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Archive for February, 2010

The mysterious Stonehenge was a dance arena for ancient revellers listening to ‘trance-style’ music, according to one professor who is an expert in sound.

Stonehenge has baffled archaeologists who have argued for decades over the stone circle’s 5,000-year history – but now academic Dr Rupert Till believes he has solved the riddle by suggesting it may have been used for ancient raves.
Part-time DJ Dr Till, an expert in acoustics and music technology at Huddersfield University, believes the standing stones of Stonehenge had the ideal acoustics to amplify a ‘repetitive trance rhythm’ not dissimilar to some kinds of modern trance music.

Stonehenge would have had strange acoustic effects thousands of years ago

The original Stonehenge probably had a ‘very pleasant, almost concert-like acoustic’ that our ancestors slowly perfected over many generations. Because Stonehenge itself is partially collapsed, Dr Till, used a computer model to conduct experiments in sound.
The most exciting discoveries came when he and colleague Dr Bruno Fazenda visited a full-size concrete replica of Stonehenge, which was built as a war memorial by American road builder Sam Hill at Maryhill in Washington state.
He said: ‘We were able to get some interesting results when we visited the replica by using computer-based acoustic analysis software, a 3D soundfield microphone, a dodecahedronic (12-faced) speaker, and a huge bass speaker.
‘We have also been able to reproduce the sound of someone speaking or clapping in Stonehenge 5,000 years ago.

‘The most interesting thing is we managed to get the whole space (at Maryhill) to resonate, almost like a wine glass will ring if you run a finger round it.

‘While that was happening a simple drum beat sounded incredibly dramatic. The space had real character; it felt that we had gone somewhere special.’

Building on previous research, Dr Till believes ancient Britons had a good ear for sounds and shaped the stones to create the best acoustics.

He went on: ‘Other archaeologists’ research shows that Stonehenge has a specific acoustic design. The stones are all curved and reflect the sound perfectly. The lintels are also curved. They must have noticed that when they placed a stone in a particular place it would have sounded different.’
Dr Till recently spoke to academics at Bristol University about Stonehenge rituals and a research network is being set up to look closer at Neolithic sites.

‘There are two main theories about what Stonehenge was used for,’ he says.

‘One is that it was a healing space, the other that it was a place of the dead.
‘Both of these imply ritual activity, but very little is actually known about the way people sang, danced or performed rituals there because these things left no trace in the archaeological record.

‘However, our research shows that there are particular spots in the site that produce unusual particular acoustic effects, intimating that perhaps a priest or a shaman may have stood there, leading the ritual.

‘This kind of ritual may also have been for healing, so this acoustic study may tie the two main competing theories about Stonehenge together.’
The data is still being analysed, but it is clear that Stonehenge did have a ‘very unusual sound’ says Dr Till.

‘By simulating this sound we can hope to understand more about English culture from 5,000 years ago, and perhaps better understand both our ancestors and our culture today.’

Pat – Tour Guide

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Virtual Stonehenge

Virtual Stonehenge

Heritage Key invites you on an exclusive tour back thousands of years to the dawn of British history with Stonehenge Virtual.

•Explore the Neolithic settlement of Durrington Walls
•See the wonder of Stonehenge as it once stood over four thousand years ago.
•Interact with the people of the time, and take part in an ancient sunset ritual.
•Experience life as one of the ancient people who built Stonehenge.
Learn everything about Britain’s most spectacular prehistoric landmark. Explore the plants, animals and food which made Bronze Age Britain such an awe-inspiring place. Invite your friends along to a modern-day Druid ritual at the world-famous summer solstice festival, and learn about its greatest characters.

Incredible people

There’s so much more to the story of Stonehenge than its magnificent stones – fierce foreign warriors who came seeking magical medical redemption; powerful leaders who lived and died for the magnificent monument.

