Stonehenge

IMGP9394 (2)I am terribly slow in posting our travelphotos from this summer, but I guess I have all winter to do it. This is, in a way, the climax of this trip, since Stonehenge is one of those must-have-seen places in England that we have somehow never managed to get to. Actually, we checked several must-see boxes this summer, like Bath, Avebury, Old Sarum.

Yes, there were fellow tourists there, plenty of them. One had to book a time slot in advance to go to the Stones, to avoid unmanagable crowds. The museum is new, I believe it was opened in 2013, and it is not located at the Stones, but rather functions as an entrance to the entire Stonehenge landscape, which is a vast holy land, full of henges, barrows and mysterious ditches (or earthworks, as Stewart Ainsworth would say). Much of it I didn´t understand, and perhaps no one will fully understand the meaning of it all, but it seems that the current interpretation is that Stonehenge was a kind of healing centre. The so called Amesbury Archer, a skeleton on display with its gravegoods at the Salisbury museum, has, after being subjected to DNA analysis, been found to be a migrant from northern Italy. It could be that he came to Stonehenge in the hope of healing some old wounds he had.

I saw a documentary some time ago that said there are springs in the area that has a very interesting microorganism living in the water. It attaches itself to rocks and turns into a magenta colour when it dries; this may have been part of the attraction. Or perhaps the eeriness, as Eddie Izzard has amusingly pointed out.

The centre is very attractive architecturally, and has some amazing exhibitions about the history (as the archeologists imagine it) of the Stones and the surrounding area.
The centre is very attractive architecturally, and has some amazing exhibitions about the history (as the archeologists imagine it) of the Stones and the surrounding area.
Behind the centre is a Stoneage village and an example of how they think the stones were transported, on wooden sleds.
Behind the centre is a Stone Age village and an example of how they think the stones were transported, on wooden sleds. There are helicopters hovering above, coming from nearby military bases – Salisbury plain is much used as practice ground.
I had lots of space when I sat down to draw, it was good timing as there was a light rain passing.
I had lots of space when I sat down to draw, it was good timing as there was a light rain passing.
It didn´t take long before I was surrounded by curious people. Not that I notice; I am entirely engrossed in what I am doing, but the husband is amused and captured some of the attention on camera.
It didn´t take long before I was surrounded by curious people. Not that I noticed; I am entirely engrossed in what I am doing when I draw, but the husband is amused and captured some of the attention on camera.
We were transported to the Stones by bus. Some elected to walk, but we didn´t, as we had planned to see Old Sarum that same day.
We were transported to the Stones by bus. Some elected to walk, but we didn´t, as we had planned to see Old Sarum that same day.
It really looks nothing like one imagines. The landscape is not as flat as I had thought.
It really looks nothing like one imagines. The landscape is not as flat as I had thought.
In fact, the Stones are situated in something of a slope! (The robed figures are not druids, but Buddhist nuns.)
In fact, the Stones are situated in something of a slope! (The robed figures are not druids, but Buddhist nuns.)
There are plenty of birds on the site. The jackdaws are most famous, but I found the rooks most charming.
There are plenty of birds on the site. The jackdaws are most famous, but I found the rooks most charming.
Perhaps because they are less cautious; one can get really close to them.
Perhaps because they are less cautious; one can get really close to them.
I must have taken a hundred photos, every step one takes offers a whole new view!
I must have taken a hundred photos, every step one takes offers a whole new view!

IMGP9358 (2)

There were guided walking tours passing us, walking along all those exciting features one really must have a guide to see. Perhaps some other time. I think it would be easy to spend a week walking back and forth here, why not with an easel under the arm?
There were guided walking tours passing us, walking along all those exciting features one really must have a guide to see. This is called “the Avenue”, and there used to be a road crossing it (but it is no longer there).  Perhaps some other time. I think it would be easy to spend a week walking back and forth here, why not with an easel under the arm?

20151205_115320

IMGP9385 (2)

IMGP9381 (2)

We did walk around a bit, exploring some barrows on a hill nearby. In the end, the rain made us go back to the bus, and we never got to Old Sarum that day. Still, a wonderful experience!
We did walk around a bit, exploring some barrows on a hill nearby. In the end, the rain made us go back to the bus, and we never got to Old Sarum that day. Still, a wonderful experience!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

18 thoughts on “Stonehenge”

  1. What an interesting post. I had to laugh at the photos your husband took of you and then the people who gathered around you. I’m always amazed at your sketches, but also love your photos, too.

    This was very interesting, and I enjoyed your take on the site, too. Thanks for sharing. I’d love to see even more of your photos, too.

  2. Thx for taking so many photos from different vantage points. Fascinating! The museum design is interesting. I enjoyed seeing the landscape. And sheep 🙂 I’d have loved going through that stone-age village representation.

    Are there remains buried in those barrows? Or are they just mounds and not burial sites? Oh, wait, I googled it 🙂 It looks like there’s been a lot of damage through the years that hasn’t been addressed even yet. I’m impressed they are setting so much land aside that’s accessible.

