Monday 28 March 2016

Craig Rhos-y-felin - Full Antiquity Article

Craig Rhos-y-felin: a Welsh bluestone megalith quarry for Stonehenge

Mike Parker Pearson, Richard Bevins, Rob Ixer, Joshua Pollard, Colin Richards, Kate Welham, Ben Chan, Kevan Edinborough, Derek Hamilton, Richard Macphail, Duncan Schlee, Jean-Luc Schwenninger, Ellen Simmons and Martin Smith (2015). Craig Rhos-y-felin: a Welsh bluestone megalith quarry for Stonehenge. Antiquity, 89, pp 1331-1352. doi:10.15184/aqy.2015.177.

Antiquity / Volume 89 / Issue 348 / December 2015, pp 1331-1352 Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2016 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. DOI: (About DOI), Published online: 07 December 2015

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Geophysical surveys at Robinhood's Ball

Geophysical surveys at Robinhood's Ball Causewayed Enclosure, Wiltshire in 2015

By Olaf Bayer and Anthony Johnson


Gradiometer, earth resistance and magnetic susceptibility surveys of Robinhood’s Ball causewayed enclosure and adjacent monuments were carried out by staff and students from Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education in summer 2015. Key results of the survey included a large number of potential pits of unknown date both inside and outside the Neolithic enclosure circuits, an element of possible Bronze Age field system abutting the enclosure, and a second ring ditch within one of the adjacent Early Bronze Age round barrows.

Robinhood's Ball is located approximately 4km north west of, and intervisable with, Stonehenge. It is the only causewayed enclosure in the Stonehenge landscape and, by analogy with other similar sites, provides evidence of a focus for seasonal gatherings, exchange and ritual activity predating the first phase of Stonehenge by c. 600 years. ... The monument has seen surprisingly little recent attention given its proximity to Stonehenge and the important role part that it plays in the development of the surrounding landscape. No new fieldwork has been undertaken on the site as part of recent research.....

More on Robin Hood's Ball and its previous name of Neath Barrow -

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Stonehenge - A hidden landscape (exhibition 2016)

Stonehenge - A hidden landscape (exhibition 2016)

2.3.2016 press release (Mamuz Mistelbach, LBI ArchPro, Land NÖ)   
STONEHENGE - A Hidden Landscape                           
Unique exhibition from 20 March 2016 at MAMUZ Museum in Mistelbach
Images und Texts available for download under
The most famous and mysterious monument of prehistory! Built over several centuries more than 4,000 years ago. But by whom, why and how? Discoveries which are currently causing a real stir worldwide are being shown for the first time at the museum of prehistory MAMUZ in Mistelbach: the new history of Stonehenge!
Stonehenge is unique. But it is more than just a stone circle and it never stood alone. It is embedded in a landscape with hundreds of monuments – some of them still visible at the site today but others remained hidden undetected in the ground until recently. The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute and the University of Birmingham examined the landscape around Stonehenge using state-of-the-art technology and brought fascinating things to light for the first time after thousands of years. As well as impressive grave finds, the true-to-the-original reconstruction of the giant stones in the middle of the exhibition is a particular highlight.
Experience the magnitude of the stone monument and its extensive landscape in a unique time machine, beginning long before Stonehenge and ending long before the first druids laid eyes on the stone circle.
The latest findings of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project were brought to light by the team of researchers from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI ArchPro) and the University of Birmingham. Co-director of the research project and Scientist of the Year 2015, Wolfgang Neubauer, is curating the exhibition: “With geomagnetic prospection and ground-penetrating radar measurements, an underground area of more than 14 km² around the stone circle was examined. This led to new discoveries which again help us understand the cult landscape around Stonehenge.
These sensational results are being presented to the public for the first time in a fascinating exhibition at MAMUZ Museum in Mistelbach.” Working alongside the exhibition team is one of the renowned researchers in connection with Stonehenge,Julian Richards. As the author of a number of reference books and the head of many excavations around Stonehenge, his knowledge is making a significant contribution to the success of the exhibition.
An innovative exhibition design by Christof Cremer and impressive visualisations mean visitors can find themselves in the middle of the stone circle with full-sized replicas of the stones and gain a tremendous insight into the landscape around Stonehenge. Original stone material as used thousands of years ago to build the complex can also be seen right up close enough to touch. In a 3D model of the entire landscape, it is possible to experience the magnitude of this prehistoric cult landscape and its development over time.
The new findings are combined with original finds from Stonehenge which have never before left the British Isles. Museums providing unique finds have been acquired as partners.
One particular highlight at MAMUZ is the grave of an archer who was buried with the biggest copper dagger found to date in the British Isles. The copper used for this comes from the Austrian Alps. The grave goods of the people of the Bell-Beaker culture, who were active in the whole of Europe at the end of the Stone Age, are presented with bountiful graves from Lower Austria from the same period. Stonehenge is the world’s most famous preserved prehistoric monument. The monumental circular enclosures in Lower Austria are almost 2,000 years older, however. These can also be seen at MAMUZ and are compared with Stonehenge.
TOUCH, TRY IT OUT and EXPLORE – according to the motto of MAMUZ as an adventure museum, the exhibition will fascinate history fans and also families because history becomes an adventure – the interactive elements of the exhibition are a unique experience for visitors of all ages.
Exhibition 2016 in MAMUZ Museum Mistelbach
Stonehenge. A hidden landscape | 20 March – 27 November 2016 | Tue-Sun, 10am-5pm
MAMUZ Museum Mistelbach, Waldstraße 44-46, 2130 Mistelbach,
press contact: MMag. Renate Heger (MAMUZ Museum Mistelbach) +43 (0) 664/60499281,
Partners of the exhibition:
Working together with renowned cooperation partners, academics from Austria and abroad and also experts in exhibition design and multimedia presentation, MAMUZ is showing the world’s first comprehensive exhibition about Stonehenge and its landscape. The exhibition is possible thanks to the support of partners such as the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, the Landessammlungen Niederösterreich, Archaemedia, the University of Birmingham, the University of Vienna, the University of Buckingham, atelier christof cremer, 7reasons and the partner museums in England, the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, the Salisbury Museum and the Dorset Country Museum.

