Monday 28 October 2013

Stonehenge Trilithon Blown Over - The Times

Click to enlarge

The Times letter pages  and opinion pieces were buzzing in 1901 following the storm damage of Dec 31 1900. The arguments for and against restoration are familiar, the right of free access is argued as fences are erected and the public charged a shilling to enter; the right of the private owner to do as he will with his property and  the case for state ownership are made.

A subscription to the Archive is good value.

Saturday 26 October 2013

Stonehenge Handed Over

The Times, October 28, 1918


On Salisbury P1an on Saturday afternoon Stone henge was formally banded over to the nation by Mr. Chubb, of Bemerton Lodge, Salisbury, and accepted on behalf of the Government by Sir Alfred Moud. In receiving the deed of gift, the First Commissioner of Works said the step that Mr. Chubb had so generously and patriotically taken had aroused the deepest feeling of gratitude throughout the country. The Prime Minister had expressed his personal appreciation of Mr. Chubb’s action. Not only had Stonehenge itself now become the property of the nation, but 30 acres of surrounding ground accompanied the gift. He hoped that steps would be taken to improve the surroundings of Stonehenge. There had been much criticism of the fencing, but it would be impossible to leave the monument entirely unguarded. It was proposed, by means of a sunken fence to afford the necessary protection without offending the eye. He, also hoped that it would be possible to extend the important excava tions which had already been made on the site. There were in the local museum some of the stone implements with which the huge stones of the temple of Stonehenge were dressed and trimmed. It, was hoped that, under supervision, discoveries would be made on the site which would throw further light on the history of the monument. “This ceremony takes place,” be concluded. “at a time which is perhaps a turning point In the history of our country. After four years of anxiety, toil and peril we see at last the sun of victory shining over the horizon. It is a good augury. Our ancestors hero worshipped the sun when it rose. We to-day can turn our eyes towards the sun of victory won so gallantly by the men who have gone out and fought and died for us.”

Friday 25 October 2013

MPP - Researching Stonehenge: Theories Past and Present

Mike Parker Pearson


Over the years archaeologists connected with the Institute of Archaeology and UCL have made substantial contributions to the study of Stonehenge, the most enigmatic of all the prehistoric stone circles in Britain. Two of the early researchers were Petrie and Childe. More recently, colleagues in UCL’s Anthropology department – Barbara Bender and Chris Tilley – have also studied and written about the monument in its landscape. Mike Parker Pearson, who joined the Institute in 2012, has been leading a 10-year-long research programme on Stonehenge and, in this paper, he outlines the history and current state of research.
View the full article: Full text PDF

Thursday 24 October 2013

Why was Stonehenge built where it was?

The excitement st Stonehenge has moved a mile or so east as the dig at Blick Mead continues to astonish with its finds. A major Mesolithic site, but was it even earlier? This ITV film suggests so:

Sunday 20 October 2013

The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project pdf

Download of pdf and online access:

The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project

 by Vincent Gaffney

 "Over the centuries many archaeologists have investigated the site of Stonehenge and we now know a great deal about the phasing and nature of the site. However, the area around the henge, while containing many symbolic and ritual elements, is curiously ‘blank’. The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project aims to place the site and its development through time within a landscape context using fast and accurate ground-based geophysical techniques. The project has developed a rapid strategy to map, visualize and interpret landscape-scale data and is applying the strategy to the area known as the Stonehenge ‘envelope’. The data are interpreted within a data rich three-dimensional data cube that has provided new insights regarding the apparent blank areas surrounding Stonehenge. It is an aim of the project to discover more about Stonehenge by looking out from the site rather than looking at it."

Saturday 19 October 2013

Series of Guides To Archaeological Features


"English Heritage’s Introductions to Heritage Assets (IHAs) for archaeology are accessible, authoritative, well-illustrated summaries of what we know about specific classes of sites or monuments.

While there is no aspiration to have an entirely comprehensive series covering all types of sites from early prehistory to present, the 41 IHAs completed to date do include the majority of the main groups of heritage asset from early prehistory to the end of the Middle Ages."

Here's a few I have picked out as especially interesting to me, but they are all very good, why didn't I know about them before? (The subjects are in the URLS.)

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Early Photo of the Stonehenge Parchmarks

(click to embiggen)

An early postcard (1930?) shows Gowland's prop holes as pale parchmarks and also the stoneholes 17,18 and 19 as faint marks (17 is the clearest). They run in an arc from the upright stone on the left, stone 16, round in front of the group dressed in black towards the upright stone at the top middle of the picture. Stonehole 20 is mainly under the fallen stone with the black mark on it.

For details of their discovery this summer see  here 

Monday 14 October 2013

Using A Crisp Packet To Date A Stonehenge Feature

To the west of Stonehenge there is a byway known as Byway 12 or The West Track. It originally went through the henge monument itself on the line of the present visitor path. After the Nation was given Stonehenge in 1918 it was moved just to the west of the henge and the local residents granted free access in return for not opposing the move.

Stonehenge with the West Track near to the henge.

Before the present visitors facilities and tunnel were opened in 1968 the track was moved again, much further to the west to its present position.
The moves can be seen in this series of maps dating from 1901, 1961 and 1972

But when was it moved?

Surprisingly I can't find out online, or in Cleal or any other book I have to hand. Sometime between 1961 and 1968....

But I have a crisp packet that surfaced this week from the buried surface of the track and it dates from 1965-66.  That's how archaeology dates structures so I have narrowed the date down now to my satisfaction.

