Saturday 30 June 2012

Sacrilege In Marlborough

I shared some photos of the visit of Jeremy Deller's Sacrilege to Marlborough on Facebook

Here's a few of them.

Mike Pitts enjoying the view.

Your humble blogger.

And Jeremy Deller - The artist behind this fabulous work.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Stonehenge Artist in Residence

I had great pleasure in meeting and watching at work Mark Anstee who has been appointed Leverhulme Artist-in-Residence in association with Professor Julian Thomas at the Dept. of Archaeology, University of Manchester (September 2010-July 2011) to continue his work on the Stonehenge Cursus Monument by drawing at Stonehenge for next year. Do keep an eye out for updates of his work.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Solstice - The Morning After The Night Before

After the professional litter pickers have cleared the worst this is what the EH staff have to finish clearing up.

It was all spotless and the grass raked and spiked by just after lunchtime, but the police couldn't reopen the road due to mud from the temporary car park.

(Photo from Charlotte Forward)

Early the night before.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2012 Arrangements - English Heritage

Summer Solstice 2012 | English Heritage


Stonehenge is an ancient pre-historic site. It has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Summer Solstice since time immemorial.
English Heritage is pleased to be providing Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. Please help us to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the Conditions of Entry and guidelines set out on the following pages. We have a duty of care to ensure public safety and are responsible for the protection of Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments. If we are to ensure that future access is sustainable, it is essential that everyone observes and abides by these Conditions of Entry.
During the Summer Solstice access to Stonehenge, we support all individuals and groups conducting their own forms of ceremony and celebration providing that they are mutually respectful and tolerant of one another. It is a place seen by many as a sacred site - therefore please respect it and those attending.
English Heritage continues to work closely with the many agencies and people from all sectors of the community and we would like to thank them for their help and support.
Parking and entry to the Monument will be free, subject to the Conditions of Entry.  Please do not arrive at the Solstice Car Park or Stonehenge in advance of the opening times listed below:
    1900 hours (7pm) Wednesday 20th June
    1900 hours (7pm) Wednesday 20th June
    0600 hours (6am) Thursday 21st June
    0800 hours (8am) Thursday 21st June
    1200 hours (12 Noon) Thursday 21st June - see the pages on Traveland Parking for further information on travel and parking arrangements.
Sunset and sunrise occur at the following times:

Monday 18 June 2012

Bouncy Stonehenge on Tour

Jeremy Deller - Sacrilege | London 2012 Festival

Sacrilege tour dates (subject to change)
Thursday 21 June
National Botanic Garden, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Sunday 24 June
Heartlands, Redruth, Cornwall
Tuesday 26 June
Belmont Park, Exeter
Friday 29 June
Marlborough Common, Wiltshire
Saturday 7 July
Flag Fen, Peterborough
Wednesday 11 July
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Sunday 15 July
Saltwell Park, Gateshead
Friday 20 July
Milton Keynes
Saturday 21 – Sunday 22 July
Central Park, Greenwich, London
Wednesday 25 July
King Edward VII Park, Brent, London
Saturday 28 July
Paddington Recreation Ground, Westminster, London
Sunday 29 July
Cheam Park, Sutton, London
Tuesday 31 July
Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith & Fulham, London
Wednesday 1 August
Hampstead Heath, Camden, London
Thursday 2 August
Clapham Common, Lambeth, London
Saturday 4 August
Burgess Park, Southwark, London
Sunday 5 August
Barra Hall Park, Hillingdon, London
Tuesday 7 August
East Ham Central Park, Newham, London
Thursday 9 August
Crystal Palace, Bromley, London
Friday 10 August
Alexandra Palace, Haringey, London
Saturday 11 August
Christchurch Green, Redbridge, London
Sunday 12 August
The Waterworks Nature Reserve, Lee Valley Park, Enfield, London
Saturday 18 August
College Green, Bristol
Sunday 26 August
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Sunday 9 September
Preston Guild, Preston

Sunday 17 June 2012

Position of Stone 56

The ground plan for Stone 56 at Stonehenge shows an irregular shape which makes the orientation of the inner face hard to judge. As the stone rises from the ground it becomes much more regular and very nearly mirrors the flat outside. It is slightly thinner on the south-eastern side than the other narrow side. At eye level (5' 6" above ground) it is approximately 35" wide vs. 29" wide which over a width of 7' makes an angle difference of 4 degrees.