An amazing place

Stonehenge is one of the world’s greatest landmarks, with a history that never ends – and we want you to be able to explore it in all its incredible glory while you enjoy our Virtual Experience.

Unlock the wonders of Stonehenge with Stonehenge Virtual: Visit  Heritage Key. Go to website

Simon – Tour Guide
Histouries UK – Stonehenge Tours

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Ha Ha

English Heritage, working in conjunction with The National Trust, are fighting ‘tooth and nail’ to preserve the newly discovered ancient Henge found in Wiltshire, England.

English Heritage, working in conjunction with The National Trust, are fighting ‘tooth and nail’ to preserve the newly discovered ancient Henge found in Wiltshire, England.

Also located in Wiltshire is Stonehenge thought to have been erected in around 3000BC. Coincidently, Concrete Post Henge is only, a remarkable, fifty feet away from the former, just over a small hill. Chartered Surveyors were called to the scene immediately and were able to verify that the structure had been around since at least two days after The Big Bang. Primitive drill bit markings and circular saw striations were, apparently, the most obvious clues in the age determining process.

“I can’t believe we didn’t spot it before; it was right under our noses. The significance of this find cannot be underestimated. I’ve seen a few henges in my time, nobody knows what the heck a henge is yet, but I know this is a good one.”

National Trust stalwart Walter Ernest made only one comment to The Spoof:

“It’s a sad day here for us in Wiltshire. I’ve put my life, heart and soul into promoting ‘old stoney’ as the nation’s oldest treasure, since my divorce it’s been like a friend to me. No doubt some young bucks will get the job of looking after the new find and I’ll probably have to go back to a career
in druid stone circles now…”

Now that was funny! The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

Nicholas – Tour Guide
Histouries UK – Stonehenge Tours
This was from the Spoof website.
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Stonehenge 2010

Our friends at the Stonehenge Tour Company have just announced their 2010 Summer Solstice Tour. See itinerary below. Works out cheaper and far less hassle if you are travelling from London. See link at bottom of page.

STONEHENGE SUMMER SOLTICE ‘EXCLUSIVE’ TOUR – JUNE 21st 2010
After the huge success of our tours in previous years we are delighted to announce our 2010 departure.

Each year on the 21 June visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge overnight to mark the summer solstice and to see the sunrise above the stones. At dawn the central Altar stone aligns with the Slaughter stone, Heel stone and the rising sun to the northeast.

“A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity!”

STONEHENGE SPECIAL ACCESS TOUR

Each year on the 21 June visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge overnight to mark the summer solstice and to see the sunrise above the stones. At dawn the central Altar stone aligns with the Slaughter stone, Heel stone and the rising sun to the northeast.

The Summer Solstice is the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time to be there. It’s an ad hoc celebration that brings together England’s New Age Tribes (neo-druids, neo-pagans, Wiccans) with ordinary families, tourists, travelers and party people – 1000’s of them!
For many the impulse to arrive at Stonehenge in time for the Solstice is a little like all those people drawn to the strange rock in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s akin to a spiritual experience. Anyone who has witnessed the crowd become silent as the sky begins to brighten can attest to that. You will enjoy 3 – 4 hours within the circle at sunset on June 20th or sunrise on June 21st. The small group (16 people) nature of this tour means you can have a real personal experience.

We are offering two departure options for this special tour:

TOUR OPTION 1:
Depart central London at 5pm June 20th. Mini Coach Travel to Stonehenge with guide and spend 3 – 4 hours inside the circle and witness the sun setting, Druid Ceremony and festivities. Back to London at 1am

TOUR OPTION 2:
Depart central London at 1am June 21st. Mini Coach Travel to Stonehenge with guide and spend 3 – 4 hours in side the circle and witness the sun rising, Druid Ceremony and festivities. Back to London at 8am

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
This is not like our traditional guided ‘Private Access’ tour. Although this tour is guided it does not visit other attractions and is not everyone’s cup of tea, however those who do participate will never forget it and will surely ‘tell the tale’ for many years to come…… Please take the time to view our images / video of previous ‘Solstice Tours’.
For those of you who have not visited this sacred site, we should mention that the complex is roped off. Visitors observe the stones from a distance and are not permitted within the temple complex……….our ‘Summer Solstice’ tours allow you to be amongst the stones and to actually touch them.

