, white rocks, and birds singing but unseen.

Climbing over a hill, surrounded by sleeping towers of ragged, moss-fringed granite, I was swallowed up. Hills followed hills followed hills — green growing gray in the murk.
Then the stones appeared, frozen in a forever game of statue maker. For endless centuries they waited patiently, still and silent, as if for me to come. I sat on a fallen stone, observing blackbirds and wild horses. My imagination ran wild, pondering the people who roamed England so long before written history, feeling the echoes of druids worshipping and then reveling right here.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Sunday, 24 August 2014

What Lies Beneath Stonehenge? A groundbreaking new survey offer more clues.

A groundbreaking survey of the site has turned up tantalizing new clues to what really went on there.

We walked the Avenue, the ancient route along which the stones were first dragged from the River Avon. For centuries, this was the formal path to the great henge, but now the only hint of its existence was an indentation or two in the tall grass. It was a fine English summer’s day, with thin, fast clouds above, and as we passed through fields dotted with buttercups and daisies, cows and sheep, we could have been hikers anywhere, were it not for the ghostly monument in the near distance.

(Photo by Henrik Knudsen, with thanks to English Heritage)

Faint as the Avenue was, Vince Gaffney hustled along as if it were illuminated by runway lights. A short, sprightly archaeologist of 56, from Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast England, he knows this landscape as well as anyone alive: has walked it, breathed it, studied it for uncounted hours. He has not lost his sense of wonder. Stopping to fix the monument in his eyeline, and reaching out toward the stones on the horizon, he said, “Look, it becomes cathedralesque.”

Gaffney’s latest research effort, the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, is a four-year collaboration between a British team and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Austria that has produced the first detailed underground survey of the area surrounding Stonehenge, totaling more than four square miles. The results are astonishing. The researchers have found buried evidence of more than 15 previously unknown or poorly understood late Neolithic monuments: henges, barrows, segmented ditches, pits. To Gaffney, these findings suggest a scale of activity around Stonehenge far beyond what was previously suspected. “There was sort of this idea that Stonehenge sat in the middle and around it was effectively an area where people were probably excluded,” Gaffney told me, “a ring of the dead around a special area—to which few people might ever have been admitted....Perhaps there were priests, big men, whatever they were, inside Stonehenge having processions up the Avenue, doing...something extremely mysterious. Of course that sort of analysis depends on not knowing what’s actually in the area around Stonehenge itself. It was terra incognita, really.”

Nobody has yet put a spade in the ground to verify the new findings, which were painstakingly gathered by geophysicists and others wielding magnetometers and ground-penetrating radars that scan the ground to detect structures and objects several yards below the surface. But Gaffney has no doubt of the work’s value. “This is among the most important landscapes, and probably the most studied landscape, in the world,” he says. “And the area has been absolutely transformed by this survey. Won’t be the same again.”

The joys and frustrations of all archaeological study—perhaps all historical inquiry—come into particularly sharp relief at Stonehenge. Even to the most casual observer, the monument is deeply significant. Those vast stones, standing in concentric rings in the middle of a basin on Salisbury Plain, carefully placed by who-knows-who thousands of years ago, must mean something. But nobody can tell us what. Not exactly. The clues that remain will always prove insufficient to our curiosity. Each archaeological advance yields more questions, and more theories to be tested. Our ignorance shrinks by fractions. What we know is always dwarfed by what we can never know.
Take the big question: Was Stonehenge predominantly a temple, a parliament or a graveyard? Was it a healing ground? We don’t know, for sure. We know that people were buried there, and that the stones are aligned in astronomically important ways. We also understand, because of the chemical composition of animal bones found nearby and the provenance of the stones, that people traveled hundreds of miles to visit Stonehenge. But we cannot say, with certainty, why.
A full map of the project’s findings is to be presented September 9 at the British Science Festival in Birmingham, England. (David Preiss)
Try a simpler question: How did the bluestones, which weigh between four and eight tons apiece, arrive at the site, nearly 5,000 years ago, from 170 miles away in North Wales? Land or sea? Both alternatives explode with possibilities, and nobody has an impregnable theory. Mike Parker Pearson of University College London is working on a new idea that the bluestones might have been lifted onto huge wooden lattices and carried by dozens of men to the site. But it’s just a theory. We can’t know, definitively. We can only have better-informed questions.
The ineffability of Stonehenge has not dulled our appetite. The site has long proved irresistible to diggers. In 1620, the Duke of Buckingham had his men excavate right in the center of the monument. Although they did not know it at the time, they dug on the site of a prehistoric pit. Buckingham’s men found skulls of cattle “and other beasts” and large quantities of “burnt coals or charcoals”—but no treasure, as they had hoped.
In the 19th century, “barrow-digging,” or the excavation of prehistoric monuments and burial hills, was a popular pastime among the landed gentry. In 1839, a naval officer named Captain Beamish dug out an estimated 400 cubic feet of soil from the northeast of the Altar Stone at Stonehenge. As Parker Pearson notes in his book Stonehenge, Beamish’s “big hole was probably the final blow for any prehistoric features...that once lay at Stonehenge’s century
            Work at Stonehenge became less invasive. In 1952, Willard Libby—the American chemist and later a Nobel Prize winner—used his new radiocarbon dating technique on a piece of charcoal from a pit within Stonehenge to date the monument to 1848 B.C., give or take 275 years. That date has since been refined several times. The prevailing opinion is that the first stones were erected on the site around 2600 B.C. (although the building of Stonehenge was carried out over a millennium, and there were centuries of ritual activity at the site before the stones were in place).
In 2003, Parker Pearson conducted his own survey, concentrating on the nearby settlement at Durrington Walls and the area between there and the River Avon. Based on huts, tools and animal bones he uncovered, he concluded that Durrington Walls likely housed the workers who built Stonehenge. Based on an analysis of human remains he later excavated from Stonehenge, he also surmised that, far from being a site of quotidian religious activity, Stonehenge served as a cemetery–a “place for the dead.”

