November 2013


New research suggests stones came from Carn Goedog in Pembrokeshire – almost a mile from site of excavations

One of the mysteries of Stonehenge is how some of its stones were brought from Pembrokeshire in Wales to Wiltshire. Photograph: I Capture Photography/Alamy

One of the mysteries of Stonehenge is how some of its stones were brought from Pembrokeshire in Wales to Wiltshire. Photograph: I Capture Photography/Alamy

For almost a century archaeologists have been braving the wind and rain on an exposed Welsh hillside in an attempt to solve one of the key mysteries of Stonehenge.

But new research about to be published suggests that over the decades they may have been chipping away at the wrong rocky outcrop on the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire.

The work in the hills is a crucial element in the understanding of Stonehenge because it is generally accepted that the bluestones that form part of the ancient Wiltshire monument came from this remote spot in south-west Wales. One of the many huge puzzles remains how the bluestone from Wales travelled 190 miles to the heart of south-west England.

Since the 1920s much of the work in Preseli has focused on a spot known as Carn Meini. Now researchers are claiming that in fact the Stonehenge bluestones actually came from Carn Goedog – almost a mile away.

Richard Bevins, keeper of geology at the National Museum of Wales and one of those involved in the study, suggested he was not going to be terribly popular with some fellow experts.

“I don’t expect to be getting Christmas cards from the archaeologists who have been excavating at the wrong place over all these years,” he said.

The celebrated geologist Herbert Henry Thomas linked the Stonehenge bluestones with Preseli in 1923 and pinpointed the tor on Carn Meini as the likely source. Over the years teams worked assiduously on the spot searching for evidence of a Stonehenge quarry.

Two years ago there was excitement when a burial chamber was found, leading to speculation that this could be the resting spot of an architect of Stonehenge.

Now, using geochemical techniques, Bevins and his colleagues have compared samples of rock and debris from Stonehenge with data from the Preseli site and concluded the bluestones in fact came from Carn Goedog.

Bevins, who has been studying the geology of Pembrokeshire for over 30 years, said: “I hope that our recent scientific findings will influence the continually debated question of how the bluestones were transported to Salisbury Plain.”

There are different theories about how the bluestone may have got to Wiltshire. Some believe it was laboriously transported by man but there is another theory that it could have been swept east by glaciers.

Rob Ixer, of University College London, who also took part in the new research, said: “Almost everything we believed 10 years ago about the bluestones has been shown to be partially or completely incorrect. We are still in the stages of redress and shall continue to research the bluestones for answers.”

Bluestones are believed to have arrived at Stonehenge about 4,500 years ago. Some experts believe the bluestones – rather than the much larger sarsen stones that give Stonehenge its familiar shape – were the real draw because they were believed to have healing powers.

The paper setting out the discovery is to be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

: theguardian.com http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2013/nov/20/archaeologists-stonehenge-origins-wrong-place

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Stonehenge Tour Guide

Avebury Stone Circle rivals – some would say exceeds – Stonehenge as the largest, most impressive and complex prehistoric site in Britain. 

Built and altered over many centuries from about 2850 BC to 2200 BC, it now appears as a huge circular bank and ditch, enclosing an area of 281 ⁄2 acres (111 ⁄2 hectares), including part of Avebury village.Within this ‘henge’ ditch is an inner circle of great standing stones, enclosing two more stone circles, each with a central feature.

Avebury Stone Circle Tours

The site’s present appearance owes much to the marmalade heir Alexander Keiller, who excavated and re-erected many stones during the 1930s, and whose archaeological collections are displayed in the nearby museum. Many stones had been broken or buried in medieval and later times, one crushing its destroyer as it fell.

Avebury is part of a wider complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments, with many other ritual sites in English Heritage care. West Kennet Avenue joined it to The Sanctuary, and another stone avenue connected it with Beckhampton. West Kennet Long Barrow and Windmill Hill are also nearby, as is the huge and mysterious Silbury Hill. This extraordinary assemblage of sites seemingly formed a huge ‘sacred landscape’, whose use and purpose can still only be guessed at. Avebury and its surroundings have, with Stonehenge, achieved international recognition as a World Heritage Site.

Avebury Henge and Stone Circles are in the freehold ownership of The National Trust and in English Heritage guardianship. They are managed by The National Trust on behalf of English Heritage, and the two organisations share the cost of managing and maintaining the property.

Take a tour of Stonehenge and discover more about the neolithic man and the landscape they shaped. At Avebury, walk amongst the stones, visit the Alexander Keiller Museum to find out about the arcaeological excavations Keiller did in the 1930s and visit the Avebury Manor and Garden, nearby West Kennet Long Barrow.

