Today in class we talked a lot about stonehenge and something that came up was the large gatherings that occur at stonehenge each year during the summer solstice. Like professor Watrall said this is the only time that people are actually allowed within stonehenge. I thought this was very intriguing and what I found out was that it was not always this way.
People have been traveling to stonehenge for thousands of years for many various reason. But in more recent years specifically the 70’s there was the creation of somewhat of a festival during the summer solstice. People with similar ideas about life would travel from all over to celebrate and have a fun evening at stonehenge during the summer solstice. But in 1985 the courts or Britain ruled that people would no longer be allowed to gather at stonehenge during the summer solstice. And it was during the summer solstice of this year the the “Battle of the Bean field” took place. People were coming by the thousands for the summer solstice but the police were not going to allow them in. The police reportedly beat and smashed people and their cars trying to prevent them from getting to stonehenge and the result was a brutal night. People were horribly beaten and hurt and many were arrested. The people were outraged. But for the next fifteen years this was how it was. People were no longer allowed to visit stonehenge. The police had a four mile zone set up in which people could not enter. Though every year people tried to get past and were arrested it wasn’t until the year 2000 that officials finally let people back in to stonehenge. And according to police reports the whole evening went great. Many people aren’t there to vandalize or destroy stonehenge they are there to celebrate life. And since then the festival has grown larger each year. All kinds of people come to the festival each year from druids to school children and their teachers.
Many people believe still though, that vandalism and deterioration of such a historic monument is a real issue. And in reality it is. Many people think that people should not be allowed to enter stonehenge during the summer solstice because even though it is only one day a lot of damage can be done. But also what many people argue is that stonehenge has been a gathering place for thousands of years so why should we change that? So what do you think? Should stonehenge be close to the public 365 days of the year or should people be able to gather and celebrate life during the summer solstice as people have been doing for years?