Mosaic Fruit Jelly Stonehenge: Celebrating Our 200th Post!

stone-hengephoto by Paula of The Cookie Shop, with permission

Doesn’t this look like a party? Today we celebrate our 200th post on Clonehenge and our biggest month ever, stat-wise, with this colourful and yummy-looking Stonehenge all the way from Brazil. If we could we would send out a dessert like this to everyone who has supported us, contributed to the blog, or just read it over the last 9 months. Many thanks to all!

We’re not sure what possessed Paula to rebuild Stonehenge with the leftovers of her candy, but she created a neat little beginner’s henge, a circle of trilithons with a couple of fallen uprights. Nothing in the form that we haven’t seen before, but it just goes to show that the mysterious force that makes people build Stonehenge replicas hasn’t waned since this blog began. We encourage playing with your food!

And, yes, we’re back in South America. This is our first Portuguese-speaking henge. Doesn’t it seem like people are more colourful in Brazil? It must be that yerba maté they drink. Score: 6½ druids. Thank you for helping us celebrate! Many happy returns to us all.

Gunma Observatory: Japanese Stonehenge

japanese replica 4photo by Hatsuki NISHIO, with permission

Imagine our chagrin upon visiting The Megalithic Portal to find a replica we’d never heard of gracing its news page! We’d always suspected that Japan must have at least one large permanent replica, but searching in Japanese presented a problem. Well, now we have a Stonehenge from the Land of the Rising Sun, and Mr. Hatsuki Nishio tells us it is not the only one! (How we longed use the title  Samurai Stonehenge! Doesn’t it have a ring to it?)

Gunma Observatory (A Google Translate version of their website can be seen here. We’re thinking the word lithograph in the second part there should be megalith.) appears to be a real observatory with a teaching and a tourist function. It is located near the village of Nakayama in Honshu, Japan.

japanese replica 3The replica itself is interesting, as astronomy-oriented ones often are. The bluestones are missing, and the uprights around the outside vary greatly in width, being very narrow and close together in some sections of the circle, as you can see above, while others are more similar in proportion to those in the original. The curve of the lintels in the inner trilithons is also noteworthy.

Still, we like this replica and its placement at the top of a hill with a view. It doesn’t have the mystical atmosphere thing going for it, but it does say interesting things. As we’ve said before, each replica tells you something about whoever built it–what they see and what they deem worthy of reproducing from the original. Astronomers tend to see a clean, balanced construction meant only to be an observatory when they see Stonehenge.

Score: 8 druids. In this business, size matters. For a look at a different style of Japanese replica, made to be part of a cemetery, scroll down this page.  Not sure when we’ll have the photos we need to do a post on it, but when we do, you’ll be the first to know. Until then, 今はさようなら。 !

Help Build a Stonehenge Replica – in a day!

Clonehengers, awake! We urge any of you within travel distance of Devizes to be at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum on Sunday (August 30, 2009) at 11:00 a.m., to help Mr. Julian Richards build a replica of Stonehenge with cardboard and wallpaper as materials. Julian Richards, as you may know, is a radio and television presenter best known for his work on the programme Meet the Ancestors, and is a Stonehenge expert.

The Museum notice is here and you can see an online article here. To quote the article, “Ali Rushent, education officer at Wiltshire Heritage Museum, said: ‘Julian hopes as many people as possible will turn up and give him a hand with this project.

‘The Stonehenge model could be quite a size. The tallest monolith is expected to be more than two metres high. The model is likely to fill the whole car park at the museum.’

Need we say more? If we could manage it, we would fly over from the States in order to be there. We have heard a rumour that Mr. Pete Glastonbury himself may be there, so perhaps we will have photos. But don’t think that lets you off the hook! We want to see your photos, too.

So be there or be . . . sort of circular with  a horse shoe shape inside. Remember, if you mention Clonehenge you get in free! ;-D

Field of the Rat: Modern Megaliths of Spain

lewoskyphoto by Jacobo Fraga, aka Lewosky

This monument was made for a very serious purpose: to memorialise the victims of pro-Franco repression, particularly those who died in terrible incidents in the area. Outside the  Galician city of A Coruna is an area called Campo de la Rata, or Field of the Rat, where this and another modern megalithic monument* are located. This one was designed by the artist Isaac Díaz Pardo.

Galicia is the Celtic province of Spain, and that may explain the tendency toward megaliths in these memorials, the myth of the Celtic culture being the megalith builders being very persistent. An inscription says, roughly, “Martyred in these fields before the murky sea for loving just causes.” It seems to be playing on that same idea of sacrifice at Stonehenge as at the Maryhill, Washington State replica.

This photo seems to capture some of the tragic meaning and haunting memory of the monument. Nice work, Sr. Fraga!

How can we make a funny? Here we see the Stonehenge idea used well, to give gravitas to a piece of land that will forever commemorate the sad loss of life. Red paint, like blood, is streaked on some of the stones, and it almost as if those great stones represent the individuals who were tortured and put to death here.

