Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2012

Military environmentalism.  An ocean of grassland  and a sweep of big sky. Ancient monuments loom out of the mist; camouflaged soldiers crouch in the undergrowth. Salisbury Plain is a landscape of extremes. It is the largest remaining area of chalkgrassland  in Northwest Europe and home to 2,300 prehistoric sites yet also the largest military training area on British soil.

Salisbury Plain WalkingTourYou may be surprised to discover that the presence of the military has benefitted archaeological sites and natural habitats. The walk follows public footpaths that penetrate deep into the heart of the military training area taking you out of your comfort zone and to experience a totally new kind of landscape (don’t worry, it’s safe and legal).

Walk along the largest prehistoric long barrow in Britain to a 20th century East German village. Hunt in puddles for a tiny translucent shrimp and look out for the largest bird species in Europe. The extremes of Salisbury Plain sit side by side. Use this spectacular landscape to stretch your legs, blow away the cobwebs and fire the imagination.

 

Map and full details: http://www.discoveringbritain.org/walks/region/south-west-england/salisbury-plain.html

HisTOURies UK
Mystical Landscape, Magical Tours

Read Full Post »

The outer circle was composed of 30 sarsen uprights with a similar number of lintels: this enclosed five sarsen trilithons (pairs of uprights with a lintel across each), arranged in a horseshoe shape, with the open end towards midsummer sunrise.

Stonehenge Bluestones, which clearly had a special significance for the builders, were re-erected in a circle between the outer sarsen circle and horseshoe, and inside the horseshoe. Some bluestones were later removed to leave the final setting, the remains of which can be seen today.

In the landscape immediately around Stonehenge there are visible remains of many different types of monuments, and many more have been detected. Neolithic monuments include long barrows, and the long rectangular earthwork to the north, the Cursus ( so called because it was once thought to resemble a chariot racecourse): together with the henge monuments at Woodhenge and Durrington Walls, contemporary with the middle phases at Stonehenge. The most numerous monuments are the remains of many Bronze Age round barrows, which were built after Stonehenge Stone Circle was complete.
***source: english-heritage.org.uk

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) west of Amesbury and 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones. It is at the centre of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.[1]

Archaeologists had believed that the iconic stone monument was erected around 2500 BC, as described in the chronology below. One recent theory, however, has suggested that the first stones were not erected until 2400-2200 BC,[2] whilst another suggests that bluestones may have been erected at the site as early as 3000 BC (see phase 1 below). The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 in a co-listing with Avebury Henge monument. It is a national legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage, while the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.[3][4]

Archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2008 indicates that Stonehenge served as a burial ground from its earliest beginnings.[5] The dating of cremated remains found on the site indicate burials from as early as 3000 BC, when the initial ditch and bank were first dug. Burials continued at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years.[6]”
***source: wikipedia.org

Stonehenge Access Tours – go beyond the fences! 

HisTOURies UK
Mystical Landscape, Magical Tours

Read Full Post »

Had the question been posed at the dawn of time – which is the species most likely to survive and dominate the planet? – mankind would probably not even have featured.

After all, we’re a somewhat puny lot. We don’t have claws or sharp teeth to help us hunt, or fur to keep us warm. We’re neither the tallest nor the fastest animals on Earth.

Our babies are born pitifully weak. As species go, you’d have been crazy to have bet on us.

Jane's new TV series Mankind: The Story Of All Of Us on the History Channel tells the whole story of humankind in 12 hours

Jane’s new TV series Mankind: The Story Of All Of Us on the History Channel tells the whole story of humankind in 12 hours

Yet survive we have, while 99 per cent of all life forms have become extinct. How on Earth did we do it? My new TV series Mankind: The Story Of All Of Us on the History Channel sets out to answer this question. It tells the whole story of humankind in 12 hours.

We wanted to take a completely new look at who we are and where we came from, and make it thrilling television at the same time.

It’s a ridiculously huge undertaking, but with the world beset by economic crisis and threatened by climate change, we wanted to tell an optimistic story of the incredible things that we, as a species, have accomplished.

We have, after all, manipulated the forces of our planet. We used fire to cook our food, making it easier to digest – giving us smaller stomachs and bigger brains (they’ve doubled in size in  2 million years). We turned other animals into companions – our Ice Age enemy, the wolf, became a hunting buddy and man’s best friend.

