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Archive for the ‘Funny’ Category

We were excited to see news of the first crop circles in Wiltshire, home to Histouries UK.  We have already been taking private groups to see them and have a great relationship with local farmers allowing us to enter the fields when other can’t. Many locals have reported strange lights in the skies and hearing srtange noises at the same time as the mysterious circles appear (serach on YouTube to view video footage)
Whatever your thoughts on this phenomena they are fantastis to see both form a distance and up-close giving some amazing and unique phot opportunites. We do offer dedicated crop circles, however our regular historical guided tours visiting Stonehenge, Salisbury, Old Sarum Hillfort, Glastonbury and the Wessex are will pass these crop circles and the topic will be discussed in depth.
We expect to see crop circles between May and September this year (2010)

Some more information on the recent circles………….

Herewith the first crop circle of 2010. It is in oil seed rape and measures approx: 180 foot diameter. It is a circle containing six arcs intercepted by a small circle surrounded by a larger circle. A lozenge shape lies alongside the sixth arc with seven circles lying in an arc below. It lies below the ancient Hill Fort Old Sarum in Hampshire. Sadly due to the fact that it lies in Boscombe Military Air space it is also directly below the helicopter low flight approach zone, the images were taken from 2000 feet and also the crop is not yet in full bloom so the imprint is poor

The first week in May we witness the first English Crop Circle in southern Wiltshire. The area around Old Sarum is certainly not an active part of the countryside for the phenomenon. In fact it has only witnessed a few events of the last two decades, which makes this ‘Curtain Opener’ to the 2010 season quite a surprise.

UPDATE

On further investigation, it would appear the positioning of the crop circle in relation to Old Sarum, actually lies on the direct path of a very well know Ley Line which has an alignment with Stonehenge, and cuts the nearside edge of the inner banks of the fortified encampment of Old Sarum. This Ley Line then straight through Salisbury Cathedral itself, and the hill forts of Clearbury Rings and then Frankenbury Camp in Hampshire.

This clearly indicates that the positioning of Crop Circles could indeed be connected with Ley Lines, which are aligned to well known Ancient Sites. Are we being shown a doorway to ancient knowledge? Will we find the key in 2010?

Heather
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in Wiltshire – Salisbury and Stonehenge Guided Tours

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The cuckoo traditionally marks the beginning of spring and right on cue to mark the first day of summer a crop circle has been spotted.

The first to be seen of that seasonal staple it is made up of curious swirls and has been ‘discovered’ in a field of oil seed rape in Wiltshire close to the remains of an Iron Age hill fort.

The crop circle lies close to the Iron Age hill fort of Old Sarum where Romans, Normans and Saxons have all since left their mark. To the right of the mound lies the outline of where the first Salisbury cathedral stood

The county is a popular spot for crop circle sightings and this one was found overlooking the historic site of Old Sarum, near Salisbury, near to where a 150ft dragonfly appeared in a field last year.
The bizarre shapes and designs are predominately found in the counties of South West England. However, they tend to pop up in other regions too and last year a 600ft jellyfish appeared in Oxfordshire – becoming the first jellyfish crop circle in the world.
The crop circle season normally begins in April with them increasing in number to a high point in July and August.
Just how these creations come into being is the subject of heated debate with some arguing they are the work of artists, while others feel they are deliberately created to bring in tourism.
The fact that many appear on ancient ‘ley lines’ leads others to believe they carry a mystical meaning.

Ley lines are supposed straight lines connecting three or more prehistoric or ancient sites which are associated by some with lines of energy and other paranormal phenomena.

However they’re formed though, tourists keep flocking to the circles every year to get a glimpse of the giant patterns.

OLD SARUM
Old Sarum was a mighty Iron Age hill fort which became the site of the first Salisbury cathedral. Chosen because of its strategic importance it was where two trade routes and the River Avon meet.
The Romans installed a garrison in the river valley below the site which was named Sorviodunum. Under the Anglo Saxons it ranked among the most considerable towns of the West Kingdom before the Normans arrived and built a castle there in 1069. The construction of the cathedral began in 1075 and it was nearly 200 years later that the second cathedral that stands today was built.

