By Mark Halper
Posting in Energy
Druid bobblehead doll! Get your Druid bobblehead doll! Call it the biggest debate of its sort since Wrigley Field. Fans of England's world-famous stone circle square off over whether to illuminate.
Call it the biggest night lighting uproar since Wrigley Field: Fans of Stonehenge are squaring off over whether to illuminate England’s world-famous prehistoric stone circle after sunset.
In a letter to the Times newspaper supporting the idea, Lady Mimi Pakenham wrote, “The magic of Stonehenge could be shared every evening with all who pass, many of whom can't afford a ticket, just as it was a magical place thousands of years ago, sometimes with the Moon and clouds shining as well.”
She even gave the possibility a renewable energy twist. Although there seemed to be no mention of energy efficient LED lighting, she did invoke the sun, a sacred object to Stonehenge fanatics who flock to the site for solstice celebrations.
“With subtle lighting sunk well out of view and endless possibilities of solar energy, the monumental power of ancient man's achievement in another age would inspire all who pass by,” she wrote, as reported by The Telegraph. (The Times requires a subscription fee).
But the idea horrifies others.
In a debate with Pakenham on BBC radio this morning, University of Leicester professor Clive Ruggles pointed out that Stonehenge is “iconic of the connection between prehistoric monuments and the sky.”
Ruggles teaches archaeostronomy - the study of how ancient cultures looked upwards. “If you ask people about prehistoric monuments and ancient astronomy in one breath, chances are they’ll think Stonehenge," he noted. He also said that keeping Stonehenge as dark as possible is “part and parcel” to restoring it to its landscape.
Pakenham said any lighting scheme could be flexible and wouldn’t necessarily stream light constantly throughout the night.
We all know which side won the night light fight at the iconic ballpark on Chicago’s north side 20-plus years ago, although even there they exercise restraint.
But this is England, where history doesn’t give way to modernity as readily as it does in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave and Thomas Edison.
Still, it might be time to get ready for Druid bobblehead night in the countryside 90 miles southwest of London.
Photo: garethwiscombe/Flickr via Wikipedia
Nov 28, 2011
I am excited to think that there may finally be Druid bobbleheads available. With a light to see them with, it will be all the sweeter :-)
Stonehenge should be seen and experienced as it was seen and experienced by its ancient builders and visitors. Ticket sales, parking and sanitary facilities, and concessions have been carefully positioned out of sight of visitors as they walk the perimeter of the historical site. No matter how "subtle" the positioning of the lighting fixtures, the light itself will intrude on the experience. Bad, BAD idea.
In a trip to England from the states I had the good fortune to see Stonehenge and marvel. What a wondrous sight for all too share. But lights? Hmmm. Good for a sporting event, not so good for Stonehenge. This is a place that must be seen as it is, in the rough, as the ancients saw it. Yes, The Alamo is lit, but The Alamo is recent history. Stonehenge is part of a different world and lighting seems a little-well- cheezy to this American. Just my two bits. I hope all concerned can decide on this in a thoughtful manner. You all seem a bit more level headed and wise in these type of matters than your brethren across the big moist.
The magic of Stonehenge doesn't require false mood lighting. What is it with these people? Everyone should/would be able to see it...well yeah, it's been here for centuries! This isn't Disney World. Stonehenge has it's own special enchantment and fascination it sure doesn't need solor powered lights.
This must never be allowed to happen. It is the desecration of a national monument, and will contribute to light pollution in the area. This propensity to light up monuments is disgusting especially in the current climate of concern about climate change. This applies just as much to existing illuminated monuments and buildings such as the Pyramids, the Acropolis, or the Houses of Parliament, all of which are lit up like a concentration camp.