Monday 14 March 2016

New Season Ticket Prices for Stonehenge

These are the new online prices for tickets to Stonehenge   You will be encouraged to add another 10% or so as a Gift Aid contribution. Turning up at the site without tickets you will be charged more for the tickets, about another £1 a person.

The price to rent an audio guide is increasing from £2 to £3 - the tour can be downloaded for free from Apple App or Google Play Stores and then played on your own device.

Pre March 25 2016 Post March 25 2016
Adult £14.50 £15.50
Child (5-15) £8.70 £9.30
Concession  £13.00 £13.90
Family (2 adults, up to 3 children) £37.70 £40.30

The increase in price is 6.8%  
The Consumer Prices Index increase for the year to February 2016 was 0.3%

Feeding Stonehenge

A fascinating paper has been made available about the food that was eaten by the builders of Stonehenge and the level of deductions that can be made from the analysis of the deposits discovered at Durrington Walls.

Feeding Stonehenge: cuisine and consumption at the Late Neolithic site of Durrington Walls. Antiquity, 89, pp 1096-1109

Oliver E. Craig, Lisa-Marie Shillito, Umberto Albarella, Sarah Viner-Daniels, Ben Chan, Ros Cleal,Robert Ixer, Mandy Jay, Pete Marshall, Ellen Simmons, Elizabeth Wright and Mike Parker Pearson(2015). Feeding Stonehenge: cuisine and consumption at the Late Neolithic site of Durrington Walls. Antiquity, 89, pp 1096-1109 doi:10.15184/aqy.2015.110

The final paragraphs:

The Durrington Walls settlement, as the likely residence for the builders of Stonehenge stage 2, offers remarkable insights into the provision of resources for, and organisation of,Stonehenge’s construction. The evidence for feasting accords well with accounts of feasting and voluntary labour mobilisation for megalith building in many different parts of the world (e.g. Layard 1942; Hoskins 1986). It does not fit expectations of a slave-based society in which labour was forced and coerced. The fact that animals were brought on the hoof to Durrington Walls from many different and distant parts of Britain (Viner et al. 2010)further reinforces the notion of voluntary participation.

Although it is often tempting to think of the building of Stonehenge as a prehistoric version of a ‘free festival’,of the sort held at the monument in the 1970s–1980s,the evidence for food-sharing and activity-zoning implies a degree of organisation perhaps not expected. While little overt hierarchy is visible in house size or shape, there were differences between houses in terms of their location with regard to culinary activities, and clear differences in consumption practices between public monumental and more private domestic spaces.Such consumption events must have been carefully planned and orchestrated; attention paid to ensuring that their scale and nature was appropriate to the circumstances and the company involved. Differences in what was cooked and served in certain sizes of ceramic vessels also signify shared understandings of culinary and cultural categorisation amongst a diverse group of people that probably numbered several thousand. Food was therefore critical to maintaining social relationships. Culinary practices enabled large-scale outdoor sharing of feasts together with small-scale indoor household consumption at intermediary levels too. As the integrity of households and smaller groups was maintained at one level,the sharing of foods across the community promoted unity amongst communities gathered from far and wide across Britain.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Prize Winning Photo of Stonehenge Solstice Sunrise

Mike Pitts has suspicions ( ) about the Stonehenge photo that won the British Life Photography Awards 2015 - He thinks there has been some photoshopping going on and maybe elements have been added or taken away.