These ancient wolves are the ancestors of all the dogs alive today. And we unravelled the chemistry of our planet, unlocking nitrogen from the atmosphere to use as fertiliser – revolutionising food production and helping our population to grow faster in the first 50 years of the 20th century than it did in the previous 50,000.

Mankind’s journey from a few thousand hunter-gatherers on the African savannah 100,000 years ago to a population of seven billion today has been one built around science, invention and warfare.

Along the way we have learned about the weather, navigation and trade, about medicine, evolution and the explosive power of the atom. The sacking of Rome, the industrial revolution and mapping our own DNA are just a handful of the pivotal points along the route.

Today, one in three people on the planet is Christian, but word of the death of a man called Jesus from Nazareth 2,000 years ago might never have spread across the world if it hadn’t been for the might of the Roman Empire.

It was the Romans who mastered road-building and built a vast network of shipping lanesIt was the Romans who mastered road-building and built a vast network of shipping lanes, allowing goods and ideas to flow across three continents. In the Andes, the Spanish opened up the largest silver mine in the world in the 16th century, minting millions of coins which transformed the global economy – filling the chests of pirates, fuelling a stock market boom and, via the British Empire, helping to pay for the Taj Mahal.

As trade boomed, millions of people came into the New World as slaves, bringing their customs and culture with them and creating a diaspora that has spread around the planet.

The tale we’re telling is a global story. What most of us learn at school is our own history: I learned British history, but now I live in America with my British husband and very American seven-year-old daughter, Molly.

She gets taught American history and knows everything about George Washington, but not so much about Brunel. It’s the same story across the world: in Shanghai you learn Chinese history, in Lima, Peruvian history. None of us grows up thinking about how astoundingly interconnected the whole world is.

How many of us realise that ancient Britons built Stonehenge around the same time as the Egyptians constructed the pyramids, over 2,000 miles away? Or that farming was discovered – across the world – at almost exactly the same time?

How different would the world be if every child, everywhere, grew up thinking about all the things that have united mankind for millions of years, rather than the things that divide us right now?

People ask me how you go about condensing so much information into 12 hours of television, and the answer is prodigious planning, then breaking it down into manageable nuggets. We decided where we wanted to start (the Big Bang) and end (the near future).

Then our team spoke to an awful lot of people. Our main consultant was Ian Morris, the British professor of History and Classics at America’s Stanford University, but we also spoke to a further 200 or so historians across the globe.

 

When we made the series The British for Sky TV earlier this year we had experts who knew our entire history. With Mankind we had to find the one person who knew about the Vikings in America, for example, then someone else who knew about corn in the Mayan diet, and so on.

Most importantly we wanted to create must-see television. I want there to be a buzz and for people to want to be at home for it. To realise that feeling of excitement we’ve tried not only to tell incredible tales from the past, but to show them in a totally different way.

We spent two years filming in four different countries to give the shows a variety of landscapes that would make them visually astounding.

We’ve tried to give people a feature-film experience. I want the audience to feel as though the history is growing around them – which we’ve attempted to do with computer graphics to complement the drama.

The final piece of the jigsaw was securing Stephen Fry for the voice-over. His excitement about knowledge is a joy to behold and very close to the heart of what we’re trying to do.

I hope everyone watching will discover something new. For me, it all comes down to one big thing. The world we live in has to contend with ferocious storms and economic meltdowns, but in the mid-14th century plague wiped out a third of the population of Europe in a couple of years.

Mankind survived, and a new world emerged. We are incredibly resilient and we go on and on. If you take the really long view, things always get better.

Mankind: The Story Of All Of Us, Wednesday, 10pm, History Channel

Link source and ful ariticle: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2233399/Former-BBC2-controller-Jane-Root-ambitious-TV-project–condensing-entire-history-human-race-just-12-hours.html

HisTOURies UK
Mystical Landscape, magical Tours

Read Full Post »

An adaptation of William Golding’s powerful novel dramatising the building of the spire of Salisbury Cathedral in the 14th century is full of strong performances, writes Jane Shilling.

