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Simon's Blog - Hot news from the future!
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When you've run out of space in your brain, it's handy to be able to store thoughts somewhere else.

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Why did they choose Salisbury Plain?
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 20:39 29/10/16
One of the most frequently asked questions about Stonehenge is “Why is it where it is?” and there are several possible explanations for this. They're described below but it's important to understand that combinations of these are also possible – there may not be just one single reason.
Stonehenge and The Druids
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 20:17 29/10/16
Back in the mid 1600s one man came to the realisation that Stonehenge was far older than previously thought. Based on his studies, John Aubrey attributed the monument to the British pre-Roman priesthood called the Druids.
Burial Mounds near Stonehenge
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 19:55 29/10/16
The area within a 2 mile radius around Stonehenge contains more than 300 Bronze Age burial mounds or “barrows”. Often these are clustered into what are termed “cemeteries” - groups of barrows that often occur along the ridgelines within sight of the stone circle. Almost all have been opened by investigators and treasure hunters prior to the 20th century and have had their grave goods removed.
Ale's Stenar, Stonehenge and the number 56
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 18:02 02/05/16 | Comments: 1
It's weird how information finds you. While finishing up at the monument last week I happened to overhear three visitors wondering where the Avenue was. I stopped to point it out to them and we got into conversation.
Crystal River Stelae 3D Models
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 20:15 01/03/16
Courtesy of the excellent Adam Stanford, here are 3D models of Stela 1 and Stela 2 at Crystal River Archaeological Park based on several hundred photos of them taken by me on my recent visit.
Crystal River Mounds, Florida
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 02:22 21/02/16
This archaeological site of over half a dozen mounds and several standing stones dates between ~500BC and 1400AD.
Wrens at Stonehenge
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 18:25 18/10/15 | Comments: 1
Most people are aware of the existence of a piece of graffiti on the southern edge of Stone 52 at Stonehenge which reads "I WREN" and is reputed to be that of Christopher Wren.

While doing the stone check this morning, I happened to notice a second occurrence of the name "WREN", this time on the west face of Stone 23.

Here are photos of these graffiti for comparison.

Lunar Eclipse September 2015
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 21:17 28/09/15
A small selection of photos taken out of my bedroom window.
A passing thought about Durrington Walls stones
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 18:32 07/09/15 | Comments: 2
As news today (originally first reported last year) emerges of the discovery by the Hidden Landscapes Project of possibly 100 large stones beneath the southern bank of Durrington Walls, some up to 4.5m long, I find myself idly musing about the relationship between Durrington and Stonehenge.
Major and Minor Lunar Standstills
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 18:33 30/07/15
The attached PDF graphs the declination of the Moon over the span of 2012 to 2026 as seen from Stonehenge, to help you spot when the next lunar standstills will occur.

The graphs are generated using a Java applet available on http://www.jgiesen.de/moondata/

Solar Eclipse Timelapse March 20th 2015
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 17:14 20/03/15
Timelapse montage of this morning's solar eclipse over Stonehenge.
Comet C2014/Q2 Lovejoy again
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 00:43 17/01/15
Now easily naked eye from dark sky sites, just below and to the right of the Pleiades.
Stonehenge Aubrey Hole Eclipse Predictor tweaked
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 18:14 06/01/15
This one's adjusted for the BBC's preferences.
Comet C2014/Q2 Lovejoy
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 14:12 29/12/14
Faint green blob in binoculars below Orion, will be tracking upwards and to the right over the next few days.
Stonehenge Aubrey Hole Eclipse Predictor
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 09:54 17/12/14
Demonstration of Hoyle's method of the movement of marker stones around the Aubrey Hole circle to predict eclipse seasons. This animation covers the period from March 20th 2015 to April 4th 2015.
Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project News
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 00:01 10/09/14
Some fantastic new discoveries and survey data from the SHLP - read the press release (English version is below the German one at the foot of the page) and take a look at the photos and videos provided.


Larkhill Army Basing and the Sun Gap - update
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 23:51 20/05/14
The final draft of the Master Plan is now available at http://www.army.mod.uk/structure/34026.aspx.

The good news is that the two potential development sites that would have resulted in new buildings being built across the Sun Gap and over the historic Larkhill Flying Ground have been ruled out.

Army Basing Programme - Larkhill
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 00:06 11/03/14
The attached PDF comprises my personal comments which I have submitted to the consultation process.

The document analyses the impact of using two of the potential Larkhill development sites on the Summer Solstice Sunrise alignment as seen from Stonehenge.

It provides the historical background for the Larkhill "Sun Gap", shows the current situation and urges the MoD to remove these two particular sites from consideration and instead restore the "Sun Gap" sightline.

Also included are the contact details if you would like to submit your own comments on the MoD proposals before the 1st April 2014.

Restoring the Larkhill Sun Gap
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 22:36 06/02/14 | Comments: 3
Due to plantations of trees growing on Larkhill the summer solstice sunrise as seen from Stonehenge no longer appears to the left of the tip of the Heelstone but to its right.

I think something should be done to restore the correct view, and furthermore that the MoD shouldn't build houses across the solstice alignment as they have proposed in their Army Basing Masterplan.

Update March 11th 2014: If you're interested in this having heard the report on BBC Wiltshire, you might like to read my consultation comments and submit some of your own to the MoD before the 1st April.