Nicholas – Stonehenge and Salisbury Tour Guide
Histouries UK – The Best Tours of Wessex

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One of our guides has just reported a crop circle report, the very first in Britain! One is next to Old Sarum Castle, the other is directly oppisite Stonehenge Stone Circle. We will post more details the next 254 hours but here are some pics……………… Needless to say we are currently taking clients to these circles en-route to Stonehenge


Pat – UK Crop Circle Tours
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in Wessex

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A town in Australia is hoping to boost local tourism by building a life-sized replica of Stonehenge. (Clonehenge)

Down under Clonehenge

The controversial plan aims to recreate the 4000 year-old Wiltshire monument on Twilight Beach in Esperance.
More than 100 stones are to be erected on a hillside overlooking the beach, 740km southeast of Perth. The largest stone is over seven metres high and weighs more than 50 tonnes.

The granite blocks were originally ordered by an Australian entrepreneur who intended to build a Stonehenge replica two years ago.

Ross Smith planned to construct the replica in the Margaret River region of Western Australia but his $1.4 million project collapsed after the proposed development went into the hands of liquidators.

Now the quarry has offered the stone blocks to Esperance for $300,000. A further $900,000 is needed for site works, a car park and tourism facilities.

The project is being spearheaded by Esperance’s Rotary club. Kim Beale, a spokesman for the club, told the Perth Sunday Times that it was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to be involved in a project that could still be standing in thousands of years.

“Obviously some people may wonder why you’d build Stonehenge at Esperance, but the stone is already here and I think it’s a good opportunity. I reckon it’s quite fascinating,” he said.

It is hoped that the ambitious project will boost revenue for the sea-side town.

Tourism association president Heather Gee said: “It was a concern at first because we thought it would be better to have something uniquely Esperance. But I think it could be a really stunning attraction.”

The local council has agreed to provide land near Twilight Beach. Ian Mickel, president of the Shire of Esperance, said it was a unique idea that has council backing.

“I understand there are two or three replicas of it around the world but they are all made from things other than granite rock,” he said.

“This would be built out of true Merivale granite rock which I believe would certainly be a very interesting and exciting tourism facility to have here in Esperance.”

David – Stonehenge (The English Stonehenge) Tour Guide
Histouries UK Tours – The Best Tours in British History

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Morris Dancers

England lags far behind the rest of Europe in the number of bank holidays we get. A bank holiday on Saint Georges Day would be a great opportunity for all the English (regardless of colour or religion) to recognise what binds us together – instead of concentrating on our differences.
Everything from football to fish & chips, and cricket to curry could be celebrated on our national day.

Northern Ireland already has a bank holiday on St. Patrick’s Day, the Scottish Parliament has introduced a voluntary Bank Holiday on St. Andrew’s Day and the Welsh Assembly agree that St. David’s Day should be a holiday.

Help us persuade the government to give England a bank holiday on St Georges Day. Book the day off work on Friday 23 April, 2010. If we all take a holiday on the same day it will send a powerful message to those in charge.

Celebrate St. Georges Day with friends and family.

Click here to sign our pledge to support a bank holiday on St Georges Day. Thank you.

Some St George’s Day events 2010

If you’re looking for ideas then look no further. Scroll down for a list of great events taking place around the English regions on St George’s Day this year and find out more about the some of the history and legend surrounding St George.

South West

Yate Heritage Centre, South Gloucestershire

St George's Cross

Kick St. George’s Day off with a procession, starting at 10:15am on the April 24. After the procession there will be folk singers and musicians, Morris dancing, storytelling, brass bands, a special rugby tournament, art and sport awards, craft workshops, games, petanque, face painting, craft stalls and food at venues around Yate & District Heritage Centre, St. Mary’s Church, the White Lion and St. Mary’s School.