The Spire, an adaptation of William Golding's novel of the same name, performed at Salisbury Playhouse.

The Spire, an adaptation of William Golding’s novel of the same name, performed at Salisbury Playhouse.

The spire of Salisbury cathedral rears over the city, its apex surmounted by an oddly festive bobble of red light. The novelist William Golding lived and taught in Salisbury for many years and his novel, The Spire, imagines the building of the great pinnacle — the tallest in England — which was added to the original structure in 1320, a century after the foundation stone was laid.

Its construction was a miracle of faith over physics. The land on which the cathedral stood was swampy, and the foundations seemed insufficient to support the additional weight. Golding’s novel imagines the spire as the vision of a driven man, Dean Jocelin, who believes that he has been commanded by God to build it to glorify Him and bring the congregation closer to heaven.

As in all acts of spiritual conviction, there is a fine tension between the exaltation of God and Jocelin’s sinful human pride. Golding’s novel brilliantly conveys this by means of Jocelin’s interior monologue. Roger Spottiswoode, who has adapted Golding’s novel for the stage, has a harder task.

Gareth Machin, the artistic director of the Salisbury Playhouse, sets his production on an all-but-bare black set of cloistral simplicity, beautifully lit by Philip Gladwell to define the sharp angles of stone and flesh – we see mortality as a constant haunting presence in the skulls so clearly visible beneath the actors’ skins.

Mark Meadows as Dean Jocelin is the image of a man in whom spiritual and temporal desires are irreconcilably and, in the end, fatally at war. He is able to override the doubts of his brethren at the Cathedral by sheer force of will, combined with the wealth of his aunt Lady Alison (a spirited performance by Sarah Moyle) who takes a highly pragmatic attitude to atoning for the sins of the flesh committed in her youth by putting the riches thus acquired to holy use. The scene in which she explains to her nephew the venal means by which his early preferment came about is a fine study in tragic-comic devastation.

Strong performances by the supporting cast, particularly Vincenzo Pellegrino as the master mason, Roger, animate this gallant essay in dramatising Golding’s vastly complex fiction. So powerful a presence is the cathedral in the drama that it would be perverse not to combine a visit to the play with a trip to the beautiful building that inspired it.

Full article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-reviews/9672496/The-Spire-Salisbury-Playhouse-review.html

Link: http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/news.php?id=682

Until Nov 24. Tickets:             01722 329333      ;
www.salisbury playhouse.com

On Friday 16 November, 7.30pm – 9.00pm, the Dean of Salisbury, the Very Revd June Osborne, and Gareth Machin, the play’s director, can be heard in conversation as they explore Golding’s tale of Jocelin’s vision in the very location itself, sitting underneath the spire. There will also be readings from the novel and an opportunity to ask questions. Themes include: Jocelin’s vision – was it foolish or inspired? Golding’s juxtaposition of faith and science, the challenges of staging ‘The Spire’ – and the challenges of maintaining the real spire.
Tickets, £8.00 (adults) and £2.50 (students) for ‘A burning will….exploring The Spire’ are available online from http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk here or from Salisbury Playhouse box office,            01722 320333      . All proceeds towards the Cathedral’s Major Repair Programme.

Special tower and floor tours at Salisbury Cathedral focussing on what really happened when the 6500 tonnes tower and spire were added take place on Saturdays 3, 10 and 24 November, and Monday 5, Tuesday 13 and Thursday 22 November.
‘The Spire’ tower tours, £10.00 (£8.00 concessions), begin at 2.15pm (allow 90 minutes) Pre-booking essential online at: http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk here or telephone            01722 555156      .
Floor tours begin at 11.00am (allow 60 minutes) No booking or tickets required – just turn up. Visitors are requested to make a donation to help towards the fabric of the Cathedral.

Further information:
Salisbury Cathedral special events based on ‘The Spire’:

Sarah Flanaghan,             01722 555148       /             07771 510811       or s.flanaghan@salcath.co.uk
Salisbury Playhouse production of The Spire
Gemma Twiselton,             01722 320117       or press@salisburyplayhouse.com
Salisbury Playhouse production of The Spire can be seen from 1 – 24 November, box office            01722 320333      .

