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Thousands expected at Stonehenge for summer solstice

Police have warned revellers about anti-social behaviour at the site Credit: PA

More than 30,000 people are expected at Stonehenge today for the summer solstice.

Several thousand more - including hippies and pagans - are likely to visit the nearby Avebury stone circle to witness the sun rising at 4.52am on the longest day.

Whilst Stonehenge is believed to have been used as an important religious site by early Britons 4,000 years ago, pagan celebrations at the site only began in the 20th Century

Superintendent Gavin Williams of Wiltshire Police, who is leading the policing operation, warned of "robust" policing at the historic site.

"This year falls on Saturday so we are expecting in the region of 30,000 visitors throughout the night. The police will be there to ensure public safety and support the event," he said.

"There will be drugs dogs and amnesty bins at the entry points and we will deal robustly with any disorder or anti-social behaviour."

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  1. Lucy Verasamy

Plenty of sunshine for the summer solstice

Plenty of sunshine for the longest day of the year - just a little cloud around but staying bright.

The cloud across Scotland and Northern Ireland will break up to leave a better afternoon.

In the sunshine it'll be 19-20C in the north, 25C in the south, so a little warmer than of late - but cooler by the coasts.

Thousands witness sunrise at Stonehenge

An estimated 37,000 people saw the sun rise at Stonehenge on the longest day in the calendar.

Sun rises at Stonehnge this morning Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The Summer Solstice has a long tradition of attracting people to monuments such as Stonehenge, where people gather to witness the dawn.

Tens of thousands of people gathered at the site to witness the sunrise. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

25 people have been arrested at Stonehenge overnight, police said. Officers with Wiltshire Police said the arrests were largely for drugs-related offences.

The sun rises above the horizon as dawn breaks behind the stones at Stonehenge Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Crowds welcome Summer at dawn at Stonehenge

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Stonehenge this morning to mark the Summer Solstice at the dawn of the longest day of the year.

The ancient site has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Summer Solstice since the prehistoric time.

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25 arrests at Stonehenge 'mainly for drug offences'

Police arrested 25 people at Stonehenge overnight after an estimated 37,000 people saw the sun rise on the longest day in the calendar.

Officers with Wiltshire Police said the arrests were largely for drugs-related offences.

The Summer Solstice has a long tradition of attracting people to monuments such as Stonehenge, off the A303, where latter-day Druids gather to witness the sun rising on the longest day.

A police spokesman said: "We are pleased that the Solstice celebrations at Stonehenge and Avebury have been enjoyable events for the majority of people attending.

"There were 25 arrests at Stonehenge and two at Avebury which were mainly for drug-related offences."

Crowds gather at stone circles for Summer Solstice

Crowds have gathered at the ancient stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury in Wiltshire to celebrate sunrise on the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer.

Revellers take part in incantations as they prepare to welcome in summer at Stonehenge in Wiltshire. Credit: Reuters
A woman takes a selfie as the sun comes up. Credit: Reuters
Revellers arrived at sunset on Friday night. Credit: Reuters

Rock 'n' roll: Stonehenge may have been a giant xylophone

The prehistoric monument Stonehenge may have been built as a giant xylophone, researchers have claimed. The Royal College of Art spent months tapping more than 1,000 types of rock to study the monument's musical qualities.

Most rocks produced a "dull thud" while the bluestones, which formed the earliest stone circle, were found to "sing" when struck. The rocks made a range of metallic sounds like bells, gongs and tin drums, the study confirmed.

Stonehenge may have been a giant xylophone Credit: PA

Paul Devereux, who led the study with Jon Wozencroftfrom, said: “We have had percussionists up here who have been able to actually get proper tunes out of the rocks. This is real rock music.”

This unique sonic nature could explain why neolithic men dragged the huge stones 200 miles from the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, to Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire more than 4,000 years ago to build Stonehenge.

Reconstructed face of Neolithic man at Stonehenge

The exhibition will be the first to explain Stonehenge to visitors, with 250 prehistoric objects - many unseen before - on loan from various collections.

One highlight is the most advanced forensic reconstruction of an early Neolithic man's face, based on a 5,500-year-old skeleton buried in a long barrow 1.5 miles from Stonehenge.

A Neolithic skeleton and reconstructed head on display at the new visitor centre. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Two rare 14th century manuscripts, including some of the earliest drawings of the monument, Roman coins and jewellery are also on display

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