More about the Yates Heritage Centre event

Heart of England

Tamworth Castle, Staffordshire

Children playingMark St. George’s Day with a medieval extravaganza at Tamworth Castle. Witness soldiers preparing for battle, lords and ladies going about their daily lives and servants keeping the household running. There’ll be demonstrations, living history and arts and crafts events to enjoy.

More about the event at Tamworth Castle

Birmingham’s St George’s Day Celebrations

Chamberlain Square, BirminghamCelebrate St. George’s Day with music, dance, children’s entertainment and food and drink stalls including a hog roast. At the Victoria Square stage you’ll find one of England’s finest brass bands. There’s also folk music and a tribute band to Roxy Music as well as live music from local band Deluka. There’ll be an English market selling traditional arts and crafts.

More about the Birmingham celebrations

East Midlands

St. George’s Festival, Leicester City Centre

Getting into the spirit of thingsThe Leicester St. George’s Festival celebrates the old and the new with a fun-filled weekend of activities and events. Celebrations start at Leicester Market on April 23, followed by the Family Festival on Saturday 24 at Orton Square and ending with the Annual Parade on Sunday 25.

More about the festival in Leicester

South East

Crofton Lions Festival of St. George, Stubbington Green & Recreation Ground, near Portsmouth

Knight in shining armour?Join Town Criers calling for a Loyal Toast to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday on April 21. On the 24 there’ll be a Village Fayre, which will include the WEOROD Living History: Early Medieval Encampment. There will also be combat displays, archery, riding, traditional crafts, Morris dancing, Turkish dancers, a jester, Punch & Judy shows and hog roasts. If you still want more, there’ll be fancy dress competitions, a painting competition and a photographic display of ‘Images of England’.

More about the Crofton Lions Festival of St. George

St. George’s Weekend & Grand Concert, Cowes, Isle of Wight

Children having funEnjoy a grand Last Night of the Proms style concert at Cowes Yachthaven Events Centre on Friday evening April 23 followed by a weekend of family fun. With a Fancy Dress Parade from East Cowes to Northwood Park, Cowes, marching bands, dancing displays, Punch and Judy Show, Tug of War and food stalls, they’ll be plenty to keep you occupied. On Sunday, there’s a display of Classic Cars and Motorbikes.

More about the event in Cowes

London

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar SquareJoin Londoners as they gather to celebrate in Trafalgar Square. They’ll be live bands and street entertainers putting on a very English display complete with food stalls. With Shakespeare’s Birthday on the same day, head across the river to the Globe Theatre for workshops and interactive fun and games.

More about the celebrations in Trafalgar Square

St. George’s Day Rugby, Twickenham Stadium

The Rugby Stadium, TwickenhamLondon Wasps will battle against Bath in this celebratory fixture at Twickenham. Through Wasps official charity, the Dallaglio Foundation, the St. George’s Day Game will raise money for Help for Heroes, an organisation that supports service personnel injured in combat.

More about the rugby match at Twickenham

North West

St. George Festival, Albert Square, Manchester City Centre

Child dressed as St GeorgeWith a mixture of entertainment, food, market stalls and music to celebrate England’s patron saint, this three-day event promises something for everyone. The festival starts on St. George’s Day – April 23 and runs through to Sunday 25.

More about St. George Festival in Manchester

North East

The Rhythm Kings British Jazz, various locations in North Tyneside

JazzCatch up with The Rhythm Kings as they play classic traditional English jazz for St. George’s Day.
Find them at North Shields (Bedford Street) between 10am and 11am, at Wallsend (bandstand, outside the Forum) 12.30pm-1.30pm, and at Whitley Bay (town centre) 3pm-4pm, on Saturday April 24.

Yorkshire

St George Tournament & Festival, Morley, Leeds

Flying the flagWith a knight on horseback, re-enactments of battles, falcon displays, a market, 100 long-bow archers, tug of war, vintage cars and a fairground, this event promises to offer something for everyone. The event starts Saturday, April 17 and ends Sunday, April 18.

