News, Updates, and Resources for Stonehenge
- 2016-12-14. A ‘Stonehenge,’ and a Mystery, in the Amazon. By Simon Romero, The New York Times. Excerpt: CALÇOENE, Brazil — As the foreman for a cattle ranch in the far reaches of the Brazilian Amazon, Lailson Camelo da Silva was razing trees to convert rain forest into pasture when he stumbled across a bizarre arrangement of towering granite blocks. “I had no idea that I was discovering the Amazon’s own Stonehenge,” said Mr. da Silva, 65, on a scorching October day as he gazed at the archaeological site located just north of the Equator. “It makes me wonder: What other secrets about our past are still hidden in Brazil’s jungles?” After conducting radiocarbon testing and carrying out measurements during the winter solstice, scholars in the field of archaeoastronomy determined that an indigenous culture arranged the megaliths into an astronomical observatory about 1,000 years ago, or five centuries before the European conquest of the Americas began. Their findings, along with other archaeological discoveries in Brazil in recent years — including giant land carvings, remains of fortified settlements and even complex road networks — are upending earlier views of archaeologists who argued that the Amazon had been relatively untouched by humans except for small, nomadic tribes.... http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/world/americas/brazil-amazon-megaliths-stonehenge.html
- 2015-11-09. Stonehenge Begins to Yield Its Secrets. By Kenneth Chang, The New York Times. Excerpt: AMESBURY, England — About 6,300 years ago, a tree here toppled over. For the ancients in this part of southern England, it created a prime real estate opportunity — next to a spring and near attractive hunting grounds. According to David Jacques, an archaeologist at the University of Buckingham, mud was pressed into the pulled-up roots, turning them into a wall. Nearby, a post was inserted into a hole, and that may have held up a roof of reeds or animal skin. It was, he said, a house, one of the earliest in England ... a site known as Blick Mead.... For Mr. Jacques, the house is part of the story of Stonehenge, even though the occupants of the Blick Mead home never saw that assemblage of massive stones. The beginnings of Stonehenge were more than a millennium in the future. ...Archaeologists have...long known about the other monuments — burial chambers, a 130-foot-tall mound of chalk known as Silbury Hill and many other circular structures. An aerial survey in 1925 revealed circles of timbers, now called Woodhenge, two miles from Stonehenge. ...The story of Britain starts at the end of the last ice age. In the cold, Britain emptied of people. With so much ocean water frozen in glaciers, sea level was lower, and Britain was connected to the rest of Europe. As the world warmed, they walked back until rising waters severed the land bridge. Around 3800 B.C. the first large monuments appeared — rectangular mounds known as long barrows that served as burial chambers. Around 3500 B.C., a two-mile-long, 100-yard-wide ditch was dug close to the Stonehenge site, what is known as the Stonehenge Cursus. ...The first stage of Stonehenge itself, a circular foundation ditch, was carved around 2900 B.C., and rings of timbers were erected. About 400 years later came a heyday of henges. (The defining characteristic of a henge is not the rocks or timbers sticking upward, but a circular ditch surrounded by a raised bank. In this sense, Stonehenge today is not a true henge; its raised bank is inside the ditch.) Twenty miles north of Stonehenge is Avebury, with three stone circles, the outermost more than 1,000 feet in diameter, so large that the town of Avebury has spread into the henge; at the center is a pub, the Red Lion, founded four centuries ago. Closer to Stonehenge is Durrington Walls, a circular earthen structure about 1,600 feet in diameter.... http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/10/science/stonehenge-begins-to-yield-its-secrets.html
- 2014-09-09. Stonehenge Secrets Revealed by Underground Map. Excerpt: Archaeologists have unveiled the most detailed map ever produced of the earth beneath Stonehenge and its surrounds. Early results suggest that the iconic monument did not stand alone, but was accompanied by 17 neighbouring shrines.
