Big News: BBC Replica Trilithon Rediscovered—Just in Time for Clonehenge’s Sixth Birthday!

1996 concrete trilithon replica

1996 concrete trilithon replica

We are [please choose one: surprised/confused/incredulous/amused/shocked/spannered] to announce that today is the sixth anniversary of the founding of the Clonehenge blog!

Timothy Daw, BBC Wiltshire's Karen Gardner, and Julian Richards with the concrete uprights

Timothy Daw, BBC Wiltshire’s Karen Gardner, and Julian Richards with the concrete uprights

And to celebrate it, recently renowned Wiltshire farmer and long barrow builder Mr. Timothy Daw, along with well known television presenter and Stonehenge scholar, Mr. Julian Richards, have inaugurated a new and historic project: the resurrection of a 1990s BBC concrete replica Stonehenge trilithon! You can see the original completed concrete trilithon in the photo above.

Truth time: something in the above paragraph is not strictly true. Can you guess?  Okay, yes, it is the assertion that the project had anything at all to do with Clonehenge’s anniversary. It did not. However, it is such a lovely fantasy that we wanted to see it in print. [insert unicorn emoji]

But back to the truth. In the words of the increasingly famous Stonehenge caretaker Tim Daw,

“Twenty years ago Julian Richards led a programme where they dragged and erect a full size replica of the Great Trilithon of Stonehenge. The concrete stones were recently discovered to be in danger of being destroyed and so we have saved them and they are now at All Cannings Cross near the Long Barrow. Next year we hope to remake the programme using neolithic methods to raise it again, and leave it standing.”

The finding and transporting of the pieces of this trilithon has been such an event that BBC Wiltshire actually posted a set of pictures called Replica Stonehenge (!!!) showing the concrete “stones” being moved and transported with crane and lorries. The text reads:

the trilithon pieces at Cannings Cross Farm

the trilithon pieces at Cannings Cross Farm, photo by Andy Burns

A replica Stonehenge has been moved across Wiltshire. The giant concrete stones have been transported to Canning Cross Farm near Devizes. Farmer Tim Daw will use them to test the different theories on how the Neolithic monument was put together 4,000 years ago.

Only a few times in the six years of its existence has the Clonehenge blog covered actual Stonehenge replica news. There was the story of the pink Granite Stonehenge in West Australia, its stones being left at the quarry when the man who commissioned it ran out of money, and its subsequent acquisition by the Beales and installation on their cattle farm; and then of course there was, and remarkably still is, the only full-sized illegal guerilla henge, Achill Henge on Achill Island in County Mayo, Ireland. That one was supposed to be taken down immediately, but three years later is still standing!

And now we have this romantic story of the concrete trilithon lying in pieces in a car park since the 1990s, only to be discovered, claimed, and transported, with plans for its resurrection—on the Wiltshire farm of the discoverer of the missing Stonehenge stone parch marks, Stonehenge caretaker, and long barrow builder, the budding megalithic superstar himself, Mister Timothy Daw. (Is it true that he was asked to search for his ancestors on Who Do You Think You Are, where he hoped to discover that he was directly descended from the people who ordered the original Stonehenge built back in the Neolithic, but was dismayed to learn that in fact their most direct living descendant was one Simon Banton, who was of course far too modest and self-effacing to appear on television? Inquiring minds want to know!)

We are looking forward to next year, watching the progress as various transport methods are used to move the concrete stones, and the trials are filmed for television. (By then no doubt Mr. Daw will be forced to stop every few moments to give autographs, which could slow things down a bit. Haha, we certainly hope he is a good sport.) This is a wonderful project, and we thank all involved, for photos, information, and for giving our whole staff here at Clonehenge something to crow about as we complete our sixth year of nonsense. The smiles you see on all three people in the picture above are the smiles that Stonehenge replicas create wherever they are found. We have loved recording them and being party to this odd corner of human nature for so many years! We see no sign that henge building is slowing down or going out of style.

We know we haven’t been posting much here on the blog lately. Some people tell us they no longer have time to read blog posts and they now only track their Stonehenge replica news on our Facebook group, Facebook page, or on Twitter. Of the three, we would have to recommend the Clonehenge Facebook group, because the most action and up-to-the-minute reports take place there. But once in a while we’ll return here to record something special.

And until the next time comes, dear friends, we wish you some very happy henging!

Goodwood Revival Stonehenge: White-robed Druids, Cardboard Obama, and Then We Digress!

Stonehenge in Sussex, at the Goodwood Revival.

Stonehenge in Sussex, at the Goodwood Revival.

A Stonehenge replica was built for the Goodwood Revival, an annual festival of motor racing in the mode racing’s heydey, in the middle of the last century.* We don’t know much about this replica: what it was made of, just whose idea it was, but here is some promotional text from the Goodwood Revival website:

“You can’t just build a full-scale replica of Stonehenge for no reason, so if you can’t build one in the 50th anniversary year of the founding of Britain’s Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids when can you do it at all?

Yes, we’re continuing Goodwood’s tradition of stunning displays and authentic set dressing with the most extreme example to date, in the shape of a magnificent Stonehenge installation at the entrance to the Rolex Drivers’ Club.

Commissioned by Lord March to be larger than the original (for greater visibility as there will be more people at the Goodwood Revival in September than lived in the entire UK 5,000 years ago), the installation will also be a celebration of the pre-historic monument’s 99 years in safe hands, after it was bought at auction in 1915 by Cecil Chubb for £6,600 (£500,000 in today’s money).”

An article published during the Revival said,

“Sussex or Salisbury Plain? When the sun rose this morning you could be forgiven for wondering as the first rays of a beautiful September morning illuminated the famous stones of Stonehenge.

Well it was at least a very fair representation of the world famous monument. Complete with a host of white-robed Druids. And one cardboard cutout of Barack Obama…

A druid and President Obama, with possibly an altar stone behind them

A druid and President Obama, with possibly an altar stone behind them

Druids, but no virgins, at least! The druids were actors, and the cut-out was a reference to the U.S. president’s recent visit to Stonehenge. Listen: do you think this could be a new trend? Where once there were Easter Island heads (called moai) placed in or near Stonehenge replicas, will there now be representations of US President Barack Obama?? Stay tuned. We’ll be monitoring this for you around the clock!

At any rate, having a look at the Stonehenge itself, we see that although the entrance trilithon is much too wide, the stones are realistic, and it appears that the three lintel stretch of the outer circle may have been included. This looks to be an exceptionally good replica as far as it goes—true, no bluestones or inner trilithon horseshoe—but capturing the general shapes and look of the old stones as they have counts for a lot. And as you all know, we have a weakness for the sheer ridiculousness of the druid connection, not to mention a cardboard cutout of, well, anyone, really. That’s new in henging.

Score: 8 druids! We still question whether it is actually larger than the original, but why quibble? The real question is, where is it now?? Was it sold, stored, shipped to the White House? True, probably not, but just think how it would look on the lawn there! Come to think of it, Buckingham Palace could use a Stonehenge… How about Red Square? And who built this? Are they building more? Inquiring minds want to know.

Before we go, the mention of moai reminded us of a crucial but unrelated issue to chew over. How many of you use or have used emoji? You know, those little pictures 🍯 🚀🎩 that people pepper their online conversations with? We have discovered an abominable fact: Apple’s, and perhaps every company’s, emoji include an Easter Island head 🗿, but do not include any kind of Stonehenge image!!! Who makes these choices? We mean, does that seem right to you?? More importantly, how can we get it fixed? Your advice is welcome!

And people say we don’t address important issues on our blog! This is one that’s worth marching in the streets for. But until then, or until the next time, gentle readers, happy henging! 👽

*Thought: wouldn’t the Cursus actually work better for racing?

 

Sweet EH Stonehenge: A Perfect Gift!

Stonehenge of chocolate trilithons by @SchPrehistory

Stonehenge of chocolate trilithons by @SchPrehistory

We heard all about that powerful, world famous person going to Stonehenge today, no doubt in search of ancient wisdom. All we want to know is: did he get any chocolate trilithons or other little Stonehenge replicas to take home as gifts? In other words, IS THERE A STONEHENGE REPLICA IN THE WHITE HOUSE???