Stonehenge Tour Guide

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Homes of Neolithic builders recreated at Stonehenge

Five Neolithic homes have been constructed at Stonehenge to help reveal how those who built the famous stone structure would have lived 4,500 years ago.

The houses have the walls made of white chalk and a thatched roof of straw daub and wheat, and are based on remains of such buildings found under a mile away at Durrington Walls.
Each house is made up of a single room around 5m across, with a fire at the centre with the smoke filtered up through the roof.
Volunteers constructing an experimental Neolithic house at Old SarumSusan Greaney, Senior Properties Historian at English Heritage, said:
“One of the things we’re trying to do at Stonehenge is to re-connect the ancient stones with the people that lived and worked in the surrounding landscape.
“Now visitors can step through the door of these houses and get a real sense of what everyday life might have been like when Stonehenge was built. These houses are the result of careful analysis of the archaeological evidence, educated guess work, and a lot of hard physical work.”

Stonehenge Tour Guide

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Summer Solstice 2014 at Stonehenge Arrangements Summer Solstice 2014 at Stonehenge Arrangements: Celebrating the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge ...

Monday, 28 April 2014

Apple's Maps App Gets 3-D Flyover Support For Mysterious Stonehenge

One of the most fascinating and least understood world landmarks is now making an appearance on Apple’s Maps app. Stonehenge, the circular stone structure located two hours outside of London, is viewable through the app’s 3-D flyover feature.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Stonehenge was likely built anywhere between 3000 BC and 2000 BC. Its exact origins are unknown.
Earlier this month, Apple added 3-D coverage in the iOS Maps app for areas of California including Berkeley and the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Last month, Apple added 3-D flyover support for three new cities: Perth (Australia), Saint-Tropez (France), and Cordoba (Spain).
To take a tour of Stonehenge, or any of the locations mentioned above, simple enter the name into the Maps’ search box.

BY Bryan M. Wolfe:

Stonehenge Guide

Friday, 14 March 2014

Spring or Vernal Equinox Stonehenge 2014 Spring or Vernal Equinox Stonehenge 2014: The 'Managed Open Access' at Stonehenge for the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, will be from approximately 05.45 am until 08.30 on 20th Mar...

Summer Solstice Celebrations at Stonehenge 2014 Summer Solstice Celebrations at Stonehenge 2014: An email from English Heritage: Summer Solstice • Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice will take place overnight on 20/21 June 20...

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Stonehenge 'may have been giant musical instrument'

Stonehenge may have been used as a giant musical instrument, according to a study.
Researchers from the Royal College of Art discovered that the central Blue Stones, which originated in South Wales, had musical tones when struck.
The theory could explain why the stones were arranged in a circle - so the sound would resonate.
Paul Devereux, who part led the study, told BBC Radio 5 live's Drive: "We do know such rocks were deemed very important in other parts of the ancient world."

Watch the video here:

Stonehenge Tour Guide

Sunday, 26 January 2014 The Tridendron of Stonehenge The Tridendron of Stonehenge: I have been trying to find a picture of the wooden strut - two legs and a cross piece that was erected under the lintel of the Stones 6 &amp...

The Tridendron of Stonehenge The Tridendron of Stonehenge: I have been trying to find a picture of the wooden strut - two legs and a cross piece that was erected under the lintel of the Stones 6 &amp...

Friday, 17 January 2014