Tag: wiltshire

Circular thinking: Stonehenge’s origin is subject of new theory




Excerpt from theguardian.com

Whether it was a Druid temple, an astronomical calendar or a centre for healing, the mystery of Stonehenge has long been a source of speculation and debate. Now a dramatic new theory suggests that the prehistoric monument was in fact “an ancient Mecca on stilts”.

The megaliths would not have been used for ceremonies at ground level, but would instead have supported a circular wooden platform on which ceremonies were performed to the rotating heavens, the theory suggests.

Julian Spalding, an art critic and former director of some of the UK’s leading museums, argues that the stones were foundations for a vast platform, long since lost – “a great altar” raised up high towards the heavens and able to support the weight of hundreds of worshippers.

“It’s a totally different theory which has never been put forward before,” Spalding told the Guardian. “All the interpretations to date could be mistaken. We’ve been looking at Stonehenge the wrong way: from the earth, which is very much a 20th-century viewpoint. We haven’t been thinking about what they were thinking about.”

Since Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote in the 12th century that Merlin had flown the stones from Ireland, theories on Stonehenge, from plausible to absurd, have abounded. In the last decade alone, the monument has been interpreted as “the prehistoric Lourdes” where people brought the sick to be healed by the power of the magic bluestones from Wales and as a haunted place of the dead contrasting with seasonal feasts for the living at nearby Durrington Walls. 

The site pored over by archaeologists for centuries still produces surprises, including the outline of stones now missing, which appeared in the parched ground in last summer’s drought and showed that the monument was not left unfinished as some had believed, but was once a perfect circle.

Spalding, who is not an archaeologist, believes that other Stonehenge theorists have fallen into error by looking down instead of up. His evidence, he believes, lies in ancient civilisations worldwide. As far afield as China, Peru and Turkey, such sacred monuments were built high up, whether on manmade or natural sites, and in circular patterns possibly linked to celestial movements.

He said: “In early times, no spiritual ceremonies would have been performed on the ground. The Pharaoh of Egypt and the Emperor of China were always carried – as the Pope used to be. The feet of holy people were not allowed to touch the ground. We’ve been looking at Stonehenge from a modern, earth-bound perspective.”
“All the great raised altars of the past suggest that the people who built Stonehenge would never have performed celestial ceremonies on the lowly earth,” he went on. “That would have been unimaginably insulting to the immortal beings, for it would have brought them down from heaven to bite the dust and tread in the dung.”

Spalding’s theory has not met with universal approval. Prof Vincent Gaffney, principal investigator on the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project at Bradford University, said he held “a fair degree of scepticism” and Sir Barry Cunliffe, a prehistorian and emeritus professor of European archaeology at Oxford University, said: “He could be right, but I know of no evidence to support it”.
The archaeologist Aubrey Burl, an authority on prehistoric stone circles, said: “There could be something in it. There is a possibility, of course. Anything new and worthwhile about Stonehenge is well worth looking into, but with care and consideration.”

On Monday Spalding publishes his theories in a new book, titled Realisation: From Seeing to Understanding – The Origins of Art. It explores our ancestors’ understanding of the world, offering new explanations of iconic works of art and monuments.

Stonehenge, built between 3000 and 2000BC, is England’s most famous prehistoric monument, a UNESCO World Heritage site on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire that draws more than 1 million annual visitors. It began as a timber circle, later made permanent with massive blocks of stone, many somehow dragged from dolerite rock in the Welsh mountains. Spalding believes that ancient worshippers would have reached the giant altar by climbing curved wooden ramps or staircases.

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BBC: Churchill ordered UFO cover-up, National Archives show


Winston Churchill

bbc.com/news/uk


The government took the threat of UFOs so seriously in the 1950s that UK intelligence chiefs met to discuss the issue, newly-released files show.
Ministers even went on to commission weekly reports on UFO sightings from a committee of intelligence experts.
The papers also include a wartime account claiming prime minister Winston Churchill ordered a UFO sighting be kept secret to prevent "mass panic".
Drawing of UFO sighting
 Spotters often drew what they saw and sent pictures to the MoD