    1. Yes, it is very accessible – but it costs a pretty penny. Which is fine, I shudder to think what shape it would have been in if it hadn´t been protected. Still, much of the land is being worked, by tractors and sheep, and must be I guess, if it is to remain open. In Britain one has the right to roam “mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land” and this land wouldn´t be, as it is cultivated. There is also the right of way, a network of footpaths, some of which are thousands of years old (overgrown and hard to find in some instances, I can tell you!). These rights have been disputed a lot, and I think there is still some bad blood between landowners and the rambler´s associations.

          1. googling “Lucky Luke”….. never heard of him. He sounds like he led an interesting life. We had a lot of “western” tv series when I was young -Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, The High Chaparral, Wagon Train, The Guns of Will Sonnett, ….. There were so _many_ of them! Those scenes are still what I picture when I think about the old wild west. When the pro-gun people talk to me I point out that even in the “wild” west you could be asked to check your gun at the sheriff’s office when you came to town. Ah, for the good old days …

          2. Oh yes, Lucky Luke was great! Perhaps his horse, the Jolly Jumper, was even greater! Lucky Luke had his gun, but he only drank milk, as I recall – he had a very sound judgement, and never killed anybody. Asterix was another favourite, and the brain behind all the stories were René Goscinny. Both comics continued after his death, but were never the same. Goscinny had a deep knowledge of history, a wicked sense of humour, and boundless creativity.

            They showed “High Chaparral” on Swedish television, but I am a bit young for it to have made an impression. “How the West was won” is the one I remember, the Macahan family saga. My favourite member was, naturally, uncle Zeb, with aunt Molly a close second. I disliked the teenagers Luke and Laura so much I had to go out of the room while they were on! One handsome actor, Duane Loken, who played indian Wolf Paw, came to Sweden for a while and became a really popular singer, touring our “people´s parks”… I think maybe this series were more popular here than in the US.

          3. The How the West was Won series aired the year I graduated from college, and I didn’t watch much tv at all during those years. I’d never heard of this one. It looks like James Arness did this pretty soon after Gunsmoke wrapped up. I remember Bruce Boxleitner from Babylon 5. I was a huge Babylon 5 fan.

          4. Another western series that was really popular in Sweden was “The Little House on the Prarie”. I didn´t like it much, but my parents adored it (my father cried every time; I did not get the attraction), so I watched it with them. I found it rather weird when I was younger that “Laura Ingalls”/Melissa Gilbert in real life married “Luke Macahan”/Bruce Boxleitner, but I guess no weirder than him previously marrying his on-screen sister Macahan/Kathryn Holcomb. I have since learned to separate fiction and reality! 😉 I saw one or two of Babylon 5, I guess the timing was wrong. Also, the husband dislikes sci-fi (I know, but that´s his only fault) and I guess that plays a part.

          5. After my traumatic experience with the prequels I’m scared of Star Wars. My daughter and son-in-law have tickets. I’ll get their take on it before I go. Midichlorians? Really?! And Jar Jar? The memories still hurt 😉

          6. I know, I know, but really, how can it be worse? I have no “Star Wars-y” expectations this time, I expect something a bit like the new Star Treks that Abrams made. You know, it will never be the real thing, but it could be a good romp. Besides, I am too old now to be affected like I was in 1980, even by the real thing. Thankfully. Who knows, if I´d been a teen now, I might have been totally into vampires [shudder].

          7. It may be Disney, but I doubt that Dumbo will show up, flapping his ears… when I think of it, Jar-Jar wasn´t far from Dumbo, and that was before Disney got involved…

            It looks like Dark Shadows are on youtube. I watched a bit of an episode, and OMG what an over-acted melodrama! Great fun on a Saturday night, if you´re in the mood, I should think. I guess I missed the vampire thing and will never get into it. When I was little, Swedish television showed a lot of educational children´s programs, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paLt96k82yc
            It had three tramp characters (I think the last one was supposed to be a doll) trying to figure out how the world worked, and at the centre of it, there was always “the mysterious man”, who seemed to DO nothing, but still controlled it all (the evil captialist, I guess, or just a middle-class grown-up). Perhaps they tried to indoctrinate us, but of no avail, we all grew up to be yuppies in the 80´s! 😀

          8. I got a kick out of the “tramp” characters 🙂 They remind me of Jesus Christ Superstar characters for some reason.

            For us Disney is part of what’s wrong with the world. Their aggressive campaign to extend copyright protections and keep material out of the public domain seems to us to be an abuse of their resources, and I’ll never forgive them for what they did to the little mermaid and beauty and the beast fairy tales.

            Dark Shadows started as a gothic soap opera, and the vampire element was added after -I think- the first season, but Barnabas Collins was the reason to watch. I have a couple of seasons on DVD because I wanted to show my kids. It hasn’t aged well, but I’m blaming the pacing 😉

          9. Well, they are of that same era, the hippie/prog movement.

            I am not really familiar with the Disney affairs, but I´m not surprised to hear it. We happened upon a Goofy short film one evening a few years ago and still haven´t recovered…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *