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A team of archaeologists, led by a researcher from the University of Bristol, has uncovered the remains of a possible Stonehenge-type prehistoric earthwork monument in a field in Pembrokeshire.

trellyffaint-side-view-article

Side view of the south-eastern chamber looking south-west

Members of the Welsh Rock art Organisation have been investigating the area around the Neolithic burial chamber known as Trellyffaint – one of a handful of sites in western Britain that has examples of prehistoric rock art.

The site of Trellyffaint dates back at least 6,000 years and has been designated a Scheduled Monument. It is in the care of Welsh heritage agency Cadw.

The site comprises two stone chambers – one of which is relatively intact. Each chamber is set within the remains of an earthen cairn or mound which, due to ploughing regimes over the centuries, have been slowly uncovered.

On the capstone that covers the south-eastern chamber are at least 50 engraved cupmarks (one of the most common forms of later prehistoric engraving in Western Europe), the meaning of which has been long forgotten but probably represented some sort of pictorial message.

Before now, it is thought that the site has never been fully investigated.

Dr George Nash, lead project director from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol and his team, which includes former Bristol students, have conducted a series of non-intrusive surveys in and around the monument.

The fieldwork element of the project started in December 2016 following the acceptance of a project design by Cadw.

This phase included a magnetometry study which covered 80 square metres around the monument and a detailed earthwork survey of the monument itself.

The geophysical survey uncovered a number of anomalies which are considered to be more than likely buried prehistoric features.

Dr Nash said: “To the south and southwest of the stone chamber and appearing to run underneath the southern section of the Trellyffaint mound are two clear circular anomalies.

“It is regarded that this feature may possibly be a henge (otherwise referred to as a hengiform) measuring around 12 metres in diameter.

“It is not clear if this feature possesses an accompanying ditch, however, a circular anomaly extends around this feature, again we are unclear of the relationship (if any) with the smaller circle – only excavation will tell.”

Further subsurface features of a probable later prehistoric date occur to the north-east, north and west of the Trellyffaint monument.

Although the precise depth of these features is, for the moment unknown, the team were interested to note that 2-3000-years’ worth of accumulated soil has not created any visible earthworks. This phenomenon though is not uncommon in coastal areas where soil deposition and accumulation can be rapid.

Dr Nash added: “This site, one of only nine Neolithic burial-ritual monuments in Wales with prehistoric rock art – or what I would term aptly ‘a visual communication system’.”

So far, the results of the geophysical survey have yielded a set of subsurface anomalies that reveal a complex ritualised landscape that includes the precursor to a Stonehenge-type earthwork monument and is similar to the six or more features that were found using similar geo-prospection methods at the nearby Neolithic site, Trefael, in 2012.

Dr Nash said: “The next stage of the project is to apply for Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC) which will include targeted excavation over recognised anomalies identified from the magnetometry survey.

“Before we do this, we will be widening the geophysics area and apply resistivity as well further magnetometry over a wider area.”

This fieldwork will take place between April 21 and 23. For details on how to get involved, visit the Welsh Rock Art Organisation’s Facebook page.
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Mystical Glastonbury – Druids, Earth Goddesses, Myths and Legends, Ley Lines …

Glastonbury, like Tintagel in Cornwall, South Cadbury in Somerset and Caerleon in South Wales, is linked by tradition to King Arthur; Glastonbury Abbey is said to have been his final resting place. 

Our private guided tours allow you to climb Glastonbury Tor

Our private guided tours allow you to climb Glastonbury Tor (King Arthur’s Avalon)

The Historical Figure of Arthur

Very little reliable evidence survives from the fifth and sixth centuries when the historical Arthur lived. This period is known as the Dark Ages or Post-Roman period which followed the departure of the Romans from Britain. Some historians doubt whether Arthur really existed; others see him as a warrior king who led the Britons in their resistance against the Anglo-Saxon conquest of England.

Glastonbury is a centre for mystics, earth spirits and such like, a substantial part of what makes Glastonbury unique.

The Arthur of Medieval Literature

From the 12th century Arthur became the central figure of one of the great cycles of medieval European literature – the Arthurian romances. These have their origin in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s imaginative History of the Kings of Britain, completed in 1138. Geoffrey’s account provided many of the elements of the story, from Arthur’s conception at Tintagel to his last battle against Mordred at Camlann and final rest in Avalon, and featured his father Uther Pendragon, his wife Guinevere, his sword Excalibur and the wizard Merlin. Later writers added further characters and many variations on Geoffrey’s tale, depicting Arthur as a great warrior defending Britain from human and supernatural enemies, with related themes of the Holy Grail and the Knights of the Round Table.
Glastonbury Abbey link

Join us on a  Quest for King Arthur’s Avalon and the Holy Grail will weave myth and legends with the splendours of the English landscape.