Score: 7½ druids. No, it’s not a circle, and you can see here and here that the form is even more unusual than it looks above, but this sculpture, set on a spit of land that reaches out into the sea, captures a poignancy and a weight that brings it closer to the spirit of the original than one would expect. Beautiful!

*The other monument, Menhires por la Paz, a group of modern standing stones with a rectangular window in each one, can be seen here.

Stonehenge Railway: A Case of Lost History

Circlea 3photo by Vin Callcut, with permission

(Warning: This post judged not suitable for irony-free zones.)

All right thinking people should be deeply grateful to Mr. Vin Callcut for unearthing the hitherto unknown story of the pre-Roman Stonehenge narrow gauge railway! How this important construction of the past eluded all serious historians until now is difficult to understand, but leave it to Clonehenge to be one of the first to get out the word. Come to us for all late-breaking Stonehenge news!

This startling revelation requires us to re-evaluate all we thought we knew about ancient Britain. That a Greek physicist came to Britain with Phoenician traders and built this brilliant amusement ride for Bronze Age Brits on holiday puts the lie to all those claims of the hard lives of our ancestors. Look at them–Newsflash: they were having just as good a time as we do! Heh. For the full story, see the Stonehenge Railway page [link]. This may be the best thing since Tamponhenge!

Sadly, the Romans came and, offended by the idea of a non-standard gauge, destroyed the railway as thoroughly as they did Carthage, rendering its existence virtually undetectable. Now you can see a replica for the first time, thanks to Vin Callcut, who built this model in a suitcase for easy travel. The size limits of the suitcase made it impossible to include all outlying stones and holes, but notice that the bluestones, the altar stone and possibly the heelstone (see photos on the page linked above), still standing in this model, are included.

Score: We’re looking at an 8 druid replica here, people! Just amazing. There is just one sad note to be added. Mr. Callcut sold this model to someone who had a hobby shop in Austin, Texas and has heard nothing of it since. He (and we) would love to know if it is still on display. If there are any readers in or near Austin, could you look into this for us? Stonehenge Railway, phone home!

[Note for those of you who work for English Heritage: it's not too late to rebuild Stonehenge and put that railway on top once more. Think of the tourist revenues. Americans would love it!]

The Colour of Magic; Virgin Sacrifice Gone Awry!

COM clonehenge 3from Youtube

We have long thought that if there is a Heaven (and we could get into it), it must consist of new, unread Discworld books, and friendly people who like to discuss them as much as we do.  Discworld author Terry Pratchett has given us many hours of happiness, and we were bowled over to find, upon renting the Discworld movie The Colo(u)r of Magic last week, that it includes a Stonehenge replica.

On the Discworld, stone circles are the computers and druids are the IT specialists and hardware consultants. (Yes, there is a Discworld and Pratchett Wiki. Get over it.) Here’s a druid line from The Light Fantastic: “They’re having trouble with the big circles up on the Vortex Plains. So they say, anyway; I wished I had a bronze torc for every user who didn’t read the manual.

In the scene above, Twoflower, the Discworld’s first tourist, is intervening in a druid ritual, for although he appreciates its ethnic charm and primitive simplicity, he objects to the actual killing of the virgin . . . The druids aren’t thrilled to have him interfere, and the plot carries on from there.

Silly stuff, definitely, but as always Pratchett uses silly stuff to address serious issues sideways and to lampoon cliches and human foibles. Score for this replica: 6 druids. [Later correction by one P.G.: 7 Wizzards and an ArchChancellor] It’s just some trilithons, but one of those  druids is awarded for the gentle jab at society’s  romanticising of the henge builders and users. But without all that romanticising there wouldn’t be so many replicas, now, would there? And then where would we be?

Candy Corn Henge: Our Sweet Tooth Acting Up Again

candy corn hengephoto by erne the ferle, with permission

As if you needed proof that we aren’t the best at what we do, now we’re posting a photo that good bloggers would set aside and post at Halloween. Nine or ten weeks from now, a classic trick-or-treat candy henge would be just the thing to post. To be honest, we did consider waiting. But then we thought, what if we never get to? Things happen–the world could end or else we could die, even before we finish this post! Life is so uncertain!

Ahem. Not only that, but we were running low on things to post and we did have this on hand . . .  All that aside, here’s another candy henge, made mostly of sugar and corn syrup and honey and food colouring. We like the touch of leaving some uprights un-linteled. Even without fallen stones, it gives that desired ruined flavour to the photo, helped out by the red Salisbury plain.

candy_corn_dancing_lg_whtIf you had asked us, we would not have guessed that candy corn would stand up like that. The ones without legs, we mean. We know the others can stand up–and even dance!

Score: 5½ druids. We’re getting soft in our old age. But look–we are nearly finished the post and we’re still alive after all. Sweet!

