Green Haven Circle: a Private Henge Accurate in One Brilliant Detail!

photo by Robin Goodfellow (yes), used with permission

photo by Robin Goodfellow (no, really!), used with permission

Not all of our decisions here at the Clonehenge blog are cut and dried. Some small private henges barely make the large permanent list. We admit, a few of the ones we’ve listed are, to be perfectly frank, iffy.

And now, dear readers, you will be thrilled to know that after much consultation and consideration, we have taken the solemn decision to build on that proud record! Toward that end, we present you with another somewhat dubious entry that we have nevertheless approved!

photo by Robin Goodfellow, used with permission

photo by Robin Goodfellow, used with permission

Sent in by one who identifies himself as Robin Goodfellow (an alias? Or is this actually Puck himself?), whose camera has the extraordinary ability to take oil paintings of its subjects, this newly built henge is not far from the much more angular and scientific replica at Rolla, Missouri.

Mr. Goodfellow (and yes, we have verified that gender by email) tells us:

The circle is in the back yard of a Southern facing house, but can be partially seen from the road or the half-moon driveway. It is made from a combination of Real and Constructed stones. I believe the constructed stones are made from ‘Hypertufa’, although I know that Lava Rock was used in the construction of the Southern Stone and that the Eastern and Western Trilithon Gates have Styrofoam cores under either Hypertufa or Concrete shells. Oh, and while my pictures do not show it well, the circle is around 30 foot in diameter, is surrounded by a 10 inch deep ditch about 12 inches across with a small embankment Inside the ditch and has a single break in the ditch which coincides with the Eastern Trilithon Gate.

A small embankment inside the ditch“. Let us consider this for a moment. What is a henge? The most accurate definition is, “a roughly circular or oval-shaped flat area enclosed and delimited by a boundary earthwork – usually a ditch with an external bank.” Interesting, right? BUT a question sometimes asked, in order to separate the Stonehenge cogniscenti wheat from the chaff, so to speak, “Why is Stonehenge not a henge?”, and the answer is: “Because its bank lies inside its ditch.

So, in short, this new entry has something right that almost everyone else gets wrong! This circle was built by Robin Goodfellow’s friend, Paul Holsombeck, also known as the Green Man (“Here to fill all of your Metaphysical needs“), on the property of his mother, Roseanne Cross-King, and we congratulate him! By this feature alone, his henge qualifies for our list of Large, Permanent Replicas, making it our 78th. (But surely not the last.)

Score: 8 druids! Outrageously high score!, you scream. Yet in its one brilliant detail, this circle transcends its small, private henge genre. Someone did his homework, or, possibly, stumbled accidentally into doing something right, as we all do from time to time. Our thanks to Robin, Paul and, of course, Roseanne!

We’re told this was built for the Friend’s little brother’s handfasting. It is our belief that having the embankment inside the ditch will enhance the effectiveness of the vows there taken. We wish the loving couple the best for decades to come!

Happy Thanksgiving to our USAnian readers! And, until next time, friends, happy henging!

Wine Rack Henge

Posted by Simon

It is the curse of the henger.  I was building a new wine rack for the hall closet and the nicely shaped maple pieces suddenly started talking to me.  And what they were saying was “we are a henge.”

And they became a henge.

Then the spirits intervened (it is a wine rack after all) and the sunlight reflected of the car window shone directly through the southern trilithon.

A clear message that the Mayans were wrong and the world will go on after the winter solstice.

This is my first entry in the Clonehenge End of the World Festival contest as announced on October 23, 2012.  Life is Good.

Thank you Nancy for letting me “guest blog” on Clonehenge.  I feel like I am typing on sacred ground.  Well not exactly “sacred ground” maybe “sacred pixels.”

You can see more of my hengish contributions here.

Henge-Podge: Odds and Ends That Have Come Across Our Desk, Part One

photo by Kerry McKenna

We have been accumulating odds and bits related to Clonehenge, none of them quite right for an entire post, but each a curiosity worth a look. Take the example above, a typical Englishman in tradition dress out for his stolid and dignified constitutional. Barely worth a second look if it weren’t for the henge-ish thing there: four trilithons in a circle surrounded by bluestones. We thank friend of the blog Feet, oops, we mean Pete, Glastonbury for drawing our attention to this. (That’s not him.) We also thank the shadows and the robe for being so helpfully strategic! Oo-er! We were going to make a comment about “stones” but, really, we’re better than that.

Also from Mr. Glastonbury, photo taken by him, is the curious grouping of stones at the left. He says, “I spotted this in the garden of Teachers Cottage in Avebury High St. It is a representation of the Obelisk and the inner stones of the southern circle in Avebury. An Avebury Model in Avebury!” Just the sort of obscure and odd thing we like, but it makes us wonder–do people build little pyramids next to the Pyramids? Or is it a thing that only henges do to the mind?

And last for this post, for we find, now we’ve started, that we have more of these bits than we thought, is this card we received for winter solstice (and related holidays) from Mr. @jwisser, aka Jonas Wisser, who is, in the interest of full disclosure, the progeny of the Clonehenge perpetrator(s). He had these cards made by [name to be inserted here later because we once again did not do our homework] especially for him. The sun is rather large, but we do believe in poetic license in such cases, and we think it is a cleverly fashioned thing, all in all. Quite observant, putting the remaining three connected lintels front and center.

We will save the rest of our hengy bits for another post. That way those of you who subscribe to our feed get the thrill of yet another of our delightful posts showing up in your inbox just when you need a lift! And we get to go do something else now. Keep sending in your Clonehenge-related news! Frankly we are surprised at the lack of snowhenges this year and suspect some people have been lax about bringing them to our attention. Ahem.

And until next time, happy henging!

Nesshenge: The Stonehenge Rope Experiment

photo from John Hill’s article on the Antiquity website, with permission

We had this bookmarked for quite a while, uncertain whether it belonged on the blog, but then a friend of Clonehenge (Mr. P.G.) sent us the link asking if we’d done it yet, so here it is. Last year, 2008, Liverpool was designated European Capital of Culture by the European Union. As a contribution toward that, John Hill and others from the University of Liverpool by a very simple method including a rope, simple counting and the sun’s shadow, laid out the pattern of positions that would be necessary for a model of Stonehenge.

They then measured out a smaller pattern to suit the site and proceeded to dig a ditch and bank and mark the sites of the Aubrey holes. You can see a diagram of this stage of the original Stonehenge here. A fuller explanation of what Hill and the others did can be read in the article we mentioned. You can see the result above.

This construction certainly qualifies to be posted on Clonehenge, going by Rule Number 6 of our Rules of Henginess,  and is in fact the first henge to qualify on that basis alone. A Stonehenge replica without uprights or trilithons–we were waiting for this. Well done! They placed the earthen bank on the inside of the ditch, too, another distinctive feature of Stonehenge, as other henges tend to have the ditch on the inside.

These things may seem minor, but they are pleasing to find in a world where one trilithon of anything is called a henge.  This is a true Stonehenge replica, a replica of the developmental phase of Stonehenge called Stonehenge 1 (the phases are described on this Wikipedia page).

So how do we score this? We haven’t even found anything to mock or be silly about, but we don’t deduct points for that, tempting as it might be. Score: 8 druids. Because if druids had been involved in building Stonehenge instead of coming at least a millennium later, this is very much like what they would have built at this stage.The article points up that even the astronomy and celestial/landscape relationship have been painstakingly provided for.

What more could we ask? Well, there’s the question of ambiance. The spot is perfect for what its creators were doing, but here at Clonehenge, Stonehenge is not just a work of engineering and astronomical precision. We have learned that some people see it as sculpture, some people see it as a sacred site, and many people regard it with awe. (Let’s face it–gigantic looming stones–ftw!*) If Stonehenge looked like this, there wouldn’t be so many replicas and we wouldn’t be talking here, but this is brilliant and we will add it to our list of large permanent replicas!

*(we mean that to stand for for the win, not free the whales, or f*** the world, which would be, well–sort of humourous in that sentence, actually, now we think of it . . .)

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Building Stonehenge Games and Sets

Henge_1.sized

henge_5.sizedPhotos from Stonehenge Collectables

For this post we present a couple examples of boxed build-your-own henge sets. The first is called, simply, Henge, and it says it is “a game of sculpture and skill based on prehistoric Stonehenge. The aim is to create a circle or henge of steel blocks using a magnetic wand.

It appears to be a handsome thing and the object, apparently, is to create the equivalent of the complete outer circle of Stonehenge by manipulating those steel bars with that magnetic wand.

The lingering question, of course, is: Then what? But with two sets, of course, you could begin to do something a little more accurate. Please note, it says “Made in England” and then, “Nashville, Tennessee.” This is an intriguing item and we would be curious to see one in the hard copy world.

building stonehenge

The other item here is a more complex educational set made for children. The copy reads, “Create a miniature sunrise with your solar motion compass and chart the stars path with a solar calendar and working sundial.
Materials: Granite clay, printed Stonehenge base plate, solar motion compass, sundial-solar calendar, glue and brush, and an illustrated instruction poster, home oven and flashlight repaired.
” (Perhaps they meant required?)

We don’t know whether this one includes info on the bluestones and the ins and outs of the outer circle, the heel stone, the “altar stone,” the ditch and bank, etc., but a dedicated person could do the research and include all of that (even add some aliens or a Buddha if they wanted!). This seems like a fun thing to play and learn and be creative with. “Chart the sun’s path with a solar calendar.

Either of these could give an adult and a child a fun day thinking about Stonehenge, its form, its possible functions, and who built it. With the first, you could also talk about magnetism. With the other, you could also talk about astronomy. And with either, a creative person could take it further. Score for the first, 4 druids. For the second, 5½ druids.

These are just two examples of hands-on model sets generated by Stonehenge one way or another. That mysterious urge to re-create it comes through in every form and size, with many new conceptions  of the Stonehenge idea yet to emerge. What brings people back to it again and again, recreating the ancient monument in ever newer ways, no two alike? We like to think that this collection we’ve created here at Clonehenge may help to bring us closer to an answer.

If not, at least it brings us to another, equally important question: Aren’t people, well, a little weird? Just sayin’.

Ohio’s Earthworks and Stonehenge for a Day

ohio

Miller Elementary in Ohio, creating ‘Cardboard Stonehenge’ © Ray Picton 2006

It’s a big week for the Newark Earthworks Center in Newark, Ohio. A pilgrimage (Walk with the Ancients) is taking place along a long-lost 60 mile road that runs straight as an arrow across the Ohio landscape, to end at the Newark Earthworks, the largest geometric earthworks complex in the world, with a day of celebration. We’re so glad to see this amazing site and its native builders getting notice. We lived there for a short time 20 years ago and couldn’t believe it wasn’t internationally famous. Maybe its time has come.

Newark_map

(our own photo–please ask permission) This is a partial map of the original earthworks at Newark, Ohio. The Great Circle is in the center at the top.

So how can that tie in with Stonehenge replicas? It’s more likely than you think! And that is because of one Ray Picton, whose Newark/Stonehenge story can be seen here. He wound up in a Fulbright teacher exchange that took him from Salisbury, England to Newark Ohio. Inspired by Stonehenge and the amazing site at Newark, he and his exchange teacher had their primary school classes do comparative studies of the sites. And of course for the classes in Ohio this inevitably meant Stonehenge replicas.

Apparently many were made, but we could only find photos of this unique effort in which students went out o the lawn with large pieces of cardboard and created a Stonehenge replica formation. (Why couldn’t we have done things like this when we were in school?!!!?) Needless to say we love Mr. Picton’s picture at the top. What a great effort!

The Ohio students became more aware of the significance of the site in their own community. Meanwhile children in Salisbury, too, were learning about the amazing earthworks at Newark as well as their own great monument.