  • We offer private guided tours departing from Bath , Salisbury or even London exploring the many Myths and Legends of King Arthur

    King Arthur’s Avalon
    Glastonbury TorChallice Well and the Holy Grail
    Stonehege Stone Circle
    Cadbury Castle and Camelot
    Tintagel Catle
    Glastonbury Abbey
    King Arthur’s Grave
    Winchester and the Round Table
    Challice Well and the Holy Grail
    Stonehege Stone Circle
    Cadbury Castle and Camelot
    Tintagel Catle

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  • The large complex was found in a city around 1.5 miles from Stonehenge
  • The 656 foot diameter complex consists of around 3,000 feet of ditches 
  • Around 300 feet (100 metres) of the ditches have been excavated so far
  • Evidence of cattle bones, ceramic dishes and human remains were found

A new discovery could help shed light on why the mysterious Stonehenge was built.

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A new discovery could help shed light on why the mysterious Stonehenge was built. The large complex, found in a city around 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the famous stone circle, is thought to date back more than 1,000 years before Stonehenge (pictured) Daily Mail

The large complex, found in a city around 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the famous stone circle, is thought to date back more than 1,000 years before Stonehenge.

The researchers say the complex was a sacred place where Neolithic people performed ceremonies, including feasting and the deliberate smashing of ceramic bowls.

The new discovery shows the entire area around Stonehenge was even more sacred and ritually active than archaeologists had thought, hundreds of years before Stonehenge appeared.

The complex was built about 5,650 years ago, around 3650 BC, more than 1,000 years before the stones of Stonehenge were erected.

The 656 foot (200 metre) diameter complex consists of around 3,000 feet (950 metres) of ditches and is the first major early Neolithic monument discovered in the Stonehenge area for more than a century.

It was discovered in a village called Larkhill in Wiltshire, just 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north east of the famous site.

A group of archaeologists found the site after the UK Ministry of Defence was preparing to build British Army houses on the land.

The researchers, led by Wessex Archaeology, found evidence of cattle bones, ceramic dishes and human remains.

Freshly broken pottery, dumps of worked flint and even a large stone saddle quern used to turn grain into flour were also found.

The researchers will now test the remains of the the findings, including the ceramic bowls, to try to determine what they were used for.

Each bowl could have held up to 10.5 pints (six litres) of beverage or partially liquid food, potentially a broth.

‘The newly found site is one of the most exciting discoveries in the Stonehenge landscape that archaeologists have ever made,’ a prehistorian from Wessex Archaeology said.

‘These discoveries are changing the way we think about prehistoric Wiltshire and about the Stonehenge landscape in particular,’ said Martin Brown, Principal Archaeologist for WYG, consultancy company WYG, which is leading the Larkhill housing development.

‘The Neolithic people whose monuments we are exploring shaped the world we inhabit: They were the first farmers and the first people who settled down in this landscape, setting us on the path to the modern world.

‘It is an enormous privilege to hold their tools and investigate their lives.’

Around 300 feet (100 metres) of the ditches have been excavated so far.

Read the full article in the Daily Mail. written by ABIGAIL BEALL

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LONDON: Archaeologists said Tuesday they had discovered what were believed to be the best-preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found in Britain, providing an extraordinary insight into prehistoric life from 3,000 years ago.

bronze

The skeleton of a man between 2460 and 2290 BC, during the early Bronze Age, and was buried near the world heritage prehistoric monument of Stonehenge is displayed at the new Stonehenge visitors centre, near Amesbury in south west England on December 11, 2013. (AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL)

 

The settlement of large circular wooden houses, built on stilts, collapsed in a fire and plunged into a river where it was preserved in silts leaving them in pristine condition, Historic England said.

Discoveries from the dwellings in Whittlesey, in central England, which archaeologists said had been frozen in time and dated from between 1000-800 BC, included pots with food inside and finely woven clothing.

“We are learning more about the food our ancestors ate, and the pottery they used to cook and serve it,” Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said in a statement.

“This site is of international significance and its excavation will transform our understanding of the period.”

Among the finds at the site, about two meters (6.5 ft) below the modern ground surface, are exotic glass beads forming part of a necklace, rare small cups, bowls and jars. Archaeologists also said that the site was so well preserved that even the footprints of those who lived at the site had been discovered.

There are also charred roof timbers clearly visible in one of the houses and the excavation team have speculated that those living at the settlement abandoned it in haste when it caught fire.

David Gibson, Archaeological Manager at the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, said they only usually came across a few pits or metal finds at Bronze Age sites.

