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Public OKd For Stonehenge Solstice

May 11, 2000

LONDON (AP) _ The public will be able to greet the dawn of the millennium’s first summer at the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge, the first time in 16 years the site has been opened for the summer solstice.

Stonehenge will be opened the night of June 20 for eight hours under tight security, the watchdog body English Heritage announced Thursday.

Camping, fires, dogs and amplified music will be forbidden at the site on Salisbury Plain, 80 miles southwest of London.

In the past, Stonehenge _ a stone circle erected by prehistoric Britons 5,000 years ago _ has been a magnet for unruly revelers. During the 1980s, a four-mile exclusion zone was established around the stones on solstice night following a series of disruptions.

In 1998, 100 people were allowed to attend the solstice by prior arrangement, but riot police had to be called in last year after gatecrashers pushed down fences and clambered on the stones.

The solstice is the holiest day of the year for druids, who consider Stonehenge a sacred site.

English Heritage spokeswoman Elspeth Henderson said a decision would be made after the event about whether to continue the practice.

``It’s a little bit unpredictable, obviously,″ she said.

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