George – London Tour Guide
Histouries ~ UK Tours ‘Bringing History alive’

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As St Georges Day approaches I thought we would explore the history this week and ’10 Ways to celebrate St Georges Day’

A History of St. George
Who was St George? What is myth and what is fact? Did he really slay the Dragon? Why is he such a popular Saint, celebrated in so many Countries, Races, Religions and Organisations?

The celebration of St George’s Day is currently fairly low key in England and much more celebrated elsewhere. However, the Society and its members are clearly succeeding in their constant efforts to revive St. George’s Day as the day on which to celebrate being English.

There are many legends in many cultures about St. George, but they all have a common theme; he must have been an outstanding character in his lifetime, for his reputation to have survived for almost 1,700 years!

Most authorities on the subject seem to agree that he was born in Cappadocia in what is now Turkey, in about the year 280 AD. It is probable that from his physical description, he was of Darian origin, because of his tall stature and fair hair. He enlisted into the Cavalry of the Roman Army at the age of 17, during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian and very quickly established a reputation amongst his peers, for his virtuous behaviour and physical strength; his military bearing, valour and handsome good looks.

He quickly achieved the rank of Millenary or Tribunus Militum, an officer’s rank roughly equivalent to a full Colonel, in charge of a regiment of 1,000 men and became a particular favourite of his Emperor. Diocletian was a skilled military tactician and strict disciplinarian, who set himself the task of rejuvenating the morale of the citizens of Rome by reviving the prevailing traditions and paganism of Rome. It may be recalled that this was a time of high inflation and civil unrest and one outcome of this was the increasing influence of Christianity.

Diocletian’s second in Command was Galerius, the conqueror of Persia and an avid supporter of the Pagan religion. As a result of a rumour that the Christians were plotting the death of Galerius, an edict was issued that all Christian Churches were to be destroyed and all scriptures to be burnt. Anyone admitting to being a Christian, would lose his rights as a citizen, if not his life.

As a consequence, Diocletian took strict action against any alternative forms of religion in general and the Christian faith in particular. He achieved the reputation of being perhaps the cruellest persecutor of Christians at that time.

Many Christians feared to be loyal to their God; but, having become a convert to Christianity, St. George acted to limit the excesses of Diocletian’s actions against the Christians. He went to the city of Nicomedia where, upon entering, he tore down the notice of the Emperor’s edict. St. George gained great respect for his compassion towards Diocletian’s victims.

As news spread of his rebellion against the persecutions St. George realised that, as both Diocletian and Galerius were in the city, it would not be long before he was arrested.He prepared for the event by disposing of his property to the poor and he freed his slaves.

When he appeared before Diocietian, it is said that St. George bravely denounced him for his unnecessary cruelty and injustice and that he made an eloquent and courageous speech. He stirred the populace with his powerful and convincing rhetoric against the Imperial Decree to persecute Christians. Diocietian refused to acknowledge or accede to St. George’s reasoned, reproachful condemnation of his actions. The Emperor consigned St George to prison with instructions that he be tortured until he denied his faith in Christ.

St George, having defended his faith was beheaded at Nicomedia near Lyddia in Palestine on the 23rd of April in the year 303 AD.

Stories of St. George’s courage soon spread and his reputation grew very quickly. He soon became known in Russia and the Ukraine as the Trophy Bearer and his remains are said to have been buried in the church that bears his name in Lydda. However, his head was carried to Rome, where it was preserved in the Church that is also dedicated to him.

St George was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church and is recognised in the liturgy of the Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Churches as well as the Roman Catholic Church. He has been revered in the Ukraine since Christianity was established in 988 AD by Volodymyr the Great the Prince of the Kyivan empire. The Romanesque Monastic order in Prague established St. George’s Church in the Castle in the year 920AD and in the year 1119 AD the Cathedral of St George was founded in Novgorod. His reputation for virtue and chivalrous conduct became the spiritual inspiration of the Crusaders and by this time the pennant or flag with a red cross on a white or silver background became prominent as a means of recognition by English Knights. It was also worn on breast plates.

