Stonehenge Gets a Landscape MakeoverBy: Jennifer Curra - December 17, 2013
Stonehenge is a cultural landmark known the world over, but even world-renown structures need revamping. The site (though not the actual structure) that was built between 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C. has just recently undergone renovations. Funds totaling 27 million pounds ($44 million) through a levy that was placed on profits from Britain’s national lottery as well as donations made these improvements possible.
One of the changes includes a new visitor center composed of two single-story blocks with one being made of timber and the other being made of glass. This new center is located 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) away from Stonehenge in an effort to preserve and isolate the landscape within close proximity to the actual stone site. In addition, one of the roads that was a common fairground for traveling to the landmark has also been closed. Visitors will now access the site through a shuttle bus, or by walking on ancient paths.
Simon Thurley, who is the chief executive of English Heritage, spoke about the need to update the historical site. “Stonehenge is almost certainly the most famous ancient monument in the world and up until now it hasn’t really had adequate visitor facilities. There’s been no exhibition, no opportunities for people to even have a cup of tea. This is a radical change for the million people a year who come to Stonehenge. They can see the stones for the first time free from the clutter and rubbish that have accrued around them since the 1960s. We now have something that I think is worthy of one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites,” Thurley said.
With the renovations, an increase in the admission price has also been implemented. An adult ticket could previously have been purchased for 8 pounds ($13); however, this price is now 14.90 pounds ($24) due to the expenses incurred.
According to Culture Secretary Maria Miller, “Stonehenge is one of the UK’s most iconic sites, undeniably worthy of its Unesco world heritage status, attracting one million tourists every year from the UK and all over the world. So it’s only right that, after decades of indecision, we can now offer them a visitor exhibition center and experience they deserve.”