GoStonehengeTour: Kickstarting the Dream of the Mobile Foamhenge!

from the Stonehenge: the American Tour Facebook page

This is a blog dedicated to the idea of the Stonehenge replica and its endless variations, not because we think Stonehenge replicas are a good idea–if that were true, this would be a serious blog–but on the contrary because we think the whole idea is by its very nature ridiculous and in some hard-to-define way, unrelentingly humourous.* People just can’t help themselves!

That said, there is, of course, nothing funny about an exact replica of Stonehenge made of foam being loaded onto an eighteen-wheeler and carted around North America so people can experience Stonehenge without having to meet any English people or accidentally photograph sheep. Well, we’re glad you don’t find it funny, because an enterprising group of students from Tallahassee has created a Kickstarter–an internet method of generating contributions from small but interesting projects–to do exactly that. Here is part of the pitch on their Kickstarter page:

A monument of such amazing wonder and beauty should be seen by as many people as possible, don’t you think? However, visiting Stonehenge is much harder than it seems, and only a limited number of people WORLDWIDE see it each year, and even then, only a fraction of those people purchase the special access pass which is required to let them walk among the stones. Imagine all the hassle that goes into seeing this epic monument. Now, imagine just having to travel to a museum near you to walk amongst its legendary beauty.

Nothing humourous there! Americans will be able to travel a short distance, walk among the foam stones, experience 4000 years of history, and not handle any of that funny money! Where they are getting the 4000-year-old foam, we are not certain, but there is still time for the details to be ironed out.

Another page announces: “We are planning five festivals to celebrate the exhibit, each one will involve several days of celebration, with camping, eating, music, art exhibits, dancing, all night fires, staged pagan rituals, and the whole druid party thing.” Splendid.

We were, of course, bemused to see their statement that it would be the “first life-size replica”. Hello, have we met?** It is remarkable how often we see this claim, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, and no doubt whoever is doing the Clonehenge blog hundreds of years from now (bless their semi-organic hearts) will see the same thing–no one ever checks first! The claim that it will be the world’s most accurate replica, however, is welcome. Make it so!

Stonehenge: the American Tour, GoStonehengeTour, and one or two other names are used, but they are all the same project. Visit their Facebook page! Pledge money! Make this a reality, gentle hengeophiles! A pledge to this Kickstarter is a vote for Stonehenge, or a vote for absurdity. Either way, we all win!

[We will not even attempt to address the motto: “If we build it, will you come?”]

In the past year, we have seen a Stonehenge replica built of recycled stones in Australia, a guerilla replica, for which a man was arrested, built in Ireland, a full-sized inflatable Stonehenge touring the UK, a group formed to build henges, more than one wonderful cakehenge, and numerous others of various natures. What next? Only the Stonehenge brain virus knows for sure! Stay tuned, and happy henging!

* Unlike our posts.

** Maryhill, Washington’s replica springs to mind, as well as the one in Montana, Esperance Australia’s replica, and the remarkable but now defunct BBC Foamhenge. There may be others on the List of Permanent Replicas.

Rock and Roll and the Henge Fixation–Polystyrene Version!

Paul Archer and his “clonehenge”

It didn’t start with This is Spinal Tap. Rock and roll latched onto Stonehenge early on. Let’s face it–the bluestones even come from the Preseli Hills! The Elvis connection!!! In the movie Help, Stonehenge is in the background of one scene. And check out this terrible Stonehenge replica built for the Rolling Stones:

“A Stonehenge setting for pop group The Rolling Stones …”

Oh, LOL, as they used to say in the previous century! That thing wouldn’t get a good score on this blog. It does already have its own druid, though–good setting for Keith Richards! But it illustrates the point that Spinal Tap was an extension, not an initiation of the Stonehenge/rock music connection.

Enter Paul Archer and The Saints of British Rock. We have to admit that we are not certain who the Saints of British Rock are or where they originated–the States, Canada, or the UK. But the salient point here is that Mister Paul Archer, prop-maker to the stars, made a brilliant polystyrene (aka styrofoam) Stonehenge replica for their coming tour. The nice thing about polystyrene is that it is bound to last longer than the original! The article linked to here throws in the phrase “Affectionately called ‘clonehenge’ ” Haha! What a great pun!!!

They make the rock pun, too. What fun when you write about a Stonehenge replica for your first time! Oh, WTF, just for old time’s sake, why don’t we go there? The Saints have chosen well–rock doesn’t get any more British than Stonehenge! Harharhar…. Sigh. Not as funny as we hoped,

We are impressed with this replica. It is not a ful replica, but the parts he chose to do he did well. The stones are so well shaped thatone might be able to figure out what number stone each one is. (Yes, the stones of Stonehenge, like your days, are numbered.) Score:  7 druids! It should only be 6½, but rock and roll makes us all nostalgic.