Having been at Stonehenge and Avebury and Newark, we can tell you that there is a striking simlarity especially between Avebury and one part of the Newark complex called the Great Circle. In fact the Great Circle qualifies as a henge in the strict sense, which involves ditches and banks rather than stones. It’s not as large as Avebury, of course, but it is a sizable circle with a mound in the middle, presumably for ceremony. When we lived there, native wildflowers bloomed on the grounds within the circle in  spring.

We heartily applaud Mr. Picton’s successful efforts “to embed the comparative study of the two sites into the curriculum at both schools.” This shows what a difference one person can make. And we cannot leave the topic of the Newark Earthworks without mentioning Dr. Brad Lepper who has been involved at Newark since we lived there and heard him speak many years ago.  It is largely by his work that the road of pilgrimage being walked this week was discovered.

Score? Are you kidding? We award the rare 9 druids to this living Stonehenge made of cardboard and children. We know that in recent news people have been complaining that some awards are given undeservedly, but we think that work that gives hope and paints a better future for our children deserves the highest rewards of all!

P.S.: Newark Earthworks Day is this Saturday, October 17, 2009. If you can be there, we highly recommend it!

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The Arctic Henge, Iceland

arctichenge

photo from Northsailing News

After a day of holiday family stuff, we finally get to posting the different henge we promised. We sweep almost half way around the world from Antarctica to the Arctic where the nights and not the days are long just now. Let’s talk about a question Clonehenge has been grappling with all along: What makes something a Stonehenge replica?

Is something a Stonehenge replica only if it was meant to be one? Or if people call it one? If it has a trilithon? Or, and this is a type we’ve shied away from so far, if it performs a similar astronomical function, no matter what it looks like? An example of the latter is “Manhattanhenge,” but that one was inadvertent. We’ve found a small genre of structures that do not look like Stonehenge but that were built to do what Stonehenge does, and our post tonight concerns one of those.

arctic-henge5

photos from arctichenge.com

In the far north of Iceland, in an area with a 360 degree open horizon, a unique edifice called the Arctic Henge (see another good page on it here) is being built to mark and catch the sun and other heavenly bodies as they move around the sky. Interweaving science, mythology, geography, and tourism, the project promises to be beautiful, educational, poetic and even transforming, a chance to feel the connection between a point on the surface of our planet and the light-bearing actors in the dramas of the heavens. Will it evoke for moderns what Stonehenge must have evoked for those who visited it at its height?

arctic-henge

There are other structures in this genre–a sunwheel at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst comes to mind, a  grouping in a park in Wichita Kansas, and a project called Kepple Henge that we hope to post later on.

They all look different, but they have purpose in common. Are they Stonehenge replicas? Not in the sense we’ve been using for that term until now, but at winter solstice the resemblance comes to the fore. Like Stonehenge they seem to forge a bond between us as entities of the landscape and the dance of the bodies in the dome above us.

The Arctic Henge doesn’t yet exist, so no druids for it. However, as its builders claim to have 68 dwarfs, they are probably okay with that!

See the beautiful picture of the northern lights over Arctic Henge that NASA posted April 30, 2012.

Stonehenge Aotearoa, New Zealand

new-zland

We just post them–we don’t try to pronounce them.

This is one of the big permanent Stonehenge replicas scattered about the globe. The original press release said: “A modern day version of the 4000-year-old English monument as it might have been, had it been built in the Southern hemisphere, Stonehenge Aotearoa, is backed by the New Zealand Government and Royal Society of the New Zealand, and is the brain child of members of the Phoenix Astronomical Society.”

New Zealand publisher Mary Varnham says in its defense, “I’ve been to both it and the original Stonehenge in Britain and there’s no contest: Stonehenge Aotearoa is by far the most interesting experience.” We can’t say, as we’ve only been to the original, but it no doubt depends on what you’re interested in.

Kudos to its builders for attention to astronomy and for a neat, clean presentation. For what it actually is, it could hardly be better, but as we rate things as Stonehenge replicas on this blog, and it skips the inner trilithons and many other aspects of the original, we’re giving it six druids. If we were Kiwis, though, we would definitely plan a visit!