You can also join the Flying With The Larks Facebook group, they are compaigning against the same two potential MoD development sites from the point of view of preserving the historic Larkhill Flying Ground.

Stonehenge Visitor Centre building works timelapse
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 16:53 26/12/13 | Comments: 5
A series of photographs taken between 2nd August 2012 and 26th December 2013 at a rate of a couple a week, montaged together to create a pair of timelapses showing the construction of the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.
Stonehenge Visitor Centre Sunrise - September 2013
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 07:58 08/09/13
Back in 2009 I mocked up the position of the new Visitor Centre on a panorama to get an idea of what it'd look like, and estimated that sunrise on the alignment between the pods would fall on April and September 6th or thereabouts.

On April 2nd this year I went out and got some photos of it, and said I'd try again in September.

This morning (Sept 8) I was able to repeat the exercise - this time there's less scaffolding in the way.

Stonehenge Stoneholes
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 22:23 23/07/13
The dry weather may have broken temporarily, but the prolonged period without rain has revealed a series of interesting parch marks in the grass surrounding Stonehenge.

Tim Daw noticed that there were a sequence of them in an arc between Stone 16 and Stone 21, and then I spotted some more just outside the sarsen circle.

Here's a photo or three...

Lost archive rediscovered
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 21:13 16/06/13
Today at the monument I met Richard Bailey, the son of T.A. Bailey, the Chief Architect of the Ministry of Works from the 1950s who supervised the restoration of fallen and leaning stones at Stonehenge in the 1950s.
Stonehenge Visitor Centre Sunrise April 2013
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 07:55 02/04/13 | Comments: 2
Back in 2009 I mocked up the position of the new Visitor Centre on a panorama to get an idea of what it'd look like, and estimated that sunrise on the alignment between the pods would fall on April and September 6th or thereabouts.

April 2nd 2013 dawned frosty and clear so I went out to see how close I was.

Comet PanSTARRS over Stonehenge
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 20:44 18/03/13 | Comments: 4
After a day that began with a blizzard and continued with rain I wasn't expecting to be able to have a go at imaging comet PanSTARRS.

Happily, the weather cleared by sunset and I was able to capture PanSTARRS over Stonehenge on March 17th 2013.

Stonehenge Azimuths
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 21:11 26/01/13
In "Archaeoastronomy in the Old World" (D.C. Heggie, 1982), various azimuths are given for the axis of Stonehenge and the Avenue.

I've drawn these angles up and overlaid them on a Google Earth view to better visualise them.

Winter Solstice Sunrise 2012 animation
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 15:47 22/12/12 | Comments: 2
An animation of the winter solstice sunrise over Coneybury Hill on the Stone 58 notch alignment.
Rubik Cube Solution
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 17:54 12/12/12 | Comments: 1
The original Rubik Cube came out when I was at school doing my O' levels in the late 70s. My pure maths teacher (Dr. David Keen) developed a notation and formulae for a number of moves that could be combined to solve any jumbled cube, he shared these with the class and we all learned to solve the cube as a result.
Stonehenge Construction Stages animation
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 16:44 08/12/12
Antiquity's article "Stonehenge Remodelled" by Darvill, Marshall, Parker Pearson and Wainwright [ANTIQUITY 86 (2012): 1021–1040] shows the newly suggested stages of construction. Here I've created fade-animations of the diagrams to show the development of the site over time according to this new model.
Well, duh...
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 21:36 06/09/12
Obviously they'll be *failed* ones...
December 3rd planetary alignment with Giza Pyramids
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 17:03 27/08/12
I'm fed up with seeing this image all over the place - it'd be mildly interesting if it was true, but it's not.

I decided to see how wrong it actually is.

The Harestone of Avebury
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 23:34 05/05/12 | Comments: 1
Pointed out to me by my neighbours Mark and Vanessa - spot the boxing hare (one of many hares, it seems) on this stone at the Cove, Avebury.
Winter Solstice Sunrise alignment at Stonehenge
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 00:25 23/12/11

I'm now fairly confident that there is a deliberate Winter Solstice Sunrise alignment through Stonehenge, making use of a notch in Stone 58 to target a position on Coneybury Ridge where the sun rose in 2500BC.

Finally I'm in a position to post something that summarises how I have come to this view.

Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project - Cursus/HeelStone solstitial alignments
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 16:02 26/11/11 | Comments: 8
Worthy of further investigation, the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project (which is geophysing the entire World Heritage Site in 5 years) is reported to have discovered two large pits, one near either end of the Cursus.

Apparently these pits are aligned so that as seen from the Heelstone they mark the positions of sunrise and sunset on summer solstice.

I've yet to find the precise positions of the pits reported anywhere, but the sunrise one must be some way from the eastern end because the Lockyer azimuth crosses the Cursus some 400m from the eastern terminal.

I've indicated this on the following image from Google Earth.

Samhain/Imbolc Sunrise alignment from Stonehenge
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 23:10 01/11/11 | Comments: 2
That's interesting - it looks like the sunrise alignment on the Samhain (7th Nov) and Imbolc (4th Feb) cross-quarter days goes right over the site of Coneybury Henge and the round barrow cluster 500m WNW of it.

(Facebook folks click 'View original post' for the picture)

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