Stonehenge new visitor centre


A 360 degree cinema is being developed so visitors to Stonehenge can experience standing inside the ancient circle.

Access to Stonehenge has been fiercely contested for decades, with campaigners arguing that they should be allowed into the stone circle.

A 360 degree cinema is being developed so visitors to Stonehenge can experience standing inside the ancient circle.

Stonehenge receives one million visitors a year and is a World Heritage Site. Photo: Christopher Jones for the Telegraph

Now, English Heritage has developed a possible solution, a virtual visit in a 360 degree cinema where visitors can “experience” standing in the ancient circle.

It will be the centrepiece of a new £27 million centre at the site and is one of a number of audio visual attractions being built to bring the prehistoric monument to life.

These 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.

In addition, there will be five “people films”, shown on screens in one of the two vast pods being built to house the visitor centre. These will provide information about the monument and prehistoric items on display.

There will also be films exploring the conflicting theories over the establishment and use of the circle.

Outside the centre, replica Neolithic dwellings are being built, where visitors will be able to see how early inhabitants of the sites lived.

The plans for the centre are revealed in a series of tender documents from English Heritage, seeking firms to provide the technological content for the audio visual displays. The documents describe the “immersive 360 degree projected film” as the “most important and high profile piece of audio visual ever undertaken by EH”.

The new auditorium’s 100ft circumference will compare with about 300ft in the actual stone circle.

Robert Campbell, the head of interpretation at the centre, said: “It’s meant to give people a sense of what it is like to stand in the middle of Stonehenge because most people just won’t be able to do that. It won’t feel like you are standing in a computer programme. The idea is to take our visitors back in time.”

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.

Visitors are now kept a short distance away, although English Heritage does permit access during the summer and winter solstice, and the spring and autumn equinox. Some access visits early in the morning or late in the evening can also be booked.

Stonehenge receives one million visitors a year and is a World Heritage Site. The multi-million project is being built 1.5 miles from the stones.

Article source: By , and David Barrett (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/archaeology/9950377/Stonehenge-visitors-to-experience-standing-in-the-ancient-circle.html)

Stonehenge Tour Guide

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Work has just started to test build three Neolithic houses which will form the focal point of the outdoor gallery of the new visitor centre and complement the stunning permanent exhibition indoors to tell the story of Stonehenge in vivid detail.

Rare examples of ten Neolithic houses were discovered at Durrington Walls as part of the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2006 and 2007. Although they provided a lot of archaeological evidence on which to base this project, the appearance of the houses above ground is not known and some educated guess work is needed to build the reconstructions.

Computer-generated image of how the new outdoor gallery will look

Computer-generated image of how the new outdoor gallery will look

In order to conduct various experiments to test things like roofing materials and construction techniques, around 60 volunteers are helping us to building prototypes of these houses at Old Sarum Castle, under the guidance of English Heritage and the Ancient Technology Centre experts.

Event at Old Sarum

We are holding three open days at Old Sarum Castle to allow the public to see the Neolithic house prototypes from Saturday 25 to Monday 27 May. If you fancy brushing up even further on your knowledge of prehistoric life, you can also join one of our tours. These last for 1 hour 30 minutes and include hands-on activities. Tickets can be purchased at the site on the day. For more information please contact 0800 333 1183.

Links Source: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/our-plans/project-update/

  • 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

STONEHENGE TOUR GUIDE

Work on a multimillion-pound visitor centre at Stonehenge is progressing well, English Heritage has said.

The £27m scheme, which includes grassing over the road alongside the ancient monument, is due to be complete by the end of the year.

Car and coach parks have been laid out and the visitor centre’s roof is ready to be installed, the charity said.

Stonehenge director Loraine Knowles said the building was “just one aspect in transforming” the site.

Work on the new galleries and facilities, being built about a mile-and-a-half (2.4 km) west of the stones, began in July.

Two “single-storey pods” covered by a canopy roof are being built to house an exhibition and education space, cafe, shop and toilets.

A section of the A344, which runs next to the World Heritage Site, is due to be closed at the end of June and grassed over.

The remainder of the A-road will be closed to traffic in late 2013, to allow a shuttle to operate between the visitor centre and the stones.

‘Uplifting experience’

“The way in which people visit Stonehenge in the future will change,” said Ms Knowles.

The new visitor building for Stonehenge​ The visitor centre is expected to open in late 2013

“The construction of the visitor building is just one aspect in transforming what is widely agreed to be an unsatisfactory tourist and cultural experience.

“We will be uplifting the whole experience to a level that befits this extraordinary and important monument, not just upgrading the visitor facilities, important though those are.”

Stonehenge, constructed between 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC, is thought to have been used for a variety of religious ceremonies.

It attracts around 900,000 visitors a year – about 70% come from abroad.

Full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-21499114

Stonehenge News

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PLANS for a new visitors’ centre for Stonehenge have been unveiled.

Visitor centre plans unveiled for Stonehenge

English Heritage has now submitted a planning application for the centre, which will be located one-and-a-half miles from the monument.

It has been designed to blend in with its surroundings, and the centre will not be visible from the stones themselves.

The exhibitions, café, shop and toilets will be housed in a pair of single-storey areas – one glass, the other timber-enclosed – sitting beneath a gently undulating roof. The centre will be linked to the Stones by a low-key transit system.

English Heritage’s Stonehenge project director Loraine Knowles said: “The new centre is designed to blend into the World Heritage landscape which visitors will pass through on their way to the Stones.

“It will provide enhanced opportunities for education and interpretation, and have first class facilities in keeping with Stonehenge’s status as a world-renowned tourist attraction.”

Stephen Quinlan, director of architects’ Denton Corker Marshall, said: “Designing a visitor centre at a site of such importance is both a major challenge and a serious responsibility. Our proposal, above all, seeks not to compromise the solidity and timelessness of the Stones, but to satisfy the brief with a design which is universally accessible, environmentally sensitive, and at the same time appears almost transitory in nature.

“If once back at home, a visitor can remember their visit to the stones but can’t remember the visitor centre they passed through on the way, we will be happy.”

Wiltshire Council will now undertake further public consultation as part of the formal planning process. Further details of the application are available from Wiltshire Council. Alongside the planning application, English Heritage is supporting Wiltshire Council with their proposals for a Traffic Regulation Order restricting motorised traffic on the A344.