The files show reports of UFOs peaked in 1996 - when The X Files was popular.
The Joint Intelligence Committee is better known for providing briefings to the government on matters relating to security, defence and foreign affairs.
But the latest batch of UFO files released from the Ministry of Defence to the National Archives shows that, in 1957, the committee received reports detailing an average of one UFO sighting a week.
The files also include an account of a wartime meeting attended by Winston Churchill in which, it is claimed, the prime minister was so concerned about a reported encounter between a UFO and RAF bombers, that he ordered it be kept secret for at least 50 years to prevent "mass panic".
X Files
Nick Pope, who used to investigate UFO sightings for the MoD, said: "The interesting thing is that most of the UFO files from that period have been destroyed.
"But what happened is that a scientist whose grandfather was one of his [Churchill's] bodyguards, said look, Churchill and Eisenhower got together to cover up this phenomenal UFO sighting, that was witnessed by an RAF crew on their way back from a bombing raid.
"The reason apparently was because Churchill believed it would cause mass panic and it would shatter people's religious views."
Reports of sightings of UFOs peaked in 1996 in the UK - when science fiction drama The X Files was popular.
According to the files, there were more than 600 reports in 1996, compared with an average of 240 in the previous five years.

“Start Quote

UFOs have become the third-most popular subject for people to write to the ministry of defence saying please could you release this file”
Dr David Clarke National Archives UFO consultant

The figures for 1996 show 609 reported sightings of unidentified flying objects, 343 letters from the public to the MoD's UFO desk and 22 enquiries and questions from MPs.
But by 2009, the MoD's UFO inquiry desk -Sec(AS)2 - had been closed down.
The 18 files released on Thursday are the latest to come out as part of a three-year project between the MoD and the National Archives.
Dr David Clarke, a UFO consultant to the National Archives, explained why the papers are being made public now.
Dr Clarke told the BBC: "Since the Freedom of Information Act arrived in 2005, this subject - UFOs - have become the third-most popular subject for people to write to the Ministry of Defence saying 'please could you release this file, or papers that you hold on this particular case'.
"What they've decided to do is to be totally open and to say, 'look we're not holding any secrets back about this subject we've got all these files and we're going to make them available to the public'."
One includes details on "aerial phenomena" prepared for a meeting of the Cabinet Office's Joint Intelligence Committee in April 1957.
According to a note included in the Red Book, the weekly intelligence survey, four incidents involving UFOs tracked by RAF radars were "unexplained".
'Spaceman' The documents also include reports of a famous incident dubbed the "Welsh Roswell" in 1974, where members of the public reported seeing lights in the sky and feeling a tremor in the ground.
Other cases included in the files are:

  • A near-miss with an "unidentified object" reported by the captain and first officer of a 737 plane approaching Manchester Airport in 1995.
  • A mountain rescue team called to investigate a "crashed UFO" in the Berwyn Mountains in Wales in 1974.
  • Attempted break-ins at RAF Rudloe Manor in Wiltshire - sometimes referred to as Britain's "Area 51" - the US's secretive desert military base.
  • The Western Isles incident, when a loud explosion was reported in the sky over the Atlantic in the Outer Hebrides.
  • The 14-minutes of "missing" film relating to the Blue Streak missile test launch in 1964, believed by some to show a "spaceman".
  • A gambler from Leeds who held a 100-1 bet on alien life being discovered before the end of the 20th Century, and who approached the government for evidence to support his claim after the bookmakers refused to pay out. The MoD said it was open-minded about extra-terrestrial life but had no evidence of its existence.
The files come from more than 5,000 pages of UFO reports and letters and drawings from members of the public, as well as questions raised by MPs in Parliament.

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Hidden Monuments Under Stonehenge Begin to Reveal its Mysterious Purpose

The lights of Amesbury set low-hanging clouds aglow over Stonehenge.
Built more than 4,000 years ago, Stonehenge is still giving up its secrets, with a new underground map revealing a set of monuments below the structure that had never been seen before.

news.nationalgeographic.com

Underground images show a large complex of monuments and buildings used in rituals dating back thousands of years.



An astonishing complex of ancient monuments, buildings, and barrows has lain hidden and unsuspected beneath the Stonehenge area for thousands of years. Scientists discovered the site using sophisticated techniques to see underground, announcing the finds this week.

Among the discoveries announced Wednesday are 17 ritual monuments, including the remains of a massive "house of the dead," hundreds of burial mounds, and evidence of a possible processional route around Stonehenge itself.

There's also evidence of a nearby mile-long "superhenge" at Durrington Walls that was once flanked by as many as 60 gigantic stone or timber columns, some of which may still lie under the soil.
The discoveries result from the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project, a four-year effort to create a high-resolution, 3-D underground map of the landscape surrounding Stonehenge.

The project team, led by researchers from the U.K.'s University of Birmingham and Austria's Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, mapped the area down to a depth of about ten feet (three meters) using ground-penetrating radar, high-resolution magnetometers, and other state-of-the-art remote-sensing equipment.

In all, nearly 3,000 acres have been excavated virtually, making this the largest and most ambitious project of its kind ever undertaken anywhere in the world.

"Nobody had any idea this was here," says lead scientist Vince Gaffney, professor of landscape archaeology at the University of Birmingham. "Instead of a monument in isolation, we find that Stonehenge was part of a rich monumental landscape."

Profound Find

Many of the 17 newly discovered monuments appear to be shrine-like structures. The small circular constructions, contemporaneous with Stonehenge's busiest period, are placed around the main stone ring and form a sort of Neolithic analogue to the Via Dolorosa, held to be the path Jesus walked to crucifixion, Gaffney suggests.

"What we could be witnessing here is the birth of the idea of ceremonial procession, or a liturgy," he says.

For centuries, the enigmatic stone circle, built over 4,000 years ago on England's Salisbury Plain, has awed and intrigued visitors...

"Stonehenge is where archaeology got its start," says Nicola Snashall, an archaeologist from England's National Trust, which looks after the monument.

"Antiquarians like John Aubrey and Inigo Jones began digging here in the 17th century to try to unlock its secrets—some of the world's very first archaeological excavations."

With no written records to fall back on, the mysterious stone structure has spawned countless theories involving Celts, Druids, Romans, and even the King Arthur legend. Its original shape has been a matter of great debate, including whether it was built as a semicircle, as seen today, or a full circle of stones.

This past summer, a chance dry spell revealed patches in the soil that marked where stones once stood. But nobody suspected the incredible wealth of ruins that lay hidden beneath the soil.

Deep Views

High-tech remote sensing and underground mapping is changing not only what is known about Stonehenge, but also the way archaeology is done.

In Orkney, a group of islands in northern Scotland, such a survey revealed a vast, sophisticated and entirely unsuspected Neolithic temple complex that predates Stonehenge by over 500 years. Archaeologists suggest the site may even have influenced the building of Stonehenge. (Read "Before Stonehenge" in National Geographic magazine.)

"Technology is opening doors for archaeology we could only dream about 15 years ago," says Gaffney, who compared the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project with a 3-D underground mapping project he undertook at the ancient British-Roman settlement of Wroxeter in the late 1990s.

"Back then, it took us four years to map 78 hectares, with about 2.5 million data points," he recalls. "With this latest survey at Stonehenge, we were doing that much in a week, [finding] new types of monument that had never been seen by archaeologists.
"All of this information has been placed within a single digital map, which will guide how Stonehenge and its landscape are studied in the future."

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New Stonehenge Discovery: What Took So Long?


An extensive scan of the area surrounding Stonehenge has uncovered more than a dozen new monuments.

fastcodesign.com
By Shaunacy Ferro

 
Checking in on the latest theories on the world's most mysterious piece of prehistoric architecture.

An extensive scan of the area surrounding Stonehenge has uncovered more than a dozen new monuments, adding to the scant information archeologists have been able to determine about the world's most mysterious example of prehistoric architecture.
Researchers used digital mapping techniques to reveal 17 previously unknown ritual monuments in a 4.6-square-mile radius at Stonehenge, the cluster of ancient English rocks that has befuddled scientists and historians for ages. The discovery could offers clues as to how Stonehenge developed, among other things. Here's what you need to know about the new research:


Detailed mapping revealed a large timber structure thought to be used in burial rituals, for instance.

First off, what is Stonehenge, anyway?
Question of the ages, right? The prehistoric monument near Amesbury, England, has long defied neat historical explanation. Scholars estimate that building started some time around 3100 B.C., and construction continued in several phases over centuries. There are plenty of theories as to what the site may have been used for and how the multi-ton stones got there. Most of these theories point to some sort of ritual use of the site, though whether it was primarily a burial site, a place of healing, or a giant celestial clock is still debated.



This research adds to the scant information archeologists have been able to determine about the world's most mysterious example of prehistoric architecture.

What new information have researchers discovered?

As part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project, a partnership between the University of Birmingham in the U.K., the Vienna-based Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, and several other institutions, researchers found 17 ritual monuments, previously undiscovered, dating back to the same time period as Stonehenge, as well as new information about the massive prehistoric monument next door, Durrington Walls.


A long barrow, or burial mound.