In the year 1348 King Edward Ill established the Knights of the Garter, which is the oldest order of Chivalry in Europe. The Order of the Garter was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Edward the Confessor and St George. The Insignia of the order consists of a collar and badge appendant known as the George, the Star, the Garter and the Sash with the Investment Badge called the lesser George. This is a gold and richly enamelled representation of St George on horseback slaying the dragon.

A similar representation of St George can be seen in our Armorial Bearings and in the collar and appendant that officers of The Royal Society wear.

In 1352 the College of St George was established in Windsor, with 6 Chorister boys and since then, St George’s school has played an important role in the daily worship and on State Occasions in the Queen’s Free Chapel of St George in Windsor Castle. By providing free education and sustenance for the boys, a priceless musical inheritance in choral worship has been established and their numbers increased until the Plague struck in 1479 when the numbers were reduced from thirteen to six again but recovered to thirteen by Michaelmas in 1482.

It was in the year 1415 AD that St. George became the Patron Saint of England when English Soldiers under Henry V won the battle of Agincourt.

In 1497 in the reign of Henry VIII, the pennant of the Cross of St. George was flown by John Cabot when he sailed to Newfoundland and it was also flown by Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1620 it was the flag that was flown by the Mayflower when the Pilgrim Fathers arrived in Plymouth Massachusetts. It is also the flag of the Church of England and as such is known throughout Christendom.

In the year 1728 AD Maximilian II Emanuel, the Elector of Bavaria, established by Papal Bull The Royal Military Order of St George, as a means of honouring distinguished military service for it was clear that by this time, his name had become associated with the purity of spirit, selfless devotion to duty and boundless courage and valour in the face of adversity. In more recent times, St George was chosen as the patron saint of Scouting, because of the ideals that he represents and it is interesting to note that he is also the Patron Saint of Barcelona in Catalonia, Aragon, Russia, Bavaria, Beirut, Czechoslovakia, Portugal, Lithuania and Hungary, to name but a few. Virtually every country in Europe and the Commonwealth has a church dedicated to St. George.

During World War 2 King George V1 established the George Cross for outstanding acts of Civilian Valour and one of the earliest recipients was the Island of Malta, for its outstanding courage in~ the face of the constant bombardment by the Italian and German Airforce. It is, coincidentally, the Island that was so closely associated and governed by the Crusaders who arrived from the Island of Rhodes in the 14″ Century, following their 200 year war with the Turks.

The legends about St George spread far and wide and it was claimed that near the town of Silene in Libya, a dragon dwelt, keeping the population in terror. To satiate him the population tethered an animal, until they had no more. They then provided human sacrifices and in ultimate desperation, a young princess was selected, the king’s daughter named Cleolinda. The story then relates how St. George rode up on his white charger, dismounted and fought the monster on foot; until it eventually succumbed. He then dragged the dying monster into the city, using the girdle of the Princess and slew the dragon in front of the people. St. George was greeted as their saviour and the King offered him a bag of gold as a reward for saving his daughter. This he refused and asked that it be given to the poor.

The story is a powerful allegory, emblematic of the triumph of good over evil; but it also teaches of enduring Christian faith in the extreme and the trust that at all times should be placed in the Almighty by the invocation of the name of St. George, Soldier, Saint and Martyr.

In the 13″ Century, there was a Guild of St. George to which the Honourable Company of Pikemen were related before evolving into the Honourable Artillery Company. Many regiments of the Army still celebrate St. George’s Day with great ceremony.

In Barcelona, it is traditional to give a book as a token of St. George’s Day, whilst in Russia and the Ukraine the day is celebrated by Spring Festivals and Picnics to celebrate the end of winter. In the world of Scouting, it is the first day for camping.