Is that so much to ask?

Our thanks to Schools Prehistory, @SchPrehistory , for the above henge, made from chocolate trilithons bought at the English Heritage gift shop at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre, and for the photo!

Until next time, happy henging—and we mean you, Malia and Sasha!

P. S.: We have since learned that he didn’t go into the shop at all. *SOB*

P. P. S.: It has been pointed out that the original title to this post could be taken in a different way than was EVER intended, so it has been changed. It has been further pointed out that we got one of the girls’ names wrong. Our apologies. Posting quickly is obviously not our forte. We will return to our glacier-slow method of doing posts in the future!

[BTW, here is the official White House video of the Stonehenge visit. Regardless of what you think of this man, he seems to have a feel for the stones.]

Stonehenge and Littlest Pet Shop, a Match Made in…the Oven!

Littlest Pet Shop/Stonehenge cake, photo used with permission

Littlest Pet Shop/Stonehenge cake, photo used with permission

Stonehenge replicas? You must be weary of us bleating on about them. We’ve decided that for the next few posts we will talk about other, more widely varied things, like a children’s show called Littlest Pet Shop, some handmade glass marbles, the game of crazy golf, and a housing complex in the States, then maybe even a festival dedicated to old time car racing. That should get us out of our rut!

EXCEPT—there’s something that all of those things have in common. What could it possibly be? Hmmm… *drums fingers against head* Oh. Right—the picture at the top may already have given it away: STONEHENGE REPLICAS!!!! Surprise! We’ll bet you weren’t expecting that. Heh.

Yes, people of all gender identities, please observe the picture above. Behold the cake that is a mash-up of the children’s show Littlest Pet Shop and the millennias-old Stonehenge monument! A kawaii cakehenge. Who would do such a thing, you ask? The Ebola virus? A member of Parliament? Kim Jung Un?

No, it was made by a lovely lady called Alycia Maltby, who then posted a picture of it on the Clonehenge Facebook group (as all hengers should. It’s the law, you know.), seemingly with no fear of reprisal! She had two birthdays in her family, her father’s and her niece’s, and she decided to please them both with just one cake. We’re going to assume her niece is a Stonehenge fan, and her father watches Littlest Pet Shop religiously, but we could be wrong.

We confess we have, in the past, suggested the possibility of a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Stonehenge. This is not so far off from that. At first glance, we admit, we thought we glimpsed good old Twilight Sparkle. But this is even more remarkable for being original, and being a cake!

Score: 6 druids! When we started the Clonehenge blog many years ago, it wasn’t because of beautiful Stonehenge models rendered so truly to the real monument that it took our breath away. No, it was the result of having seen a Vienna sausage henge and then a cheese puff henge, and thinking, “All of humanity should see this!!!” (We think with a lot of exclamation  points, okay? Neuro-punctuation experts are even now researching how to extract them.)

To this day we continue to award extra druids for being in the spirit of Clonehenge, and in this case, that more than makes up for the odd, leaning, partial Stonehenge we see before us. Cakes are only so big, after all. All of the work is beautifully done and the flowers and butterflies are, shall we say, the icing on the—er—rather, the cherry on top.

Our thanks to Alycia Maltby, her niece, and her father. May this inspire more, similarly wacky, people!

Don’t forget—we suggested the Godzilla/Hello Kitty mash-up a long time ago, and it’s still up for grabs!

Until next time, friends, happy henging!

The Eternal and the Momentary—the Trilithon Fountain of Lanjaron, Spain!

trilithon fountain,  photo from the Lanjaron website

trilithon fountain, photo from the Lanjaron website

There are a few Stonehenge-like sculptures and fountains scattered around the cities of the world, but we hadn’t heard of this one until Mr. Dean Travchav Phillips posted it in the Clonehenge Facebook group. Nice find, we must say! Happily, this brings us to 80 large permanent replicas, and you know what that means, right? It means you live on a planet with an incredible number of Stonehenge-obsessed maniacs! What could be more fun??