- 2014-05-09. Stonehenge Discovery 'Blows Lid Off' Old Theories About Builders Of Ancient Monument (VIDEO). Excerpt: From who built it to what it was used for, Stonehenge is surrounded by many enduring mysteries -- and researchers from the University of Buckingham in England now say they've solved one of them. ...David Jacques, an archaeology research fellow at the university... led an archaeological dig at a site 1.5 miles from Stonehenge. His team unearthed flint tools and the bones of aurochs, extinct cow-like animals that were a food source for ancient people. Carbon dating of the bones showed that modern-day Amesbury, an area that includes the dig site and Stonehenge itself, has been continuously occupied since 8820 B.C. Amesbury has now been declared the oldest continually occupied area in Britain. The finding suggests that Stonehenge was built by indigenous Britons who had lived in the area for thousands of years. Previous theories held that the monument was built in an empty landscape by migrants from continental Europe. ...The researchers say evidence suggests that before erecting Stonehenge, people living in the area set up gigantic timbers between 8820 and 6590 B.C. -- a sort of wooden precursor to the stone monument.... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/09/stonehenge-area-inhabited-thousands-years_n_5289118.html. By Macrina Cooper-White, Huffington Post.
- 2013 Jun 1. Mahattanhenge - http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/01/manhattanhenge/
- 2012 Apr 24. Inflatable stonehenge: http://now.msn.com/living/0421-deller-inflatable-stonehenge.aspx
- 2008 May 22. 2
vandals attack Stonehenge with hammer. By THE
ASSOCIATED PRESS. LONDON (AP) -- Two
men attacked the ancient monument of Stonehenge
with a hammer and chipped off a piece of stone
the size of a large coin, a conservation group
Two men hacked the piece from the Heel Stone, the
central megalith at the ancient site, English Heritage
spokeswoman Debbie Holden said. ...''The damage
is very, very slight because security guards spotted
them straight away, but the whole thing is still
upsetting,'' said Holden. ''This kind of thing
has not happened for decades.'' Stonehenge ...
has become popular with Druids, neo-Pagans and
New Agers who attach mystical significance to the
- 2008 Apr 1. The
Lourdes of ancient Britain? Dig aims to reveal
Stonehenge's purpose. by Maev Kennedy, The
Guardian. Excerpt: The first excavation
for more than a generation at Stonehenge began
yesterday, looking for evidence that the most famous
prehistoric monument in the world was the Lourdes
of the bronze age, where the sick and troubled
sought healing from the supernatural power of bluestones
brought from west Wales.
Although the trench will be only 3.5 metres long
and a metre deep, archaeologists expect to find
the foundation holes of the very first stone circle,
built more than 4,500 years ago and then altered
over centuries. With luck they will find enough
organic material, including pollen grains, snail
shells and fragments of the antler tools of the
builders, using techniques developed since the
last excavations, to allow them to date the monument
... There is no longer any dispute about where
the stones came from, only about how they travelled:
Wainwright and Darvill believe they were dragged
across land and carried by boat, and reject the
rival theory that glaciers left them scattered
across Salisbury plain.
... They believe that many bodies excavated from
hundreds of later burial mounds in the surrounding
landscape, including the "Amesbury Archer" found
six years ago, show serious health problems such
as contorted limbs or spines, supporting their
In Wales, Wainwright said, people were still seeking
cures at the springs near the bluestone quarry
late into the last century. Stonehenge attracted
sufferers who chipped fragments of the bluestones
as healing charms right into the 19th century.
- 2006 Oct 15. Building
Stonehenge - This Man can Move
Anything. YouTube video of Wally Wallington showing
how to move large blocks of concrete.
Hard Copy Articles
- Nov 2000, Sky & Telescope magazine, p.
74, review of the book The Sun in the Church:
Cathedrals as Solar Observatories, by J.L.
Heilbron, Harvard University Press, 1999.
- Oct 2002. An Astronomer Reads Archaeology's
Message, by Patricia A. Kurtz.
Article about archaeoastronomer Anthony Aveni.
Hard Copy Books
- Walker, Christopher, Astronomy Before the
Telescope, St. Martin's Press, 1997.