Saturday 12 October 2013

Dateable Artefact of the Stonehenge Builders Found on A344

As the careful works goes on of restoring the A344 to turf and realigning the visitor's path to Stonehenge I was fortunate enough to lay my hands on an artefact that was dug up by the tunnel. It nearly blew away in the wind but years of litter catching training at Stonehenge enabled me to pounce on it.

Click to embiggen

I think it dates from the late 1960s when the present visitor centre and tunnel was built and the West Track was moved. I will send it to EH for their archaeologists to identify and date it fully..

UPDATE: - 1965 Golden Wonder launched unique packaging to keep crisps fresher for longer – using the “Crackle Fresh” slogan

Thursday 10 October 2013

Wired Stonehenge

The path at Stonehenge is being resurfaced which involves changing the edging - it is all being done under close archaeological supervision. 
A snippet of more reason history was uncovered today - the geophone cables which were installed in 1968 were uncovered. 
The plan from Cleal et al below shows their route.

Click any to enlarge.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

New science pinpoints source of Bluestones

Link to an interesting article:

New science pinpoints source of Bluestones

Richard Bevins,
Keeper of Natural Sciences,
National Museum of Wales

Rob Ixer,
Institute of Archaeology,
University College London

Tuesday 8 October 2013




Professor Timothy Darvill OBE, along with co-authors Peter Marshall, Mike Parker Pearson and Geoffrey Wainwright, have been awarded the 2013 Ben Cullen Prize by the leading international journal Antiquity for their article entitled 'Remodelling Stonehenge' which was published in the December 2012 issue.

You can read the full article here.

Further information on the Prize, and other Prize winners can be found here.

From  - The Poole & the Poole & Purbeck Portal, a new online community created by the School of Applied Sciences at Bournemouth UniversityPurbeck Portal, a new online community created by the School of Applied Sciences at Bournemouth University

Friday 4 October 2013

Stonehenge Landscape Poster

(Click to enlarge)

The Stonehenge landscape: restoring biodiversity and connectivity

Grace Twiston-Davies, Jonathan Mitchley, Simon Mortimer

Presented at
11th INTECOL Congress 2013, Ecology: Into the next 100 years, 18 - 23 Aug 2013, B2.16
Background / Purpose: 
Habitat restoration at the landscape scale has the potential to re-connect fragmented landscapes. The chalk grassland restoration project at the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, UK is a case study that provides an opportunity to investigate the landscape and species characteristics that lead to successful restoration.
Main conclusion: 
Habitat restoration at the landscape scale is an effective, long term approach to enhance biodiversity and restore landscape connectivity. Quite rapid success is achievable for some habitats and species but additional management is needed for specialist species.

DOWNLOAD The Poster [1.15 MB]   This poster is open access subject to the CC BY Creative Commons 3.0 License

Thursday 3 October 2013

Stonehenge World Heritage Site Management Plan Review 2013-14

Stonehenge World Heritage Site Management Plan Review 2013-14
The current Stonehenge World Heritage Site Management Plan is under review and we want your help!
Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site (WHS) was inscribed onto the World Heritage List in 1986, one of the first seven from the UK.  The Stonehenge part of this WHS covers 26 square km centred on the Stonehenge monument stretching from the Packway to Lake in the Woodford Valley and from the A360 to the A345.
The WHS is managed by a partnership of public bodies, landowners and residents who meet regularly to discuss progress on the Management Plan which is the document which sets out the main issues for the WHS and actions to protect and enhance its “outstanding universal value”.  A WHS Coordinator oversees the implementation of the Management Plan and reports to the WHS Committee.
The last Management Plan was produced in 2009 and there was a great deal of high profile public consultation at that time as it coincided with a complete review of the location of the Stonehenge visitor centre following the decision of the government not to fund the proposed tunnel for the A303 at Stonehenge.
It has been decided by the steering committees of both parts of the WHS to produce a joint Management Plan for both Stonehenge and Avebury.  Many of the issues are similar for both parts of the WHS and we are currently working on joining together more closely the management of Stonehenge and Avebury which have been managed separately until now.  Avebury started work on their management plan last year and this year it is Stonehenge’s turn.  As it is only 4 years since the publication of the last management plan it is not expected that it will be radically different, more an update of the issues and a review of the action plan.
We would be very pleased to hear your point of view and to facilitate this there will be drop-in sessions when you can talk to the Stonehenge WHS Coordinator, Beth Thomas and discuss your issues and aspirations for the World Heritage Site and the community who live and work in and around it.
Sessions are being held at the end of October at: Durrington Library Wednesday 23 October 2 – 5pm, the Bowman Centre 24 October 12 – 3pm, Amesbury Library 24 October 4 – 7pm, Shrewton Recreation Hall 29 October 10am – 1pm and Salisbury Library 29 October 4 – 7pm. We can’t promise to include all your suggestions into the new management plan but we would love to hear your thoughts!  If you can’t attend why not complete this questionnaire and email or post it back to us?
If you want to find out more please contact Beth Thomas, Stonehenge World Heritage Site Coordinator.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

The Hidden Code in The Stonehenge Visitor Centre Roof

Detail of the new visitor centre at Stonehenge roof.

It has been suggested that the similarity of the holes punched in the roof in appearance to the holes of punched computer tape means that there is a meaning to them. That they can be deciphered to reveal a hidden message. I am assured that they are purely random and there is no meaning to them. Any decoding of them that creates a message is just another Stonehenge myth. 

There is no hidden message in the Stonehenge Visitor Centre roof.

(And Paul is alive)