Stonehenge en la Playa: the Last Continent Obtained!

argentina 11photos by McConnell Franklin, with permission

Okay, folks. *rubs hands enthusiastically* A milestone! Those faithful readers who have been following the blog since early on (bless your hearts) know that we have two goals. One is to find a replica on every continent, and the other is to get astronauts to build one on the International Space Station. Well, today we are posting a Stonehenge replica from Argentina, in South America (hopefully you knew that but we’re not taking any chances), the last continent left unhenged. Congratulations to us!

This Stonehenge in the sand was built by McConnell Franklin and girlfriend Victoria this past spring on the beach by Lago Lacar, a lake at the base of the Andes Mountains in Argentina. He writes, “The water was a bit cool for swimming, so we ended up building a huge castle (complete with tables and chairs, a moat, paths, a fence, bridges, an archway, a drip forest, and a fountain) all out of parts that we found on the beach/in the water. . . We decided at some point that the picnic area would not be complete without a StoneHenge replica, so we spent quite a bit of time scouring the area for enough properly-sized red rocks and built the mini Henge.

argentina 41The castle is an interesting construction. You can see all of it here. We couldn’t help but notice what could be burial mounds near the replica. But we may be misinterpreting. We have ancient sites on the brain. Note the photo series covers the collapse of the henge as waters encroached.

Okay, this is just three trilithons, but that’s better than many replicas we’ve posted. Score: 6 druids. Why not? It’s opened up a whole new continent. Clonehenge conquers the world! On to space, our final frontier!

West Kennet Long Barrow

WKLB 2photo by Pete Glastonbury, with permission

In keeping with our twin missions of fun and information, we interrupt our regular programming for a public service announcement. WKLB stands for West Kennet Long Barrow. A barrow is “a large mound of earth or stones over the remains of the dead” according to Miriam Webster. And a long barrow is–long. This one is a chambered barrow, meaning there were chambers within it back when it was built about 5500 years ago (well before Stonehenge, we should note). They left bones there.

WKLB is part of the Avebury/Silbury landscape and Silbury Hill is visible from here. No one is sure why Wiltshire was blessed with such a constellation of sites. Not fair–they get most of the crop circles, too! Maybe it’s just a place for people with a  great deal of time on their hands. Mr. Terry Pratchett lives there and look at all the books he’s had time to write! Wait–that’s it! Time is different in Wiltshire. An hour there is like three of our hours, so people get more done. We need to move there!

Apparently this also gives people time to make models like those we’ve shown before and the one you see above. This is a cut-away. A photo of the barrow from above can be seen here. Atmospheric photos of the impressive megalithic façade can be seen here and here. The white in the model is the chalk that makes up the landscape of the Wiltshire downs. The mound as it appears now is a rebuild by Stuart Piggott. Before that, it looked like this:

WestKennet

This model can be seen in the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes. And, no, we don’t get a kickback from them or from Pete Glastonbury. We just like them. We are not above taking kickbacks if they’re offered, but they would have to be from someone who actually had something to kick back with.

No score for this model–it’s not a henge by any definition. But a word about WKLB–we’ve been there. It is awesome–the old meaning of awesome, the kind that stirs your soul and just may slow down time.

[Guest score from Pete G. : 8 archaeologists]

Ogopogo Henge, British Columbia: Built by a Lake Monster?

samhain112photo by Juniper, with permission; henge by ???

Alert reader and now contributor Juniper left us this comment: “I have a pic for you of a replica Seahenge I came across walking along the beach of lake Okanagan, British Columbia (I should mention that this lake has a famous lake monster, the Ogopogo) It must have been made during Halloween as I found it it the day after. And I was walking with a real life Druid at the time!

There is a lot for us to consider here. We avoided the whole “What is Seahenge?” thing by making the word a link in the quotation above. So now we just have Lake Okanagan, this Druid, and, best of all, the Ogopogo. Let’s look at this situation.

“Innocent” hedgewitch Juniper is walking along the shores of Okanagan Lake, known for its lake monster. It just happens to be All Saints’ Day and she happens to be with a “druid” and what do they find? This strange construction that seems to refer to both Seahenge and Stonehenge (note the lame attempts at lintels). We find this very suspicious. Come clean with us, Juniper!

We know about witches and how they consort with demons–and how Halloween night opens a door between the worlds. We suspect that Juniper, her druid and Ogopogo, Demon of the Deep, performed dark rituals around this circle of tree corpse parts that night. There were sinister doings in the land of the Okanagan Salish and who knows what strange forces were set into motion . . .

Or–possibly not. Heh.  It’s just that we would love to see lake monsters implicated in the building of henge replicas. Think of the publicity! At any rate, we want to thank Juniper for the kind mention of Clonehenge on her blog. And we would like her to consider changing from a hedgewitch to a hengewitch. Why not? It only takes one to get a movement started.

Score: 4 ½ druids. Or 6 Nessies!