Click photos to enlarge

I don't know a fraction of what Mike does about photography but I did notice all the hands (pictured below - do click to enlarge) seemed to show an appalling lack of diversity in the Stonehenge crowd, they all seem to belong to slim young white men wearing art college cool dark jumpers. Some even seem to be wearing identical wrist bands and jumpers.  How strange that a random section of the Stonehenge revellers seems to consist of trendy clones, I must have missed them when I was there.

The Bowls or Boles Barrow Bluestone - a Red Herring

I quickly visited the Wessex gallery at Salisbury museum today - an excellent new layout which I must spend some more time in as soon as possible.

The Bowls Barrow Bluestone is better displayed than when I previously wrote about it -    (Salisbury Museum and Pastscape uses the Bowls rather than the Boles spelling so I have used it here.)

UPDATE: Pictures added 8/3/16

 (Click to embiggen)

It looks like the base of a pillar that has been broken off and the base dug up. It looks like it came from Stonehenge and the mystery of how a large Bluestone boulder came to be on Salisbury Plain a thousand years before the Stones may be a red herring. The provenance of it coming from the Boles barrow and having being incoporated into it build is very weak.

C P Green provides an extensive examination of the question  at;

Mike Parker Pearson lays out the story in his Stonehenge book:

Friday 4 March 2016

Spring or Vernal Equinox Free Access to Stonehenge Inside The Stones 2016

The 'Managed Open Access' at Stonehenge for the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, will be from approximately 05.45 am until 08.30 on 20th March 2016

• Access to Stonehenge for the Spring Equinox will take place on the morning of 20 March 2016

• Entrance to the monument will commence as soon as 'light-levels' are deemed safe enough to permit. For the past couple of years this has occurred around 0545h however EH would ask that people are patient should the morning prove 'overcast' and a slight delay occurs.

• Access to Stonehenge will cease at 0830h and the cooperation of all of visitors in ensuring the monument is vacated at this time would be most appreciated.

• Temporary toilets (Porta-Loos) will be available at the monument once the site is open for public access. This includes a provision for those with disabilities.

•The Cafe and Shop at the new Visitor Centre at Airmans Cross should be opening for visitors from approximately 0800h on the morning of 20 March. Please note that the toilets at this location will also become available for use at this time. Although the Cafe will be opening only hot and cold drinks will be available for the first hour. Pasties etc will become available after 0900h.

Final confirmation from English Heritage as to these arrangements has not been forthcoming so please check before relying on this notice.

Personal Tour Website launched

I have launched my small personal tour website - - so if you want a guide to the wonders of Wiltshire you know where to go to.

Thursday 3 March 2016

Stones in Aubrey Holes

I found the following certainty that the Aubrey Holes held stones interesting as it is taken from the 1924 edition of Stonehenge Today & Yesterday - Frank Stevens which was the official guidebook and is contemporaneous with the excavations.

... the recently discovered Aubrey 

Holes" (1920). When Aubrey made his plan of 

Stonehenge in 1666, now preserved in the 

Bodleian Library, Oxford, he indicated upon it 

certain depressions at regular intervals inside the 

circular earthwork. 

Time had entirely obliterated these depressions, 

so after due examination of the map at Oxford, 

Col. Hawley, with Mr. R. S. Newall, explored 

the sites in 1920, with the result that 23 of 

the depressions were discovered and excavated, 

and others located already await their future 


They occur roughly at intervals of 16 ft. within 

the outer bank, and vary little either in size or 

shape, being rather over 3 ft. deep and ft. in 

diameter, all more or less circular. The solid 

chalk, which lies very close to the surface at 

Stonehenge, has in many cases been crushed on 

the sides of the holes nearest to the outer circle of 

Trilithons, which suggests that the stones which 

formerly stood in these holes have been removed 

from them. That the holes contained upright 

stones is beyond question. 

Nearly every one of the 23 holes examined 

contained cremated human remains, and in three 

cases the cremation had taken place in situ....

Wednesday 2 March 2016

#Dronehenge - Dan Snow at Stonehenge with a Drone

Dan Snow @thehistoryguy filmed with a Drone at Stonehenge this morning with @SueGreaney for #Dronehenge

The main event -

The Drone -

Preparing -

Arriving at the stones -