HisTOURies UK
Mystical Landscape, Marical Tours

Read Full Post »

Cruising from Southampton? Flying home? Time to spare?
Why not explore some of England’s finest locations with your own personal guide. We can accommodate groups of all sizes, from individuals to large tour groups.

You choose the place, at your own pace, the itineraries are created especially for you……

Guided Tours From A Few Hours To A Day

Mini Coach Hire and ToursThere are so many wonderful places to visit within the catchment area of Southampton. Below are some of the more popular itineraries available to give you a taster of what is possible.

Our professional driver/guides are proud to showcase this region of England. You can choose from classic traditional sightseeing of places like Stonehenge, Salisbury or Winchester Cathedral, Georgian’ Bath, Glastonbury or perhaps pursue a theme where it be literary, English gardens or a pub crawl.

Our free tour planning service take great pleasure in assisting you to formulate an itinerary that fits your own individual requirements. We have a variety of guides with their own specialties and areas of interest and will assign one that is right for your tour profile.

Some Popular Itineraries From Southampton

Southampton & The Titanic

Come and discover Southampton’s Old Town, one of the gems of England. A place, with some unique features, that has played its part in history.

Go back in time at award winning museums, explore historic buildings; see how people lived here in past centuries and why the loss of the Titanic had such a devastating effect on Southampton.

Salisbury & Stonehenge Guided Tours

Just 30 minutes from Southampton is Salisbury. Famous for its Cathedral and Magna Carta this medieval city has much else besides. Stonehenge needs no introduction, you are so close to Stonehenge from Southampton its a shame if you don’t make a visit and experience the mysteries of the Stonehenge landscape.

Bath

Visit the beautiful Georgian City of Bath and take a panoramic tour of some of the finest architectural sights in Europe, including Bath Abbey, the Royal Crescent, the Circus, Assembly Rooms and the famous Pulteney Bridge. Explore the Roman Baths, built around thermal springs, which have been supplying water for over 2,000 years.

Portsmouth

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard allows you to discover these exquisite world renowned historic ships: HMS Victory and the Royal Navys most famous war ship and the worlds’ oldest commissioned ship. The Mary Rose – the only surviving 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world & HMS Warrior 1860 who made her triumphant return to Portsmouh in 1987 and now fully restored to her Victorian glory. These ships have shaped British history.

Countryside & Cottages, Cream Teas and Village Pubs

The New Forest is a former royal hunting area in the south of England. It was created in 1079 by William I (known as William the Conqueror) as a hunting area, principally of deer. It is a unique area of historical, ecological and agricultural significance, and retains many of the rural practices conceded by the Crown in historical times to local people

Picturesque Villages, bustling market towns and a special atmosphere and timelessness. Ponies and cattle roam freely around villages, following ancient forest tracks used for centuries by Commoners and their livestock. Picturesque thatched cottages tucked away in unexpected places, the New Forest has remained untouched by time, steeped in old customs and history, enabling visitors to unwind and enjoy its tranquil atmosphere.

Get To Understand Stonehenge Like Few Others From Southampton

The average tour bus spends at the very most one hour at Stonehenge. Time enough for those just curious to witness in person this world famous monument, get a few photographs, a better understanding of the mysteries of Stonehenge and perhaps a memento from the gift shop.

If you want something more than this, then this maybe is for you.

We have a team of local guides who specialise in Stonehenge and the Neolithic era. We can offer a detailed tour that explores all facets connected to Stonehenge, going well beyond what you hear on the audio tape.

Nothing is taboo, we cover in depth the archeological, planetary and mystical/pagan strands that intertwine in uncovering what Stonehenge is, and what it is all about.

Its not a dry lecture tour either, its very much a hands-on tour, we’ll track ley lines,enter inside Neolithic burial mounds and walk the ceremonial routes into the henges. You’ll also see some of the very best of the English Countryside and if you wish visit a village pub, away from the tourist crowds.

Links:
http://www.visit-southampton.co.uk/
http://www.southamptonairport.com/
http://www.londontoolkit.com

 HisTOURies UK – www.HisTOURies.co.uk
Mystical Landscape, Magical Tours

Read Full Post »

A face from the past

This face is 2000 years old. He is a mature man with hair combed back, clean-shaven except for a well-groomed moustache. Images of prehistoric Britons are very rare and in the Iron Age people were almost never shown as statues or carved as part of the decoration on objects. La Tène art styles were usually abstract and rarely showed images of people, animals or plants. This pattern changed at the very end of the Iron Age in the south east of the England. Here, there are a few pictures of Iron Age men shown on coins or as decorations on wooden buckets.