Take note–this replica was made in Victoria British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest again. There must be Stonehenge mycelium in the ground there. Henges pop up like mushrooms!

Hello to any bicycle people who have dropped by! We knew you were here by the sound of your gears popping. And to the rest of our Gentle Readers, thanks for visiting, and happy henging!

PS: Was it just us who were disappointed when we weren’t asked to participate in the Queen’s Jubilee?? Yes?  An inexplicable oversight. They shouldn’t be surprised if some guerilla henges start to appear around the palace when they least expect it. They have been warned!

Packing Foamhenge: A Mini Tour de Force

foamhengehenge and photos by Drew at thinkythings.org, used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License

We look at a lot of websites while doing this blog. Many times we get distracted and spend way too much time looking at non-henge-related pages. But never have we seen a site that so sweetly reveals a quirky and interesting mind the way thinkythings.org does. He discusses an odd assemblage of topics, from a 1940s woodpecker toothpick dispenser to what phrases you can make with a set of children’s alphabet blocks (warning–R-rated!) to (our favourite!) common or famous first names that are also verbs (with categories for variations you end up thinking of if you try listing them yourself), and many other odd things that somehow elicit a smile.

This is the kind of stuff we hope for from the internet, brilliant things arising not from the drive for money, but from the sheer quirkiness we each possess. (Don’t get us wrong–we’re not averse to money. Clonehenge remains nonprofit, like some people who remain virgins, not out of virtue but because of a dearth of interested petitioners!) One of topics that this unusual and prehensile mind touches on is the topic of Stonehenge, Stonehenge made with eco-foam, a material used for packing peanuts that will dissolve in water and disappear, hence “eco“.

In Drew’s words, “In 1994, a small team of software engineers at a consulting company in Cleveland, Ohio discovered that Eco-Foam does not dissolve when it is only slightly dampened. The part of the foam that comes in contact with the moisture becomes tacky, and this property can be used to stick Eco-Foam peanuts together or to other objects. The natural consequence of this discovery was to build a scale model of Stonehenge.

Of course, he endeared himself to us in the first paragraph where he asserts that “if the Druids worshiped at Stonehenge, it was without knowledge of the site’s origins or purpose, for Stonehenge was completed 1500 years before the Celts arrived in Britain.” Hurray! It could only be better if he explained about the Beaker people. As if this weren’t enough, it is obvious from the photos, especially those from above the model, that the builders looked very closely at detailed layouts of Stonehenge. (Here is an aerial view for comparison.) This model is brilliantly made and of an unexpected material. Cha-ching!

ob2-2Score: 7 druids! That’s high for a small henge, but this fellow even makes a point on his Odd Things page of giving the true definition of the word henge. You can’t beat that with a stick! As they say. Whatever that means.

Thank you, Mr. Drew, whoever you are. You serve as a model for those who aspire to make a better henge. And a better blog.

Craig’s List Foamhenge–Keeping Austin Weird

styrofoam SH3Photo copyright, Joseph R. Jarrett September 11, 2009 “Foamhenge – Austin, Texas”

An advertisement on Craig’s List in Austin yesterday read, “Stonehenge in Austin!!!! Large blocks of boat dock Styrofoam ready for creation of the New Druid sanctuary. OR you could saw it into 3.5″ slices and use it to insulate your garage wall like I did.”and later, “Free at the Curb [address removed] Disturbing the High Council with electronic wizardry signals or rapping upon the Great Hall Door will bring Great Shame to you and your Steeds!!! Gollum and the Castle Hounds will be pissed too!!! :)~  Oh, some garden hose is there too.

It was accompanied by the photo above. Since then, we are informed, someone picked up the styrofoam to use as a waterfall. (Not sure how that works, but whatever.) The henger and photographer tells us, “I made this “Foamhenge” to summon the forces of the Druids to influence the global economy. I also used sections of these blocks to insulate my 1951 garage as a way to promote recycle and re-use.. . . Mostly, I am cleaning up my yard!!!!

Well, we say if you’re cleaning up your place anyway, why not petition the Old Gods while you do it? It can’t do any harm and who knows–it might help. We’re kind of sorry we never see temporary styrofoam Stonehenges when we drive through our nearby suburban areas. But then we don’t have the motto this city does: “Keep Austin Weird!” Looks like Mr. Jarrett is just doing his part!

