| Some of the Earliest Maps of #Stonehenge, Made by a Druid-Obsessed English Vicar!

Some of the Earliest Maps of Stonehenge, Made by a Druid-Obsessed English Vicar ~ The Vault – Slate‘s history blog.

These maps and illustrations appeared in British antiquarian and vicar William Stukeley’s 1740 book, Stonehenge, A Temple Restor’d to the British Druids. Harvard’sWidener Library has recently digitized its copy of the book. You can see the whole text here.

In more than 30 illustrations, Stukeley’s book documents the way Stonehenge appeared when he visited it in the early 18th century. The historian was only thesecond scholarly investigator (after the 17th-century antiquarian John Aubrey) to take an interest in the site, and the first to publish a comprehensive account of what he found on his visits, including images of the way that the monument looked in context of the surrounding farmland.

In maps and vistas, Stukeley tried to capture the layout of the monument’s stones. Much of his sense of urgency in the task came from his belief that the stones’ arrangement needed preservation, as the monument was under constant threat of vandalism and interference. For example, Aubrey found and documented 20 stonesin one area of the monument; a century later, Stukeley found only five remaining.

The third image below catalogs a set of “Celtic” objects that Stukeley dug up in a site near the ruins. Stukeley, along with many of his contemporaries, believed that theDruids, Celtic priests active in Britain and France during the Iron Age, built Stonehenge as part of their rituals. The careful representation of this set of artifacts, “drawn as big as the Life,” shows something of Stukeley’s fascination with Celtic culture.

Although archaeologists still don’t know exactly who built the structure, the connection to the Druids that so intrigued scholars of Stukeley’s era has long been disproven; the Stonehenge stones are older, by far, than other Celtic artifacts.

Click on the images below to arrive at zoomable versions.

StonehengeMapFinal
From William Stukeley, Stonehenge: A Temple Restor’d to the British Druids, 1740.
Courtesy of Widener Library, Harvard University

StonehengeProspectFinal
From William Stukeley, Stonehenge: A Temple Restor’d to the British Druids, 1740.
Courtesy of Widener Library, Harvard University

SmallStonehengeObjects
From William Stukeley, Stonehenge: A Temple Restor’d to the British Druids, 1740.
Courtesy of Widener Library, Harvard University

StonehengeAreaSmaller
From William Stukeley, Stonehenge: A Temple Restor’d to the British Druids, 1740.
Courtesy of Widener Library, Harvard University

 

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| Forensic analysis puts a face to prehistoric skull of #Stonehenge Man!

Stonehenge Man: not just a pretty face ~ Sandrine Ceurstemont, NEW SCIENTIST.

Forensic analysis of a prehistoric skull gives the UK’s most iconic monument a human face!

TOURISTS entering English Heritage’s new £27 million visitor centre at Stonehenge will quickly confront its most spectacular exhibit – a man who was born 500 years before the earliest stone monument appeared at the site.

He may have a touch of Hollywood about him, but this “Stonehenge Man” was once real. His face has been reconstructed from a 5500-year-old skeleton found in the area. Local protest groups continue to press for him to be reburied, but forensic analysis has allowed scientists to create the most lifelike model yet of an individual from British prehistory. Their work reveals how he lived and ate, and may even shed light on the origins of Stonehenge itself.

The well-preserved skeleton was discovered in an elaborate tomb in the 1860s, providing a rare example of the anatomy of Neolithic people. His face has been brought to life by Swedish sculptor Oscar Nilsson, using information from bone and tooth analyses. The length of the man’s bones, the skeleton’s weight and his age – estimated at between 25 and 40 years old – were used to determine the thickness of the skin on his face and muscle definition.

Nilsson used a vinyl copy of the skull, made by Andrew Wilson at the University of Bradford, UK, as a base for his clay reconstruction of muscles, guided by markers denoting the fleshiness of the face. He created moulded silicon skin and added pigment before punching in the hair.

Ridges on the skull reveal that this man was muscular – which is not surprising given the Neolithic lifestyle. He had highly masculine features, such as a well-defined chin and jawbone. “I had to give him a beard – there were no razors then,” says Nilsson.

Human skeletal biologist Simon Mays from the University of Southampton, UK, was unable to deduce the cause of death from the skeleton and he speculates that Stonehenge Man died of an infectious disease that killed too quickly to leave a trace on bones. Mays did, however, find two leg wounds: a deep muscle injury and a bony projection.