Why did it take so long to uncover these monuments?
Most of the area around Stonehenge has never been explored by researchers. Previous scholars (and early looters) excavated in and around the monument, but none had performed an in-depth survey of this much of the surrounding site.

It dates back to the same time as Stonehenge.

How did these researchers do it?

Starting in July 2010 and spanning four years, researchers examined the site using non-invasive survey technologies, including motorized magnometers, ground-penetrating radar arrays, electromagnetic induction sensors, earth resistance surveys, and 3-D laser scanners (most of which were rigged onto the back of a quad motorcycle and dragged across fields like a bit of highly scientific farm equipment).
Using this wealth of data, the researchers mapped the site in detail, discovering new information about the prehistoric monuments. They found a 108-foot-long burial mound called a long barrow, dating back to before Stonehenge, containing evidence of a large timber building that would have been used in burial rituals. The research also uncovered a new type of prehistoric monument--pits dug into the ground that seem to align with the movement of the sun.
Furthermore, the survey also found evidence of early construction at Durrington Walls, a huge Neolithic "super henge" two miles away from Stonehenge. The new map shows that in an early stage of the monument--which has a circumference of almost a mile--it was surrounded by a row of up to 60 stones or large posts, some of which may still be buried in the banks around the monument.


The research also uncovered a new type of prehistoric monument--pits dug into the ground that seem to align with the movement of the sun.

Why does it matter?
"After centuries of research, the analysis of all mapped features makes it possible, for the first time, to reconstruct the development of Stonehenge and its landscape through time," Wolfgang Neubauer, director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, said in a statement. This, in turn, can give us a better idea of what the site might have been used for.
“The point I think we’re coming to,” researcher Vince Gaffney told Smithsonian magazine, “is that increasingly we can see the area around Stonehenge as providing extensive evidence for complex liturgical movement—which we can now understand, largely because we know where things are.”
With new, non-invasive technologies, archeologists have the opportunity to dig deep into ancient sites, without doing much actual digging, a win-win for human knowledge and historic preservation.


"After centuries of research, the analysis of all mapped features makes it possible, for the first time, to reconstruct the development of Stonehenge and its landscape through time," one of the researchers explains.

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Breaking! Hidden complex of monuments found at Stonehenge site ~ The BBC reports

Click to zoom   

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Dried-Up Grass Reveals the Secret of Stonehenge’s Circle


By Alan Boyle
An exceptionally dry summer — and a watering hose that was too short — helped archaeologists clear up a centuries-old mystery surrounding Britain's Stonehenge monument: Did the ancient stones make a complete circle in ancient times?
The dried-up grass around Stonehenge suggests that they did. A steward at the site, Tim Daw, noticed in July 2013 that there were some particularly parched spots on the monument's southwest side, spanning a gap in today's incomplete arc of stones. Archaeologists say those spots represent places where the ground was disturbed by the digging of stone holes.
"If these stone holes actually held upright stones, then we've got a complete circle," Susan Greaney, senior properties historian for English Heritage, said in an emailed statement. "It's really significant, and it shows us just how much we still have to learn about Stonehenge."
Image: Holes English Heritage / Antiquity
A diagram of Stonehenge pinpoints the locations of stones and chalk pits known as "Aubrey holes," as well as parched areas where stones might have once stood.
Greaney explained to the BBC that the grass at Stonehenge is watered during dry spells in the summer, "but our hosepipe doesn't reach to the other side of the stone circle."
"If we'd had a longer hosepipe, we might not have been able to see them," she said.
The phenomenon was first reported a year ago by British archaeologist Mike Pitts, and explained in detail in September's issue of the journal Antiquity.
"This is a wonderful piece of serendipitous research, highly productive and promptly published," Pitts says. "If anyone remained unconvinced that new, targeted excavation at Stonehenge is needed, surely any doubts must now be dispelled?"

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Eyewitness Astonished As Wheat Circle Formed Rapidly in Front of Him

© 2010 by Linda Moulton Howe

“Some force (from UFO?) was shaking the wheat with two different forces at once and the plants got down pretty flat. We went over and looked. The stems were not broken. That astounded me!”&nbsp...

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Dr. Steven Greer on World Puja Network

Please post and circulate widely!

View Online at: http://www.disclosureproject.org/email-update-july-7-2010.shtml

World Puja Network Show - July 9, 2010 and CSETI Upcoming Events

World Puja Network Show - Ju...

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Liddington Castle, nr Swindon, Wiltshire. Reported 2nd June

sorry andre, counld make it smaller

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