David – Bath and Salisbury Tour Guide
HISTOURIES UK – The Best Tours in British History

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Gordon Brown is my shepherd, I shall not work.
He leadeth me beside still factories.
He restoreth my faith in the Conservative Party.
He guideth me in the path of unemployment.
Yea, though I wait for my dole, I own the bank that refuses me.
Brown has anointed my income taxes, my expenses runneth over my income,
surely, poverty and hard living will follow me all the days of his term.
From hence forth we will live all the days of our lives in a rented home with an overseas landlord.
I am glad I am British, I am glad I am free.
But I wish I were a dog and Brown were a tree.

Thought you would all like that
Nicholas – Voting Tories this time!
Histouries UK – British Tour Guide

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Goodbye to my England, So long my old friend
Your days are numbered, being brought to an end
To be Scottish, Irish or Welsh that’s fine
But don’t say your English, that’s way out of line.

The French and the Germans may call themselves such
So may Norwegians, the Swedes and the Dutch
You can say you are Russian or maybe a Dane
But don’t say your English ever again

At Broadcasting House the word is taboo
In Brussels it’s scrapped. In Parliament too
Even Schools are affected.  Staff do as they’re told
They must not teach children about England of old.

Writers like Shakespeare, Milton and Shaw
The pupils don’t learn about them anymore
How about Agincourt, Hastings, Arnhem or Mons ?
When England lost hosts of her very brave sons.

We are not Europeans, how can we be ?
Europe is miles away, over the sea
We’re the English from England, let’s all be proud
Stand up and be counted – Shout it out loud!

Let’s tell our Government and Brussels too
We’re proud of our heritage and the Red, White and Blue
Fly the flag of Saint George or the Union Jack
Let the world know – WE WANT OUR ENGLAND BACK!!

IF YOU ARE ENLISH, PASS IT ON

Copyright 2010 – Histouries UK – British Tour Guide

St George

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Rule Brittania

Rule Brittania

Would-be citizens to learn British History

Immigrants who want British citizenship will have to learn about the history of the United Kingdom but will not be tested on the subject, it was revealed today.
The Home Secretary’s expert on citizenship, Professor Sir Bernard Crick, said he had written a 38-page potted history of the British Isles which will form the basis of the course.
Immigrants will have to pass the “Britishness test” – due to come in next year – to be entitled to a British passport.
Sir Bernard revealed first details of a handbook which will form the basis of the test as the Home Office launched a new Advisory Board on Naturalisation and Integration.
“As a scholar, I put my head on the block and wrote a 38-page section on British history,” said Sir Bernard.
“The Home Secretary wanted some history in there, and so there is indeed some contained in the handbook. People won’t be tested on that.
“Only certain sections of the handbook will be tested but we see it all as being useful to them.”
British traditions
Home Secretary David Blunkett rejected early proposals for the handbook because they ignored British traditions and focused instead on teaching immigrants how to use the NHS and claim benefits.
The final draft – to be published next month – will include Sir Bernard’s chapter which covers early Britain, the Middle Ages, the Early Modern period, the growth of the Empire, the 20th century and British politics since 1945.
The handbook is designed for teachers, mentors and immigrants who already have a good grasp of English.
A condensed version will be produced “in as many translated languages as can be afforded” for people with poorer English skills, said Sir Bernard.
Sections of the course which will be tested are:
• “A changing society” – on migration to Britain, the changing role of women and children, family and young people;
• “Britain today” – on the population, religion and tolerance, the regions of the UK and customs and traditions;
• “How Britain is governed” – on the British constitution, formal institutions, devolution and Europe;
• “Employment” – on looking for work, equal rights, maternity, self-employment and children at work;
• “Knowing the law” – on human rights, the rights and duties of a citizen, marriage and divorce, children, consumer protection, the courts and legal aid and advice.
Two further sections will not be tested:
• “Everyday needs” – on housing, health, money and credit, education, leisure, travel and transport and identity documents;
• “Sources of help and information” – on help for refugees and newcomers, libraries, Citizens Advice Bureaux and the police.
Applications for citizenship rose by 21% to reach a record 139,000 last year, compared with a 6% rise in 2002.
The number granted citizenship was 124,315, of whom more than half came from Africa and the Indian subcontinent. A total of 426,000 people have applied for citizenship since 2000 and 416,000 have been granted it.
‘Dunkirk spirit’
The introduction to the handbook says: “Some history is essential for understanding the culture of any new country and can also help in following references in ordinary conversation by British people.
“We British are very fond, for instance, of ‘the Dunkirk spirit’, ‘the Nelson touch’ or ‘she’s a real Florence Nightingale’.”
In September last year the Tories estimated the cost of the citizenship classes would be £40 million a year, based on each applicant having to attend 10 two-hour classes.
Sir Bernard, an emeritus politics professor at Birkbeck College and Mr Blunkett’s former tutor, helped devise the citizenship courses in schools which Mr Blunkett initiated while Education Secretary.
To qualify for citizenship, applicants must have lived in the UK for five years without committing any serious offence, or three years if married to a British citizen.