Tooth analysis by Alistair Pike, also at the University of Southampton, was particularly revealing. Pike extracted a section of enamel, then removed particles from different stages of the tooth’s growth. A mass spectrometer revealed the ratio of two forms, or isotopes, of strontium at the different stages, which can indicate where his drinking water came from when matched to an area’s geology.

Stonehenge Man would have fitted in very well on a film set <i>(Image: English Heritage)</i>

Stonehenge Man would have fitted in very well on a film set (Image: English Heritage)

Teeth take about four years to form, so it is possible to track the movements of an individual during that time. Stonehenge Man seems to have travelled as a child. He was born in an area of old geology, thought to be somewhere in Wales, and moved to an area matching Stonehenge when about 3 years old. If he came from Wales, says Pike, there could be a connection to the movement of bluestones, the oldest stones at Stonehenge. “The two communities may have been connected for centuries,” he says.

The man’s teeth show little wear for his age, suggesting a soft diet by prehistoric standards. The carbon isotopes in the teeth vary according to the types of plants eaten, and with the amount of nitrogen, which comes from meat in the diet. His carbon pattern shows he ate more meat than his contemporaries, possibly in stews. This and the elaborate burial suggest he was an important man in the community.

Unfortunately, the man’s teeth were unusually clean. “If we had been able to analyse his tartar, we could have identified species he was eating by sequencing proteins in trapped fragments, while bacteria could have revealed the health of his gut,” says Pike.

The team did not have enough time before the visitor centre opened to do DNA analysis of Stonehenge Man’s colouring, but this would have been difficult anyway because handling over the years has contaminated the skeleton’s DNA. They guessed at hazel eyes and dark brown hair, with a hint of ginger, to reflect probable Celtic origins.

If this model of the handsome Stonehenge Man is true to life, then he would not look out of place today. “He could be sitting next to you on the subway,” says Nilsson.

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| Real McCoy? How They Rebuilt #Stonehenge!

How They Rebuilt Stonehenge ~ UFO Aliens UKAmazing Facts.


“For decades the official Stonehenge guidebooks have been full of fascinating facts and figures and theories surrounding the world’s greatest prehistoric monument.

What the glossy brochures do not mention, however, is the systematic rebuilding of the 4,000 year old stone circle throughout the 20th Century. The restoration has been kept elusive and a large percentage of those planning a trip to the monument have no idea that they aren’t getting the full story.”

Right: 17th Century depiction of StonehengeImage credit: Wikipedia

Post-WW1 aerial photograph before 1960s reconstruction. Image credit: Wikipedia

This is one of the dark secrets of history archaeologists don’t talk about: The day they had the builders in at Stonehenge to recreate the most famous ancient monument in Britain as they thought it ought to look.

This picture shows workers on the site in 1901 in a restoration which caused outrage at the time but which is rarely referred to in official guidebooks. For it means that Stonehenge, jewel in the crown of Britain’s heritage industry, is not all it seems. Much of what the ancient site’s millions of visitors see in fact dates back less than 50 years.

From 1901 to 1964, the majority of the stone circle was restored in a series of makeovers which have left it, in the words of one archaeologist, as ‘a product of the 20th century heritage industry’. But the information is markedly absent from the guidebooks and info-phones used by tourists at the site. Coming in the wake of the news that the nearby Avebury stone circle was almost totally rebuilt in the 1920s, the revelation about Stonehenge has caused embarrassment among archaeologists. English Heritage, the guardian of the monument, is to rewrite the official guide, which dismisses the Henge’s recent history in a few words.  Dave Batchelor, English Heritage’s senior archaeologist said he would personally rewrite the official guide. ‘The detail was dropped in the Sixties’, he admitted. ‘But times have changed and we now believe this is an important piece of the Stonehenge story and must be told’.

Image from the 1954 reconstruction

Cambridge University archaeological archivist and leading Stonehenge author Christopher Chippindale admitted: ‘Not much of what we see at Stonehenge hasn’t been touched in some way’. And historical research student Brian Edwards, who recently revealed that the nearby Avebury Monument had been totally rebuilt, has found rare pictures of Stonehenge being restored. He said: ‘It has been as if Stonehenge had been historically cleansed’. ‘For too long people have been kept in the dark over the Stonehenge restoration work. I am astonished by how few people know about it. It is wonderful the guide book is going to tell the full story in the future.’

