IT’S one of the world’s most iconic prehistoric monuments.
And every year, Stonehenge attracts visitors from across the world – particularly for the summer and winter solstices.
But for those who don’t fancy standing around in a cold field in Wiltshire at dawn on December 22, an expert from the University of Huddersfield can help.
Dr Rupert Till has helped develop an iPhone app for armchair druids.
Dr Till has created “The Stonehenge Experience” – a downloadable app, which employs advanced digital modelling techniques so that users can see what the site would have looked like in the dark and mysterious days of prehistory.
Users of the app can navigate interactively around Stonehenge and explore it without seeing any latter-day fences or paths – or crowds of tourists.
It is possible to “fly” over the top of the site, or zoom towards it and see how Stonehenge developed over the years, and how different arrangements of the stones were set up.
App users can also “listen” to Stonehenge via headphones, and experience the echoes from its surfaces.
A computer model of Stonehenge was originally created by Dr Till, a music lecturer and researcher in order to carry out acoustic analysis of the site.
Then his colleagues Dr Ertu Unver and Andrew Taylor, experts in 3-D modelling and design, produced a super-accurate model and multimedia files that reconstructed Stonehenge virtually.
Commercial software company Ribui approached the University team with a plan to develop the model into an interactive iPhone app and now “The Stonehenge Experience” has been released to the public, just in time for Winter Solstice 2011.
Dr Till said: “The use of digital interactive tools in this way allows anybody, anywhere in the world to connect with the thousands of years of tradition of journeying to Stonehenge, especially on the Winter Solstice.
“The trouble is, it is often not possible to watch the sun setting from inside Stonehenge. It is often cloudy and there are thousands of people all trying to get inside the stone circle at sunset.
“Also, half the stones at Stonehenge are missing or fallen, compared to the prehistoric version of the site.
“Add to this parking problems and the cold of the exposed countryside, and one might wonder if there were a warmer way to experience the solstice at Stonehenge. Well, we may have come up with the answer!”
The Stonehenge Experience app can be downloaded from http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/stonehenge-experience price £1.99