We know little about this fountain except that it’s in the center square of Lanjaron in southern Spain, and the name of the sculptor is Ramiro Megías. There is a page about the inauguration of the sculpture/fountain here. Its title is something like Living Fountain, or Fountain of Life, and it is meant to bring together the timelessness of the stone with the moving waters and figures of children, along with the old couple who seem to exemplify lasting love. See a photo from another angle here.

The timeless and the momentary—that’s what we’re all about here at the Clonehenge blog: the timelessness of Stonehenge and the fleeting moment of enjoying that Stonehenge cake; the eternity it takes us to get around to doing a new post and the seconds it takes you to read it and forget it. It’s the balance of life.

Trilithons in a way represent balance, the two sides supporting the lintel evenly to create a structure that has an impact greater than its parts. Maybe that’s part of why people all over the world build Stonehenge replicas. We have records of large permanent Stonehenge replicas on every continent. Wherever modern man goes, Stonehenges follow. It’s a strange phenomenon. Someone should write about it!

We did discover one distressing thing, however. We were looking at available emoji for our iPad keyboard and what did we discover but—AN EASTER ISLAND HEAD!!! No Stonehenge emoji, but they have an Easter Island head (aka moai)? Who ARE these people? We have to find some way to demonstrate that Stonehenge replicas are way more prevalent around the world and in the human psyche than moai. And also get a Stonehenge emoji added to the lexicon, so to speak. Whom do we contact? This needs to happen, and soon!

Luckily, we never lose our focus and wander off topic.

So, until next time, then, henge nerds, happy henging!  (And hang onto your henging hats—because some unprecedented and really fun henging news could be in the offing, taking henging to a whole new level! Stay tuned.)

Now You Can Live Near Stonehenge—in China!

Stonehenge replica at Hefei, China  (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

Stonehenge replica at Hefei, China (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

This is a new (to us) large permanent replica: number 79 for our list! We thank Hengefinder Extraordinaire Pete Glastonbury for finding it for us—and it’s a good one! This remarkable replica is in the Chinese town of Hefei, associated with a housing development. Hey, who wouldn’t want to live there???

Hefei Stonehenge with high rise backdrop (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

Hefei Stonehenge with high rise backdrop (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

We have posted Chinese replicas in the past, small ones in those parks that are so popular there, with replicas of famous buildings from all over the world. They tend to be unusually well done, sometimes actually resembling Stonehenge itself, something that, oddly, is not that common among Stonehenge replicas.But this has them all beat. If only we knew who designed it, who built it, whose idea it was in the first place, whether it aligns with the sun’s movements, and what it’s made of. But no.

So this is brief. Score: 8 druids! Very well done! The sheer variety of Stonehenge replicas and reasons to build them continues to amaze us. Oh, the humanity! What even are we? Is Stonehenge building the true meaning of life? [hint: But, of course!]

Until next time, friends (and it may not be so long this time), happy henging!

Our 400th Post: No Stonehenge, No Replica. It’s the Modern Long Barrow at All Cannings!

Artist's impression of what the finished Long Barrow will look like, (c) Peter Dunn

Artist’s impression of what the finished Long Barrow will look like, (c) Peter Dunn

Despite the fact that we have in effect left this blog on its own like a kitten at a rubbish tip (or dump, if you prefer), it has somehow matured to the ripe age of four hundred posts. To celebrate all of those magnificent and ridiculous Stonehenge replicas, what have we chosen to feature? A new Sconehenge? The long-awaited Space Station replica? (we wish!), a Stonehenge replica owned by Angelina Jolie or Justin Bieber? (please, no!)? Absolutely not. Instead we are featuring something that not only is not at all a Stonehenge, but is also not actually a replica. BECAUSE IT’S OUR BLOG AND WE CAN DO WHAT WE WANT!!!

