The above picture shows restoration being carried out on Stonehenge in 1901.
From 1901-1964 the majority of the stone circle was "restored". A series of makeovers have left it, in the words of one archeologist "a product of 20th century heritage industry"
This information is markedly absent from the guidebooks and info-phones used by tourists at the site. The official guide book has been rewritten by David Batchelor to include information about the rebuild in more than passing reference.
Cambridge University archeological archivist and leading Stonehenge autor Christopher Chippindale has admitted "Not much of what we see at Stonehenge hasn't been touched in some way"
Historical research student Brian Edwards, who recently revealed that the nearby Avebury Monument has been totally rebuilt, has found rare pictures of Stonehenge being rebuilt. He said "It has been as it 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 future."
To head off a potential great archeological controversy the brochures will be rewritten 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. Mr Edwards, the erstwhile enfant terrible of British archeology, following revelations that nearby Avebury was a total 20/30's 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."
The first restoration was launched over 100 years ago. In 1901, as the builders set to work, The Times letters column was full of bucolic missives of complaint. The first stage of "restoration" thundered on ahead regardless. John Ruskin released the maxim which was to outlive him... "Restoration is a lie," he stormed. Nevertheless the Stonehenge makeover gathered momentum and more work was carried out in 1919,1930,1958,1959 and 1964.
Christopher Chippendale admits "Nearly all the stones have been moved in some way and are standing in concrete."
One 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 Alter stone and re-erection of the trilithon in 1958.
The guide book 'Stonehenge and Neighbouring Monuments', and the audio tour tape omit any reference of the 20th Century rebuild. Only page on 18 is there a slight reference... "A number of the leaning and fallen stones have been straightened and re-erected"
Why does John Constable's 1835 painting of the Henge look so vastly different from the latter-day photograph? The reason is a lot of restoration work had taken place in between the two images being recorded. During the long hot summers it would be possible, if one could get near to the stones, to see turf peeling back and revealing the concrete boots on 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.
These pictures clearly show the rebuilding in progress. Some were discovered by Mr Chippedale and were published in his book, unfortunately many were subsequently lost. Others were found by Mr Edwards in guide books from the time when Stonehenge wasn't ashamed of it's past and feature stories and photographs of the restoration.
"The news is sensational" Mr Edwards said, "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, form home or abroad, the the least the should expect is the true story."
Meet Kim Payne, a druid priest and listen to his explanations of the history of one of the world's most enchanting and mysterious monuments. How did the stones get there? What are the issues with accessing it?
This video is about Coral Castle in Florida, not relevant you might say to iPeace England, but I think it explains how the stones were transported and lifted to make Stonehenge and all the other ancient monuments over the world.