Image from the 1954 reconstruction

A million visitors a year are awe-struck as they look back in time into another age and marvel at the primitive technology and muscle-power which must have been employed transporting the huge monoliths and raising them on Salisbury Plain.  They gasp as they are told about this strangely spiritual site…. mankind’s first computer, its standing stones and precise lintels, lining up magically and mysteriously with the heavens above and the solstice suns.

An early photograph of Stonehenge taken July 1877. Image credit: Wikipedia

But now, as if to head off a potential great archaeological controversy – and following interest displayed by historical researcher Brian Edwards and a local newspaper, the brochures will be re-written, to include the ‘forgotten years’. The years when teams of navvies sat aboard the greatest cranes in the British Empire to hoist stones upright; drag leaning trilithons into position, replace fallen lintels which once sat atop the huge sarsens. As Mr Edwards – the erstwhile enfant terrible of British archaeology following revelations that nearby Avebury was a total 20s and 30s rebuild by marmalade millionaire Alexander Keiller – says: ‘What we have been looking at is a 20th Century landscape, which is reminiscent of what Stonehenge MIGHT have been like thousands of years ago. It has been created by the heritage industry and is NOT the creation of prehistoric people. What we saw at the Millennium is less than 50 years old.’

Image from the 1954 reconstruction

In archaeological terms the re-writing of the guidebooks is dynamite. English Heritage run Stonehenge on behalf of the nation, and an English Heritage insider revealed: ‘Dark forces were at work in the 70s, when a decision was taken to drop the information about the restorations Now that is about to change.’

The Restoration and Rebuild

The first restoration of Stonehenge was launched 100 years ago this year.

And, in 1901, as the builders went to work, The Times letters column was full of bucolic missives of complaint. But the first stage of ‘restoration’ thundered ahead regardless and the style guru of the day, John Ruskin, released the maxim which was to outlive him…. ‘Restoration is a lie,’ he stormed.  Nevertheless the Stonehenge makeover was to gather momentum and more work was carried out in 1919, 1920, 1958, 1959 and 1964. Christopher Chippindale, curator at the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Anthropology, and author of Stonehenge Complete, admits: ‘Nearly all the stones have been moved in some way and are standing in concrete.’

A stone was straightened and set in concrete in 1901, six further stones in 1919 and 1920, three more in 1959 and four in 1964. There was also the excavation of the Altar stone and re-erection of the Trilithon in 1958.

Image from the 1954 reconstruction

The guide book ‘Stonehenge and Neighbouring Monuments’ , and the audio tour of the Henge omit any comprehensive mention of the rebuilding in the 20th Century. Only on page 18 is there a slight reference…’A number of the leaning and fallen stones have been straightened and re-erected.’ But even that official guide book does not contain clues to the large scale restoration, which was not deemed worth a full entry.

Why does John Constable’s 1835 painting of the Henge on pages 18 and 19 look so vastly different from the latter-day pristine photograph across pages 28 and 29?  REASON: A lot of restoration work had taken place in between the two images being recorded. And, during long hot summers it would be possible – if one could get near to the stones – to see the turf peeling back to reveal the concrete boots into which the majority of the stones are now set. A dead give-away, but difficult to spot now as proximity to the Henge is limited.

One wonders how an event as massive as the resurrection of a worldly monument such as Stonehenge went without notice. Today, it is rare to stumble upon any mention of the reconstruction of the historic monument. People like having clear guidelines that are followed, like those at an online casino where there is no room for misunderstandings. If the reconstruction of Stonehenge was made clear to the public it would only add to its historical value.

Image from the 1954 reconstruction

Our pictures clearly show the rebuilding in progress. Some were discovered by Mr Chippendale and were used in a revised edition of his book. Many of those have since been lost. Others were found by Mr Edwards who unearthed guide books from the time when Stonehenge was not ashamed of its past and featured photographs and stories of the restorations.

‘The news is sensational,’ said Mr Edwards, a decorate student at the University of the West of England. ‘Once I realised how much work had been carried out, I was amazed to discover that practically no-one outside of the henge know of its reconstruction in the last 100 years. I have always thought that if people are bothering to make a trip to Stonehenge, from home or abroad, then the least they should expect is a true story.’

Part of this article was written by Roger Taverner and originally featured in ‘The Western Daily Press’  8/1/2001.

Pictures appear courtesy of The Wiltshire Archeological Society and Christopher Chippindale.

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Stonehenge Wiltshire LightingB