And what is this delicious non-henge confection we are serving up to you today? It is the remarkable and brand new Long Barrow at All Cannings. Its website says:

Inside the longbarrow at All Cannings

Inside the Long Barrow at All Cannings, photo by Joby R. J. Wheatley

The Long Barrow at All Cannings is a columbarium or place for cremated remains in urns to be kept. It is being built in 2014 in the style of a traditional long barrow in natural materials, but made relevant for today in its internal layout. It is aligned to the sunrise of the winter solstice when the sun will illuminate the internal stone passageway.” Yep, you still gotta have that sunrise alignment!

To help us tell you about the long barrow, we have pretended to be responsible journalists/bloggers and interviewed the man behind the barrow, the increasingly famous Tim Daw, writer of the Stonehenge-related blog Sarsen.org. (If you’re a Stonehenge fan, it should already be on your blogroll!) Mr. Tim Daw is a staff member at Stonehenge for English Heritage, and owner of Cannings Cross farms. We’re told he is rather handsome, although of course we wouldn’t know, since we personally are attracted only to Stonehenge and its replicas*.

Clonehenge: What made you decide to build the long barrow? Was there a moment of inspiration, or was this in the back of your mind for a long time?

Tim DawIt was a moment of inspiration that brought together various long cogitated thoughts; it would be nice to build a barrow for myself, lots of people need a place for cremated urns that is a bit special and has a spiritual quality which is hard to find elsewhere, somewhere to revisit and remember;  WOW! this is a great spot.

Clonehenge: How would you say your long term knowledge of Stonehenge and the nearby landscape of Wiltshire’s distant past affected your inspiration and decisions about the long barrow, its purpose and construction?

Tim Daw: I think it made me want to make it authentic and real but not a copy or pastiche. Using ancient techniques but not bound by play acting reconstruction. And making it worthy to be alongside the other monuments in the area.

The barrow during construction, photo by Paul Robinson

The barrow during construction, photo by Paul Robinson

And therein, we think, lies the secret of the fine quality of this barrow. If you have been reading the Clonehenge blog from the beginning (We know you haven’t, but please just play along?), you have heard us talk about the sacred landscapes in Wiltshire, not only Stonehenge, Avebury, and Silbury hill, but cursuses (cursi?), long barrows, round barrows, avenues, and more.

Mr. Daw has been taking this in, dwelling in the midst of it, his whole life, developing a deep respect for the history and the land itself. That relationship reveals itself in the understated excellence of the design and his choice to pay for the finest quality stone work. The barrow is not only a folly and a place to deposit a loved one’s ashes with reverence and permanence. It is, in the best sense, also his gesture to that sacred and legended land that surrounds it and perhaps to those who once did and those who still do revere it.

But hey, what do we know? We’re a humourous blog, much more suited to embarrassingly-shaped vegetables than to that sort of talk! We’re running out of time, so to make a long story short, we say: this is your chance: £1000 pounds to be your own barrow wight seems like a bargain to us! And what if that ancient theory about the solstice sun when it enters the barrow bringing the dead to life turns out to be true? That’s more than your money’s worth, right there.

Sure, this isn’t a Stonehenge replica, but to us it points up the things that make most Stonehenge replicas ridiculous. Stonehenge is an ancient monument which is a unique part of humanity’s deep history, placed in a landscape that still resonates with the reverence of many thousands of years of inhabitants, some of  whose descendants still live there today. No Stonehenge replica, from two upright carrot sticks with a cross carrot on top, to the most carefully accurate full-sized replica, can approach that essence of what Stonehenge is.

But in All Cannings there will now be a long barrow of modern construction that, while it is not a Stonehenge replica in any other sense, may have captured a whiff of the ineffable weight and meaning of Stonehenge both on the land of which it is a part and in the psyches of those for whom Stonehenge and its ancient companions have become an obsession.

Whoever THEY are.

And until next time, friends, happy henging!

*We say things like this because Clonehenge is supposed to be a humourous blog. The truth is, we are, of course, attracted to megaliths of all kinds.

P. S: We did ask Mr. Daw if he was planning to add some Easter Island heads to the property later. He said no, but he might add some gibbets in preparation for The Glorious Day….