Looking north-east it is noticeable how the back of the stone lines up with the Station stone in the distance. And also how the line is close to the direction of Mid-Winter Sunrise and Mid-summer Sunset. (Without a proper survey I claim no more than "close to")

Pictures taken 16 June 2012 - click to enlarge.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Stonehenge by Mike Parker Pearson

The long awaited work by Mike Parker Pearson is now available. I have only had it a day but it is a great read and provides a well rounded portrait of the whole Stonehenge Landscape.
I can thoroughly recommend it, especially as he expands on the logic behind the Marden Henge route for the Sarsens. A route I independently outlined in my The Origin Of The Stonehenge Sarsens Leaflet.

It is available from Amazon by the links below, or you can support your local bookshop.

Or The Kindle Edition

Sunday 10 June 2012

All Cannings Cross and The Stanton St Bernard Midden Site Discovery.

In 2003 Professor John Barrett of the Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield and David McOmish of English Heritage investigated All Cannings Cross - Diary here and preliminary results pdf.

I showed them this aerial photo in which they identified another dark splodge towards Stanton St Bernard. The All Cannings Cross Midden site is to the top left, the new one is to the right of centre.

I walked across the site early the next morning and identified it as being stuffed with pottery and bone, another midden site.

In 2004 the site at Stanton St Bernard was investigated - details here

Full results have yet to be written up.

Saturday 9 June 2012

Stonehenge Stone 59 - A Peek Underneath

Sarsen Stone 59 is the very prominent fallen one of the inner horseshoe that can be seen from the public path. It is noticeably unfinished with grooves and ridges. It is assumed that the ridges are still waiting to be pounded off to produce a smooth level finish.

The foot of the stone, which would have been underground and the top of the stone, including the two broken off pieces do not have the ridges, they have been "finished".

View Larger Map

So why not the middle section. After all the hard work in bringing, erecting and shaping the stone, why didn't they spend the few days to finish the job?
It is almost as though they left in a panic.

One theory is that the unfinished state is deliberate, it is significant of something.

Bluestone 71 is trapped underneath so the fall wasn't immediately after erection, unless the bluestone horseshoe was already in place. But I still wonder if the fall didn't happen as they were pounding the surface to finish it off. An historic "Oh ****!" moment.

The rabbits are digging underneath the stone at the moment so we can peek at the underside. It too is ridged and unfinished.

UPDATE - Added April 2018

The excavation sketch included in Cleal et al. shows that there is a stump of the stone left in the stonehole, 1' 4"  (410mm) down.

Click to embiggen

More details at

Friday 8 June 2012

The Original Position of Stone 55

In the post below I discuss the significance of the twist to Stone 56 - Gowland who did the meticulous re-erection and excavations of the stone also excavated under the fallen Stone 55 and concludes it was in line with 56. So it was a twisted trilithon in line with the midwinter sunrise.

Scans of his report are below, click on them to enlarge them to readable size.

For a discussion of the position and Cleal's note on it see

More at

Twisted 56 and Altar Stones and the Midwinter Sunrise

Yesterday I noted how Stone 56 is twisted - see

Looking at the diagram again I noticed that the Altar Stone is on a very similar orientation.

An orientation that Simon Banton has noted is significant as lining up with the Midwinter Sunrise and summer solstice sunset looking the opposite way.

Coincidence or are they aligned?

And does the back of Stone 56 align with Station Stone 93 and the Midwinter Sunrise? (The problem of the line going through Stone 10 we can leave to another day.)

UPDATE - Simon suggests that the more precise alignment from the Station Stone passes across the inner face of Stone 56, not the outer; this then misses Stone 10 and emerges where the spiral of the Z holes finishes and the Y holes have a gap...

UPDATE 2 : - Gowland says that 55 was in line with 56 so the whole trilithon was "twisted".

Thursday 7 June 2012

Twisted Stone 56

Stone 56 - the tallest one with the tenon on the top of it - is always assumed to be symmetrical to the Solstice Axis of Stonehenge. Look through the gap between it and the now recumbent Stone 55 to line up with the central doorway between 30 and 1, Heel stone, Avenue et al.

But it isn't.

The stone is twisted compared to the horseshoe arrangements of the Trilithons. The stone was, of course, re-erected in 1901. Gowland's report seems to make it clear that there was a clear back wall of chalk it was put back to. But he may have not got it right, or it may have twisted since, though I think that is very unlikely. Or was it originally erected splayed to make the gap more impressive, or for some other reason?

Gowland found no well defined cutting in the chalk to define the original position of Stone 55 so we haven't the information to know how the fallen stone stood.

So incorrect reconstruction or original feature?