This is one of three small bronze models of men’s faces that were the decoration on a wooden bucket found in a Late Iron Age cremation burial. The grave probably belonged to someone of great importance and wealth, perhaps even a king or queen. The bucket would have looked similar to the one found in another Late Iron Age cremation burial at Aylesford, Kent. This also had men’s faces on the handle mounts.

The grave was the burial of a king or queen similar to another royal grave at Welwyn Garden City. The grave also contained two bronze jugs and a bronze pan, similar to examples from the Aylesford burial. There were also two Roman silver cups, five Roman wine amphorae and many pots.

S. James and V. Rigby, Britain and the Celtic Iron Ag (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

I.M. Stead, Celtic art in Britain before t (London, The British Museum Press, 1987, revised edition 1997)

Source: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pe_prb/b/bronze_model_of_a_human_head.aspx

HisTOURies UK
The Best Tours in British History

Read Full Post »

A BUS company taking tourists to Stonehenge has said it will make scheduled stops in Amesbury again after residents expressed outrage over the lack of public transport links to the world heritage site.

Stonehenge Tour BusWilts & Dorset, which runs the Stonehenge Tour, currently only has a request stop in Amesbury for the tour, meaning many tourists dropped off by other coach companies often have to pay for a taxi to Stonehenge or are forced to walk there. For Amesbury, which is promoting itself as the centre of the Stonehenge region and encouraging tourists to visit, the lack of joined-up public transport has provided a “very bad image”.

Concerned residents told the Journal small groups of young tourists from abroad were often seen in Amesbury asking how they could get to Stonehenge.

Ann Riordan, who lives in the town said: “They are often confused about directions and I have come to fear greatly for their safety in walking along and then crossing the very busy A303.” Amesbury’s mayor Jan Swindlehurst welcomed the news from the bus company, saying: “I think the whole town council will be overjoyed – no-one could understand why Wilts & Dorset stopped it in the first place.

Stonehenge is a 365 day a year attraction – some days there may be no-one but on others there can be six or eight people, if it’s pouring with rain the last thing you want to do is walk there.

“It’s in our parish and yet we seem to be the only ones who can’t get people there.”

A spokesman for Wilts & Dorset said the bus stop in High Street near the bus station would be reinstated in about a week’s time.

Article Source: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/10015192.Stonehenge_bus_link_restored/ (Elizabeth Kemble

 

The Stonehenge Tour Bus

The Stonehenge Tour Bus pictured above is the only regular public transport to Stonehenge itself. It normally runs at least hourly and more frequently in the summer months. The Stonehenge Tour Bus also allows you to stop over at Old Sarum, which is worthwhile.

 

The journey itself is quite scenic. The Stonehenge Tour Bus starts from Salisbury Rail Station and also picks up at the Bus Station. There is no left luggage facility at the train station but the Cat Tavern, a pub about 100 yards down the approach road of the rail station acts as the left luggage service for Salisbury – though its not advertised on the outside of the premises.

 

The bus works on a hop on, hop off principle. You can spend as long as you like at Stonehenge or Old Sarum, you do not have to ride on a particular schedule.
Buses depart Salisbury Station hourly from 10 a.m. daily stopping broadly in-line with the closing time of Stonehenge. You could not use this service for Special Access visits outside normal opening hours of Stonehenge.

The buses are double deck buses, so you get a great view of the countryside too. You also get a very informative commentary as you go along about Stonehenge, Salisbury and much else besides.

 

You can purchase tickets both on-line in advance or from the bus itself on the day.
There are several ticket options. You can opt to pay just for the tour bus or a ticket that combines the tour bus with admission to Stonehenge and Old Sarum or Stonehenge, Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral.

 

Visiting all three attractions is very much a rewarding full day out. At the end of the day do explore the centre of town and ideally find a pub or restaurant to relax before a late train out

HisTOURies UK
Mystical Landscape, Magical Tours

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: