March 2013


  • More than a million  people visit Stonehenge every year – but it has been roped off from the public  since 1977
  • A new £27million centre  nearby will contain a 360-degree cinema screen with a 100ft  circumference

Visitors to Stonehenge will again be able to  experience standing inside the ancient stone circle thanks to a 360-degree  cinema.

The battle for access to the World Heritage  site has been fought for many years, with campaigners wanting to be allowed into  the world-famous monument.

At last, protestors may partially get their  wishes, as English Heritage is developing a solution – a virtual visit in a  panoramic cinema

New evidence: Studies of cremated human remains show that a larger stone circle was erected at the same site as a community graveyard

New evidence: Studies of cremated human remains show that a larger stone circle was erected at the same site as a community graveyard

The picturehouse will be the jewel in the  crown of a new £27million centre and will include a 32ft landscape wall, on to  which computer generated images of the countryside around the circle and other  ancient earthworks will be projected.

The new auditorium’s 100ft circumference is  smaller than the actual stone circle, which is around 300ft. It’s expected to be  built just over a mile from the stones.

Also planned are films providing information  about the monument and prehistoric items, exploring theories over the uses of  Stonehenge.

The picturehouse will be the jewel in the  crown of a new £27million centre and will include a 32ft landscape wall, on to  which computer generated images of the countryside around the circle and other  ancient earthworks will be projected.

The new auditorium’s 100ft circumference is  smaller than the actual stone circle, which is around 300ft. It’s expected to be  built just over a mile from the stones.

Also planned are films providing information  about the monument and prehistoric items, exploring theories over the uses of  Stonehenge.

New studies of cremated human remains  excavated from the site suggest that about 500 years before the Stonehenge we  know today was built, a larger stone circle was erected at the same site as a  community graveyard, researchers said.

‘These were men, women, children, so  presumably family groups,’ University College London professor Mike Parker  Pearson, who led the team, said.

‘We’d thought that maybe it was a place where  a dynasty of kings was buried, but this seemed to be much more of a community, a  different kind of power structure.’

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

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

However, English Heritage does permit access  during the summer and winter solstice, and the spring and autumn equinox.

British researchers have proposed a new  theory for the origins of Stonehenge:  It may have started as a giant burial  ground for elite families around  3,000 B.C.

By Fiona Keating Daly Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2298923/Panoramic-virtual-views-Stonehenge-wow-visitors-32ft-landscape-wall.html

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Stonehenge News and Information

Archaeologists back conflicting theories on Britain’s greatest prehistoric monument

It already attracts more than a million visitors a year. Yet these numbers could be dwarfed once Stonehenge, one of the world’s greatest prehistoric monuments, completes its radical facelift

Over the next year, the nearby A344 will be closed and grassed over. A new visitor centre will be built a mile and a half from the monument and tourists will be encouraged to explore the ancient landscape around the 5,000-year-old complex.

The makeover falls short of plans, since scrapped, that would have seen all major thoroughfares in the area diverted through tunnels. Nevertheless Stonehenge should be returned to something like its past glory, it is hoped, and then attract even greater numbers of visitors seeking to understand the purpose of this vast, enigmatic edifice.

For centuries, historians and archaeologists have speculated about the reason for the monument’s construction. Suggestions have ranged…

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Stonehenge News and Information

Dating cremated bone fragments of men, women and children found at site puts origin of first circle back 500 years to 3,000BC

Centuries before the first massive sarsen stone was hauled into place at Stonehenge, the world’s most famous prehistoric monument may have begun life as a giant burial ground, according to a theory disclosed on Saturday.

More than 50,000 cremated bone fragments, of 63 individuals buried at Stonehenge, have been excavated and studied for the first time by a team led by archaeologist Professor Mike Parker Pearson, who has been working at the site and on nearby monuments for decades. He now believes the earliest burials long predate the monument in its current form.

The first bluestones, the smaller standing stones, were brought from Wales and placed as grave markers around 3,000BC, and it remained a giant circular graveyard for at least 200 years, with sporadic burials after…

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Thousands of people came from across Britain to help build Stonehenge, experts investigating the origins of the monument have said.

They said people travelled from as far afield as the Scottish Highlands.

The latest findings about Stonehenge come after a decade of research

The latest findings about Stonehenge come after a decade of research

Researchers from University College London said their findings overturned what was thought about the origins of the monument.

Until now it had been thought that Stonehenge was built as an astronomical calendar or observatory.

The latest findings, which came after a decade of research, suggested it was the act of building the monument rather than its purpose that was key.

The researchers believed as many as 4,000 people gathered at the site, at a time when Britain’s population was only tens of thousands.

‘Not all fun’

Analysis of animal teeth found at a nearby settlement suggested people travelled the length of the country to help with the building.

Professor Mike Parker Pearson, from University College London, said the scene would have resembled a cross between the Glastonbury Festival and a motorway building scheme.

He said a settlement at nearby Durrington Walls had about 1,000 homes, the “largest Neolithic settlement in the whole of northern Europe”.

Prof Parker Pearson said: “What we have discovered is it’s in building the thing that’s important. It’s not that they’re coming to worship, they’re coming to construct it.”

He added: “It’s something that’s Glastonbury Festival and a motorway building scheme at the same time. It’s not all fun, there’s work too.”

The academics suggested that Stonehenge was built about 200 years earlier than previously thought, some 4,500 years ago.

Their findings will be revealed in a Channel 4 documentary, Secrets of the Stonehenge Skeletons.

Full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21724084

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Work on the new visitor centre at Stonehenge is ‘progressing well’, according to English Heritage.

The new facility, set back from the famous stones, will feature two pods housing exhibitions, a dedicated education space, a bigger shop and cafe. When open it will be able to cater for 500 visitors.

visitor-centre-2The centre is part of a £27 million pound project almost entirely funded by English Heritage, and will be open to the public by the end of the year.

Plans for a new visitors area were first mooted over 20 years ago, when the current facilities – built in 1968 as a temporary measure – were branded a national disgrace. The current project has also faced difficulty – with the coalition withdrawing funding in 2010.

The new facility was designed by architectural firm Denton Corker Marshall and is being built by Vinci Construction.
Loraine Knowles is Stonehenge Director for English Heritage, she told Spire FM:

“I’m absolutely thrilled, because when you’ve worked four years on a project, to actually see it start, and to see the construction underway is thrilling, and it’s a tribute to all the hardwork people have put in.”

David Andrews, Chief Executive for Visit Wiltshire, told Spire FM how it might boost tourism in Wiltshire:

“What happens now of course is that lots of people come to Stonehenge for 20 minutes, and they jump off the coach, they take their photo, they zip down to Bath and they’ve gone. They’re not spending any money in Wiltshire.”

“This means people will have to stay here longer, they’ll be thinking maybe I have to stay here overnight. So I think this is going to have a big impact in terms of people staying overnight in Wiltshire, coming back to Wiltshire, and of course, spending money in Wiltshire.”

Link source: http://www.spirefm.co.uk

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