Do we score this ephemeral offering? No–for one thing we can’t tell if those are trilithons or just blocks with hats. And why ruin a fun thing with a score that to be fair would have to be low? Any druids have already dispersed. Let’s just enjoy it for what it was!

Nunica Henge, Michigan

nunica-snow

photo by Daniel E. Johnson, with permission

First we must say many thanks to Daniel E. Johnson for service above and beyond the call of duty, for acquiring this lovely snow picture of the Nunica Michigan henge after we asked if he had one. His other pictures of this henge can be seen here.

This Stonehenge replica is on the private property of Fred and Pam Levin, but can be seen from the road. Here we see a case (finally?) where the builders were actually motivated to build their replica by an interest in sacred sites. They also have a labyrinth and a medicine wheel. A nice little write-up about it can be seen ¾ of the way down this page.

For a foam and stucco copy, this structure has a very nice look, avoiding the packing-peanut look of Virginia’s foamhenge and somehow capturing an essence often missed in these things, perhaps because the sense of the sacred was their goal. Of course some of it may be Mr. Johnson’s knack at photography. As you can tell, we’re impressed! Score: 8½ druids for the Levins’ excellent effort!

Foamhenge II: Meet Virginia

foamhenge-virginia2

photo by 100wordminimum, with permission

A classic American Stonehenge replica, Foamhenge in Natural Bridge, Virginia was built by Mark Cline, an appealingly nutty artist (note that these things are generally built not by mystics or druids, but by artists, engineers and scientists), intentionally as a tourist attraction. A Renaissance festival called The Enchantment Faire at Foamhenge is held here once a year, although not at solstice.

This replica is full-sized and Cline made an effort to copy individual stone shapes from Stonehenge.  Still, something seems to be missing. We don’t hear tones of awe in its descriptions as with some of the stone henges.

For the curious, see the plaque at the monument here, and a nice dawn photo here. We chose the picture above, which captures the sense we get from some pictures of Stonehenge, a sense of the stones as great old beings huddled together to discuss deep and timeless secrets. At Foamhenge, though, whatever they’re discussing, we know it’s nothing heavy! Score: 6½ druids for the big henge and we would love to get a better look at that mini-Foamhenge in the Mark Cline link above!

Also, at this Smithsonian link, scroll down and click on the video with the flaghenge for some information and a short interview with Mark Cline about his creation. Fun!

Polystyrene Henge and the Topic of Henge Addiction

foam-henge

model and photo by Sarah Denton of the Matchstick Henge Facebook Group

The term is henge addiction, that rare and possibly fatal need to make henges from anything, all the time. The support group for it on Facebook is Matchstick Henge, and while for now its numbers are low, they are bound to increase as awareness reaches the general public.

Of course at Clonehenge we advise caution and we hope people will examine closely the question of whether this is a lifestyle choice or something genetic, born into one’s very nature.  As you can see above, the syndrome can result in some admirable henges, in this case made at home with just a cutting utensil, some polystyrene or styrofoam, glue, matchsticks, paint and cardboard.

Bravo, Sarah, for making something good from life’s challenges! Perhaps we shouldn’t be framing this as a disease to be cured but as a condition which, if handled correctly, could be a boon for all mankind.

Score: 7 druids for this crafty henge. We hope the glue fumes have cleared away by now, Sarah!

Foamhenge, the U.K. version

foamhenge

Foamed polystyrene, often known by one of its brand names, Styrofoam, makes an attractive material for Stonehenge replicas. It is light and can be formed into any shape. Lintels no doubt help to keep the light uprights in place.

We know of two Foamhenges. One is in Virginia in the States (to be covered later), and one was a temporary construction, built on the Wiltshire Downs by Channel 5 TV in the U.K., and then sold on Ebay. This was a full-sized careful reconstruction of the monument at its height, rather better-looking than many because the real shapes and irregularities of the stones were taken into account. Is the odd pink cast meant to be the colour of the megaliths when they were first cut?  We welcome any information that would shed light on the mystery of the flesh-coloured stones!

foamhenge

Many thanks to brilliant photographer Pete Glastonbury for permission to use his pictures. Permission to use them elsewhere must be given by him. Our original score for this henge replica was a solid (well, as solid as they can be, made of carpet tubes and polystyrene) 8 druids, but recent conversation has caused us to reconsider and this entry’s score has been increased to 9, with a future possibility. Very nice!

Just found this: a Youtube video [link] showing the research done at this Foamhenge. Brilliant! Stonehenge has always represented midwinter to us, and this bears that intuition out.