Pat – Stonehenge Tour Guide
Histouries UK – Bringing ‘British’ History alive

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From the grassy deserted plains of southern England rises a circle of standing stones, some of them up to 24 feet tall. For centuries they have towered over visitors, offering tantalizing hints about their prehistoric past. For centuries, everyone who has stood before them has wondered the same thing: Who built this mysterious rock monument? And why?

“Since Stonehenge was built and rebuilt over a period of centuries, no one group has sole credit for its construction, but the main building seems to have been done by a people known as the ‘Beaker Folk,’” says Benjamin Hudson, professor of History and Medieval Studies at Penn State. The Beaker Folk (who earned their name from the distinctive inverted bell-shaped pottery drinking vessels they made) scattered throughout prehistoric western Europe.

The earliest construction at Stonehenge began about 3000 B.C., says Hudson, with a stone circle inside a ditch and bank. Within that circle lay a timber building; researchers have excavated from the site about 56 pits containing the remains of human cremations.

Construction continued for 600 years, in several phases of landscaping: Burial mounds (most pointing east-to-west) and ceremonial pathways were added to the site. In 2400 B.C., the builders erected the large sandstone blocks which give the site its name. (Coined by Henry of Huntingdon, a twelfth-century English historian, “Stonehenge” means “hinged or supported stones.”)

The means of moving those enormous standing stones has provoked centuries of speculation, with theories ranging from demonic powers to Merlin’s magic to alien technology. The reality is much more ordinary, says Hudson. “Much of the construction was little more than putting enough men under a stone to move it into place,” he notes, “although some basic engineering was required for the larger stones and the lintels.” One theory holds that the builders used simple inclines and levers to move the stones into place. Like the Egyptian pyramid-builders, the Stonehenge constructors relied more on brute labor than sophisticated technology.

Though one of the most complete and monumental examples of Neolithic and Bronze Age construction, Stonehenge was not alone in its time. Hudson notes one estimate that places it among 300 surviving stone monuments throughout the British Isles—including the famous stone circle in Avebury. The connections between and among these sites often remain murky, and undoubtedly many creations of the Beaker Folk have returned to nature, leaving few traces of their existence.

“Stonehenge forces us to reconsider the period of history that is not accompanied by written records,” Hudson says. Since the builders left no explanation, the precise purpose of their work remains obscure. One theory sees Stonehenge as a temple, pointing to the elaborate landscaping surrounding the site. More recently, historians and archaeologists have suggested it provided an observatory for either moon or sun cults. The Beaker Folk are believed to have been sun worshipers who aligned Stonehenge with certain important sun events, such as mid summer and winter solstices.

While the absence of records makes it nearly impossible to be certain about Stonehenge’s purpose, the site itself does leave us with a portrait of Beaker Folk society. “The building of the monument required knowledge of civil engineering, transportation, and quarrying,” he says. “The society that constructed it was wealthy enough to afford such an expensive venture and it also had a developed theology that provided the guidance for the designs whose meanings still elude us.”

Perhaps it is that elusive meaning that has, for centuries, drawn people to Stonehenge, to sit and wonder among the silent stones.

David – Stonehenge Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – Bringing History alve

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