Solstice Sunbeam Through Stained Glass Window of Neolithic Burial Room Creates Mesmerizing Rainbow Cloud
Incredible photos show the beam of the setting sun through a stained glass window at a Neolithic burial barrow creating a mesmerizing rainbow of light.
Wildlife photographer Andrew Fusek Peters, 56, captured the colorful spectacle at the Soulton Long Barrow in Shropshire on the evening of December 29.
The recently completed burial site has been aligned to capture the sun at the midwinter solstice as it passes through a stained glass window, illuminating the burial chamber.
Andrew had been on a walk in the Shropshire Hills when he spotted the opportunity to capture the atmospheric phenomenon and “drove like a maniac” to get there in time.
His breathtaking dusk images show beams of blue, purple, orange, red and green light flooding the reimagined ancient chamber with spectacular color.
“I’d heard about this colorful light display caused by the window but it really has to be seen to be believed,” said Andrew.
“Colorful is an understatement, and I don’t think the pictures even do it justice. I felt honored to be there to see it.
“I feel like at the end of the year, these pictures tell a story of hope. There is still beauty in the world.
The monuments were created around 5,000 years ago for people to lay the ashes of their beloved ones.
The modern-day Soulton Hall long barrow contains the largest stone corbelled ceiling in modern times, over the height of two double decker buses and can seat 80 people.
It is only the third of its kind to be opened as part of an a Stone Age tradition being resurrected across Britain.
The main chamber is aligned so that at winter solstice and for a few weeks after, the sun sets directly through the stained glass door.
A farmer, Tim Ashton, spent three years creating the barrow after visiting dozens of henges to finalize the design.
“It is a very modern but sacred place and it was quite a spiritual moment to see all this color spilling into the chamber.”
Andrew assured the media there was no camera trickery—all the light was natural.
“I had just been walking on the hills and it was the first day the weather was good enough so I drove like a maniac to get there.
“There is only a window of a few days to capture this moment and even less than that when the weather is bad so I felt very lucky to witness it.
“The way they have deliberately aligned the window to refract the sunlight in such a dynamic way is a truly beautiful thing.”
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