It’s long been thought that Stonehenge served as an ancient calendar, given its alignment with the solstices.
Research by BU’s Professor Tim Darvill has identified how it may have worked as a solar calendar, with the stones acting as a physical representation of the year to help keep track of the days, weeks and months.
Professor Darvill will share his insights, and more about his research, in our next online public lecture.
The Secrets of Stonehenge event takes place on Thursday 18 May from 7pm – 8.30pm. Following Professor Darvill’s talk, there will be the opportunity to ask questions and take part in a live discussion.
It is the final event in BU’s 2022/23 online public lecture series, which showcases the university’s research and expertise across different areas.
Find out more and book your place
Collaborative research between Professor Tim Darvill in the Centre for Archaeology and Anthropology at BU and Professor Fritz Lüth of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin was featured in a short television programme made by ARD, the first German channel, first broadcast on 26 November. The programme focuses on the extensive high resolution geophysical surveys being undertaken within the Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site, and was filmed during the 2016 fieldwork season in September. Click here to view the programme.
Following the government’s ratification of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 1984 the first clutch of sites in the UK were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986. These comprised: the Castle and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd; Durham Castle and Cathedral; Ironbridge Gorge; Stonehenge and Avebury and associated sites; Studley Royal Park including the remains of Fountains Abbey; the Giant’s Causeway; and St Kilda. Celebrations are planned at many of these sites; that for Stonehenge and Avebury includes an international conference looking at how understandings of these iconic prehistoric monuments and their landscapes have changed over the last 30 years. It will be held in the Corn Exchange in Devizes, Wiltshire, on Saturday 19 November 2016, and contributions include a lecture by BU’s Professor Timothy Darvill entitled ‘Stonehenge: Beyond rock and roll’.
Pupils at the Jewell Academy in Bournemouth have built a scale-model of Stonehenge in the school grounds using 80 house-bricks. The work was as part of an outreach visit by Professor Tim Darvill from the Department of Archaeology, Anthropology and Forensic Science to introduce young scholars to the results of recent research at Stonehenge. Orientated on the mid-winter sunset the model should survive long enough to help celebrate the end of term and the start of the winter festival in six weeks time!
Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge is the first application of its kind to transport users around a virtual prehistoric landscape, exploring the magnificent and internationally important monument, Stonehenge.
The application was developed by Bournemouth University archaeologists, using new field data gathered during their work with colleagues from the universities of Sheffield, Manchester, Bristol, Southampton and London as part of the Stonehenge Riverside Project. Google Under-the-Earth works by adding layers of archaeological information to Google Earth technology.
The unique visual experience lets users interact with the past like never before. Highlights include taking a visit to the Neolithic village of Durrington Walls, a trip inside a prehistoric house and the opportunity to see reconstructions of Bluestonehenge at the end of the Stonehenge Avenue and of the great timber monument called the Southern Circle, as they would have looked more than four thousand years ago.
The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Google Research Awards, a program which fosters relationships between Google and the academic world as Google fulfils its mission to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’
But this fabulous educational and cultural tool does not end with Stonehenge. Archaeological scientist Dr Kate Welham, project leader at Bournemouth University, explained that it is the start of something much bigger.
“It is envisaged that Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge could be the start of a new layer in Google Earth. Many of the world’s great archaeological sites could be added, incorporating details of centuries’ worth of excavations as well as technical data from geophysical and remote sensing surveys in the last 20 years,” she said.
Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist for Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, said: “The National Trust cares for over 2000 acres of the Stonehenge Landscape. Seeing Beneath Stonehenge offers exciting and innovative ways for people to explore that landscape. It will allow people across the globe, many of whom may never otherwise have the chance to visit the sites, to share in the thrill of the discoveries made by the Stonehenge Riverside team and to appreciate the remarkable achievements of the people who built and used the monuments.”
You can download the application from the Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge site. The tool is easy to use and requires Google Earth to be installed on your computer.