N.B. With this exception English Heritage do not allow any other ‘private access’ tours between 16th June and 1st July

English Heritage provides Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice and works closely with agencies, and people from all sectors of the community, in order to create a peaceful occasion – ensuring an event that can be safely enjoyed by all and protects Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments.

Due to the nature of this ‘special access’ tour and the strict entry conditions that English Hritage impose please register your interest for this tour on the form below and we will contact you with booking details and terms and conditions. This is on a first come first serve’ basis.

Click here to view full details

David  – Tour Guide
Histouries UK – Stonehenge Tours

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THE new Stonehenge visitor centre will show off artefacts from Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum’s collection to a wider audience English Heritage is collaborating with the museum and Wiltshire Heritage Museum to present and interpret the story of the World Heritage Site in a dedicated exhibition space in the centre, at Airman’s Corner.

In returning for loaning items from their collections, the museums will get help from English Heritage with their own displays and with enhancing their archives.

Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge project director at English Heritage, said: “The exhibition will be part of an overall experience that will draw on all the senses and lead people to a greater understanding, not just of Stonehenge, but of the people who built it.”

Salisbury museum director Adrian Green said: “We look forward to supporting the development of the visitor centre, and also redisplaying our own nationally important collections from the World Heritage Site to complement the new exhibition at Stonehenge.”

David Dawson, director of the Wiltshire Heritage Museum, said “Together we can present the full story of Stonehenge and encourage visitors to explore Wiltshire.”

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Stone Circle

The team who worked on the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2009 are to return to their findings to explain the eating habits of the people who built and worshipped at the stone circle over four thousand years ago. Once again led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson from the University of Sheffield, the new ‘Feeding Stonehenge’ project will analyse a range of materials including cattle bones and plant residue.
At the time of the Winter Solstice experts believe people would have brought livestock with them to Stonehenge for a solstice feast. Initial research suggests the animals were brought considerable distances to the ceremonial site at this time of year. “One of the unforeseen outcomes (of the Stonehenge Riverside Project) is the vast quantity of new material – flint tools, animal bones, pottery, plant remains, survey data, and chemical samples – which now needs analysing,” explained Professor Parker Pearson. “We are going to know so much about the lives of the people who built Stonehenge – how they lived, what they ate, where they came from.”
A large collection of cattle jaws collected during the last few years’ excavations will now undergo strontium and sulphur isotope analysis to establish where they originally came from and when they were culled. This will give experts a better idea of where people had travelled from to visit the site. The research will also offer a better understanding of the dressing of the famous sarsen stones of Stonehenge and insights into how the public and private spaces at Durrington Walls and Stonehenge differ from each other. Researchers will also try and ascertain whether Britain’s Copper Age started 50 years earlier than first thought. Circumstantial evidence points to copper tools being in use at Durrington Walls earlier than originally thought. Cut-marks on animal bones should reveal whether they were made by copper daggers as opposed to flint tools.
“I’ve always thought when we admire monuments like Stonehenge, not enough attention has been given to who made the sandwiches and the cups of tea for the builders,” said Parker Pearson. “The logistics of the operation were extraordinary. Not just food for hundreds of people but antler picks, hide ropes, all the infrastructure needed to supply the materials and supplies needed. Where did they get all this food from? This is what we hope to discover.”
‘Feeding Stonehenge’, will take place over the next three years. Find out more about the Stonehenge Riverside Project at: www.shef.ac.uk/archaeology/research/Stonehenge