“This time so much more has been preserved – we can actually see everyday life during the Bronze Age in the round,” he said. “It’s prehistoric archaeology in 3D with an unsurpassed finds assemblage in terms of range and quantity

Read the full story in the Daily Star

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Two gold rings, possibly used as earrings or to hold hair in place, have been found in Rosset, Wrexham, Wales. Archaeologists say the rings date back 3,000 years to the Bronze Age.

The person who wore the rings was most likely wealthy or had status in the community in some other way, says ITV News.

Archaeologists are uncertain whether the gold rings were used as earrings or to hold locks of hair in place. ‘Lock rings,’ as hair locks are called, have been found in Wales in Pembrokeshire, Conwy, Gaerwen, Newport, Anglesey and the Great Orme.

ITV describes the concentric-ring pattern on the locks as a ‘coastal pattern’ that suggests trade and communication between Ireland and Wales.

‘Northeast Wales was a hotspot for the use and burial of gold ornaments during the Bronze Age. These small but exquisitely made lock-rings add further to this growing pattern, suggesting long lived connections with communities living in Ireland and other parts of Atlantic Europe. …We think that these complete and prized objects of gold were carefully buried in isolated places as gifts to the gods, perhaps at the end of the lives of their owners. – Adam Gwilt, Curator for Prehistory at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

The Wrexham County Borough Museum and Archives will take possession of the pair of golden rings after they are valuated independently.

Wales has had other spectacular gold finds from the Bronze Age. The Mold Cape is a 3,700-year-old solid gold artifact found in the 19th century within a Bronze Age burial mound at Mold, in Flintshire, Wales. It was finely crafted out of a single sheet of gold, then embellished with exceptional decoration designed to mimic multiple strings of beads amid folds of cloth.  The cape is regarded as one of the finest examples of prehistoric sheet-gold working in Europe and perhaps the world. Its unique form and design demonstrates highly advanced craftsmanship in Bronze Age Europe.

Mold cape

Mold cape (Photo: Wikipedia)

The Bronze Age burial mound was found in a field named Bryn yr Ellyllon (Fairies’ Hill) by workmen in 1833. It had been placed on the body of a person who was interred inside a cist (stone-lined grave) within a burial mound. Inside the mound, archaeologists also found the remains of woven textile, 16 fragments of sheet bronze, a bronze knife, fragments of a second gold cape, two gold ‘straps’, an urn with large quantities of burnt bone and ash, and the remains of hundreds of amber beads, which would have originally been on the cape.

Archaeologists and scholars were stunned. At the time and place this gold cape was made, people in Britain lived in temporary settlements and fluid communities, and they moved with their livestock and possessions through the landscape. They did not build cities or palaces, yet they were capable of creating incredibly sophisticated objects like the Mold Gold Cape.

Not far away, in England, archaeologists recently explained how intricate gold pieces like those found at Stonehenge could be fashioned by people with relatively crude technology. One piece alone was estimated to have taken 2,500 hours to complete. These pieces from near Stonehenge used a different gold-smithing process than the Welsh pieces.

Detail of the decoration of the dagger handle showing the zig-zag pattern made by the tiny studs.

Featured image: Detail of the decoration of the dagger handle showing the zig-zag pattern made by the tiny studs. (University of Birmingham and David Bukach photo)

According to Discovery News, the gold work involved such tiny components that optical experts believe they could only have been made by children or adults with extreme short-sightedness, and would have caused lasting damage to their eyesight.

In 1808, William Cunnington, one of Britain’s earliest professional archaeologists, discovered what has become known as the crown jewels of the King of Stonehenge. They were found within a large Bronze Age burial mound just a short distance from Stonehenge, known today as Bush Barrow. Within the 4,000-year-old barrow, Cunnington found ornate jewelery, a gold lozenge that fastened the owner’s cloak, and an intricately decorated dagger.

A report in The Independent explained the amazing process involved in creating the handle of just one dagger, adorned with up to 140,000 tiny gold studs just a third of a millimetre wide. The first stage involved manufacturing extremely fine gold wire, just a little thicker than a human hair. The end of the wire was then flattened to create a stud-head, and was then cut with a very sharp flint or obsidian razor, just a millimetre below the head. This delicate procedure was then repeated literarily tens of thousands of times.

“Next, a tiny bronze awl with an extremely fine point was used to create minute holes in the dagger handle in which to position the studs,” wrote The Independent. “Then a thin layer of tree resin was rubbed over the surface as an adhesive to keep the studs in place. Each  stud was then carefully placed into its miniscule hole – probably with the help of a very fine pair of bone or wooden tweezers,  because the studs are too small to have been placed in position directly by the artisan’s fingers.”