Avebury Links:
The Henge Shop – a unique location in the centre of Avebury, the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world.
English HeritageAvebury Stone Circle.
Stonehenge Guided Tours: Stonehenge and Avebury Stone Circle Tours
National Trust:  Avebury Visitor Information Centre
Visit Wiltshire:
Official Wiltshire Tourism Authority

Avebury News Updates:
Follow Avebury Stone Circle on Twitter for all the latest news and events.

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Stonehenge Stone Circle Tour Guide

Needless to say ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ will be offering a small group guided tour from London on the 21st December 2013: http://stonehengetours.com/stonehenge-winter-solstice-tour.htm

Stonehenge News and Information

The celebration of the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge will take place at sunrise on Saturday 21 December 2013 (approximately 08:09 hrs).

English Heritage is pleased to be offering ‘Managed Open Access’ for those who wish to celebrate the Winter Solstice peacefully

Visitors will be allowed into the Monument when it is considered sufficiently light to ensure safe Stonehenge Winter Solsticeaccess. Entry will be available from approximately 07:30 hrs until 09:00 hrs when visitors will be asked to vacate the site. All vehicles must vacate the area by 09.30.

Access might not be possible if the ground conditions are poor or if it is felt that access might result ¡n severe damage to the Monument.

Toilets are available at Stonehenge for the duration of the access although these facilities will not be available prior to access commencing.

Public car parking will be made available on Byway 12, the old Visitor Centre Car Park…

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Clonehenge

Attention hengers of all kinds: Clonehenge’s 5th birthday is coming up on the 20th of this month, and what better way to celebrate than with photos of Stonehenge cakes?

Your challenge is to make a Stonehenge cake (or other dessert of your choice), and send us a photo (nancy (dot) wisser (at) gmail.com), or post it to our Facebook group or page, or address it to us on Twitter, @Clonehenge. These can be brilliant or lame. They don’t even have to be cakes. Any sweet goodie roughly Stonehenge-shaped will do.

We’ll love them regardless! We’ll post the pictures on Facebook, on Twitter, and on the Clonehenge blog itself, and then you get to eat your entry!

You make it, we post it, you eat it. Yum! Happy birthday to us.

Hengers, you may start your ovens!

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New exhibition and visitor centre at Stonehenge to open on 18th December 2013

The front elevation of the new visitor centre at Stonehenge -

The front elevation of the new visitor centre at Stonehenge

The first phase of the long-awaited improvements of the visitor experience of Stonehenge will be launched to the public before the year is out. English Heritage, which looks after Stonehenge, explained that the new building – located 1.5 miles from the World Heritage Site in Wiltshire – will house the first ever museum-quality permanent exhibition dedicated to the site. The exhibition is to be curated by English Heritage experts and will include a 360-degree virtual experience so that visitors can ‘stand in the stones’ before they enter a gallery presenting the facts and theories surrounding the monument through various displays and nearly 300 prehistoric artefacts. The archaeological finds exhibited were all discovered inside Stonehenge and many are on public display for the first time.

The approach to Stonehenge on the A303 road in 1930

The approach to Stonehenge on the A303 road in 1930 –

The centre will open with the first of many special temporary exhibitions. Set in Stone? How our ancestors saw Stonehenge will chart over 800 years of ideas and debate, from 12th-century legends to radiocarbon dating reports in the 1950s and will feature objects on loan from many national museums. “This world famous monument, perpetually described as a mystery, finally has a place in which to tell its story,” says Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage. “The exhibition will change the way people experience and think about Stonehenge forever – beyond the clichés and towards a meaningful inquiry into an extraordinary human achievement in the distant past. It will put at its centre the individuals associated with its creation and use, and I am very proud with what we have to unveil to the world in December.” Changes have also been made to the surroundings of the actual monument. These include the Avenue, Stonehenge’s ancient processional approach, which has been reconnected to the stone circle after being severed by the A344 road for centuries. The area will be grassy and free of traffic. A group of reconstructed Neolithic houses are scheduled to be opened by Easter 2014. The houses are the focal point of the outdoor gallery and are particularly special given that they have been built by volunteers and the structures are based on houses where the builders of Stonehenge may have lived. The interiors will even come with furniture and fittings. –

Written by Martha Alexander: Britain Magazine: See more at: http://www.britain-magazine.com/news/december-opening-for-new-stonehenge-visitor-centre/#sthash.S3981D7Q.dpuf

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Stonehenge Tourist Guide