Pat – Tour Guide
Histouries UK – Stonehenge Tours

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HISTORIC FEBRUARY

The following historic events happened in February

1 Feb. 1901 The royal yacht Alberta brings the body of Queen Victoria into Portsmouth harbour en route to her funeral in London tomorrow. The Queen, aged 82, died on January 22, at Osborne on the Isle of Wight.
2 Feb. 1665 British forces capture New Amsterdam, the centre of the Dutch colony in North America. The trading settlement on the island of Manhattan is to be renamed New York in honour of the Duke of York, its new governor.
3 Feb. 1730 The London Daily Advertiser newspaper publishes the first stock exchange quotations. 
4 Feb. 1926 Malcolm Campbell sets a new world land speed record of 174 mph (278 kmph) in Wales.
5 Feb. 1958 Parking meters first appear on the streets of London’s exclusive Mayfair district. The meters were first used in America in 1935. Mary Queen of Scots
6 Feb. 1783 Death of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown the greatest English landscape gardener. His work lives on today throughout the great estates of England. 
7 Feb. 1301 The son of King Edward I of England becomes the first English Prince of Wales.
8 Feb.  1587 Mary Queen of Scots is beheaded on the orders of her cousin England’s Queen Elizabeth I.
9 Feb. 1964 73 million Americans tune in to the Ed Sullivan Show to watch four lads from Liverpool appear for the first time – The Beatles.
10 Feb. 1354 Students at Oxford University fight a street battle with local townspeople resulting in several deaths and many people injured.
11 Feb. 1975 Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher, becomes the first woman leader of the British Conservative Party.
12 Feb. 1554 At the tender age of 16, the “nine days queen”, Lady Jane Grey is beheaded at the tower of London. William of Orange
13 Feb. 1688 A “Glorious Revolution” brings the Protestant William of Orange and his wife Mary (daughter of James II) to the throne of England after the Catholic King James II flees to France.
14 Feb. 1933 Students at Oxford University, obviously bored fighting the local townspeople, declare that they would not fight for “King and Country”.
15 Feb. 1971 Pennies, bobs and half-crowns all disappear as Britain goes decimal.
16 Feb. 1659 A cheque is used for the first time in Britain as Mr Nicholas Vanacker settles a debt.
17 Feb. 1461 Lancastrian forces defeated the Yorkists at the Battle of St. Albans.
18 Feb. 1478 George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence died in the Tower of London said to have been drowned in a butt of his favourite malmsey wine.
19 Feb. 1897 The Women’s Institute is founded in Ontario, Canada, by Mrs Adelaide Hoodless.
20 Feb. 1938 Anthony Eden resigned as British foreign secretary after the prime minister Neville Chamberlain decided to negotiate with Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
21 Feb. 1804 British engineer Richard Trevithick demonstrated the first steam engine to run on rails.
22 Feb. 1790 Over 1,000 French troops attempted to invade Britain, landing on the Welsh coast. The brave ladies of Fishguard saved the day! The Fishguard Tapestry
23 Feb. 1863 Lake Victoria, in Africa, was declared to be the source of the River Nile by British explorers John Speke and J A Grant.
24 Feb. 1917 President Woodrow Wilson informs the US nation of the contents of an intercepted message from the German foreign minister offering Mexico an alliance against the US.
25 Feb. 1570 England’s Queen Elizabeth I is excommunicated by Pope Pius V.
26 Feb. 1791 The Bank of England issues the first ever one pound note, in part a result of the panic in London caused by the French invasion of Fishguard.
27 Feb. 1782 The British Parliament votes to abandon the American War of Independence. Perhaps they were more concerned about the potential threat to Fishguard!
28 Feb. 1900 The  four-month siege of the British garrison at Ladysmith in Natal, South Africa, ended as a relief force broke through the Boers at Spion Kop.

 

I will contine to add an  ‘Historical Events’ for each and every month

Simon – Tour Guide
Histouries UK – Stonehenge Tours

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