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updated: 6/21/2013 10:54 AM

Stonehenge gathering marks summer solstice

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  • People raise their hands in celebration during the summer solstice shortly after 4:52 a.m. at the prehistoric Stonehenge monument, near Salisbury, England, Friday, June 21, 2013. Following an annual all-night party, thousands of New Agers and neo-pagans danced and whooped in delight at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge, marking the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

      People raise their hands in celebration during the summer solstice shortly after 4:52 a.m. at the prehistoric Stonehenge monument, near Salisbury, England, Friday, June 21, 2013. Following an annual all-night party, thousands of New Agers and neo-pagans danced and whooped in delight at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge, marking the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

STONEHENGE, England -- Police say more than 20,000 celebrants have gathered at the famed Stonehenge monument to mark the summer solstice.

The cloud cover Friday morning prevented bright sunshine at dawn of the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere but a joyous spirit prevailed.

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Police say there were fewer arrests than usual with 22 people taken into custody, most for drug-related offenses.

The solstice has typically drawn a wide and varied crowd to the mysterious set of standing stones whose purpose remains unclear.

The ancient stone circle on the Salisbury Plain about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southwest of London, was built in three phases between 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C.

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