Featured image: Archaeologists are unsure whether a pair of gold rings found in Wales were used as earrings or hair locks. (Photo by Amgueddfa Cymru)
Read more: http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/bronze-age-gold-rings-high-status-person-found-wales-002831#ixzz3VnGJYgJA

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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
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Thought I would upload these images that I took (very early)  this morning from the inner circle of Stonehenge.  Sunrise was at 6.40 am and we had perfect weather.  I was with a family from Ohio who were overwhelmed with the experience.  We then went onto visit Avebury Stone Circle, Silbury Hill and West Kennet long Barrow.  A great day was had by all


Mike – Stonehenge Tour Guide
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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
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This Saturday marks the point at which the sun rises directly over the equator – the Spring Equinox. And while most of us will be wrapped up warm in bed at 5am, up to five thousand hardy souls will be braving the Wiltshire weather to welcome in the equinox at Stonehenge – including us.

This is the second of the four ‘sky points’ in our Wheel of the Year and it is when the sun does a perfect balancing act in the heavens.

At the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox the sun rises exactly in the east, travels through the sky for 12 hours and then sets exactly in the west. So all over the world, at this special moment, day and night are of equal length hence the word equinox which means ‘equal night’.

Of course, for those of us here in the northern hemisphere it is this equinox that brings us out of our winter.

For those in the southern hemisphere, this time is the autumnal equinox that is taking you in to your winter. And this is very much how I think of the equinoxes – as the ‘edges’ of winter. This is why they can be quite hard on our bodies as it is a major climatic shift, so it is a good time to give a boost to your immune system with natural remedies and cleansing foods.

Here in Wiltshire (as with the rest of rural Britain), it was traditional to drink dandelion and burdock cordials at this time as these herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after its winter hardships.

As the Vernal Equinox heralds the arrival of spring, it is a time of renewal in both nature and the home, so time for some spring-cleaning!

This is more than just a physical activity, it also helps to remove any old or negative energies accumulated over the dark, heavy winter months preparing the way for the positive growing energy of spring and summer.

As with all the other key festivals of the year, there are both Pagan and Christian associations with the Spring Equinox.

To Pagans, this is the time of the ancient Saxon goddess, Eostre, who stands for new beginnings and fertility.

This is why she is symbolized by eggs (new life) and rabbits/hares (fertility).

Her name is also the root of the term we give to the female hormone, oestrogen.By now, you may be beginning to see the Christian celebration derived from this festival – Easter.

And this is the reason why the ‘Easter Bunny’ brings us coloured eggs (and if you’re lucky chocolate ones!) at this time of year.

So, as nature starts to sprout the seeds that have been gestating in her belly throughout the winter, maybe you can start to think about what you want to ‘sprout’ in your life now and start to take action.

The Celtic Wheel

Have you ever wondered why we feel full of energy in the summer but slow down and want to stay-in in the winter? And why does Nature burst with life in the spring yet start to ‘go to sleep’ in the autumn?

It’s because we are all responding to the changing energies of the different seasons and our Celtic ancestors were exquisitely aware of this.

They followed this seasonal flow of energy around a ‘Wheel of the Year’, honouring the changes with celebrations that kept them in touch with heaven and earth.

There are eight key points in the year – four Quarter days that mark changes in the sky, and four Cross-quarter days that celebrate changes in the land.

The Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year
© Apogee

I find it helps to think of the year as a clock face with mid-winter, the first Quarter day, at 12 ‘o clock.

This is the Winter Solstice (Dec 20th-23rd), which is also known as the shortest day and is the darkest point of the year. The Solstices are when the sun seems to ‘stand still’ in the sky.

Opposite this at 6 ‘o’ clock is the Summer Solstice (June 20th-23rd) – the longest day of the year and the point of highest energy.

 

At 3 ‘o clock is the Spring Equinox (March 20th-23rd) and, at 9 ‘o clock, the Autumn Equinox (Sept 20th-23rd).

 

An equinox is when night and day are of equal length.

These are like the edges of winter and often take a hard toll on our bodies.

In between these ‘sky points’ are the Cross-quarter days which mark ‘gear shifts’ in the energy of the earth. These times are also important agriculturally.

Imbolc (Beginning of February) is when the first lambs are born and ewe’s milk is available again after the long winter. The year is beginning to stir and wake-up.

Beltane (Beginning of May) is the transition from spring to summer when Nature is pumping with life-force and fertility.

Lammas (Beginning of August) is the time of ripeness and when the earth starts to give up her harvest.

Samhain (Beginning of November) is the end/beginning of the Celtic year. It is a time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest and it is possible to commune with the ancestors.

There is great joy in being aware of the seasons in this way and celebrating them in simple ways.

As the year unfolds, we will look in detail at the eight energy-points of the year and the ways in which they affect us.

We will also look at how these festivals have been celebrated in Wiltshire, both past and present.

Nicholas – Stonehenge Tour Guide
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