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!

Carleton College Welcomes Tiny Stonehenge-Building Alien Ice Druids!

Snowhenge at Carleton College, photo by Erin Wilson, used with permission

Snowhenge at Carleton College. photo by Erin Wilson, used with permission

We used to post snowhenges from time to time earlier in our blog history. See the first five links here to view some. But it has been a while since we’ve seen one, despite copious amounts of snow in North America this winter. What on earth do people do with snow these days if they’re not henging with it? Tweet it? Instagram it? Make snowCamerons and hit them with flamethrowers? Haha, not in North America, of course. Just kidding. That’s why the UK government disallowed snow and only permits rain now, exactly so things like that won’t happen!

But at any rate, we have a snowhenge for you today, as you can see. It was built by students at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and photographed by Erin Wilson, 2014 and Agnes Tse, 2016, the years being the year they will graduate, although no future accomplishment will ever come close to the glory of having a photograph posted on Clonehenge, so they may as well quit and turn to a life of crime now. Good luck!

Carleton College's snowhenge. Photo by Agnes Tse, used with permission

Carleton College’s snowhenge. Photo by Agnes Tse, used with permission

The oddest thing about this snowhenge has to be the fact that no one involved is talking about the most important bit of data about any henge: who actually built it. Very suspicious, if you ask us. Lots of care taken to see that we credit the photos properly, no mention at all of the builder(s). We aren’t ruling out the possibility that tiny alien ice druids have arrived from outer space to attend college in Minnesota. Further reports on this are welcome!

As for the score, we award 6 druids for this effort. Only an outer sarsen circle, without the inner trilithon horseshoe or any bluestones or ditch and bank, or outlier stones; proportions wrong, etc. Regular readers know the drill. 6 is actually a pretty high score for this, but we’re going with it.

The fact is, we love seeing a snowhenge after a long hiatus, and anyway, we’re glad to have something other than toilets at the top of our blog!

We have a Mexican Stonehenge replica from a park that includes miniatures of world landmarks coming up at some point. For up-to-the-moment reports on Stonehenge replicas large and small, join the Clonehenge Facebook group or follow Clonehenge on Twitter. Occasional Stonehenge news shows up there, too.

Our thanks to Pete Glastonbury and someone we know only as Liz! And, yes, until next time, we wish all of our friends some very happy henging!

HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY TO THE CLONEHENGE BLOG!!!

Cupcakehenges by Simon Burrow and Debora Oswald

Cupcakehenges by Simon Burrow and Debora Oswald

The day is here! A happy 5th birthday to us!

It’s astounding that this blog is still here and active after all these years. We’re not sure if the proliferation of Stonehenge replicas around the world is a sign of the creativity and spirit of humankind, or a sign of the decadent state of human society, but whichever it is, we celebrate that today!! From the academic and historical Stonehenge models to the spontaneous alcohol-inspired cheesehenges to the work-and-expense-intensive large permanent replicas, we are proud to be the chroniclers of this peculiar aspect of our species’ activities and efforts.

Carrothenge by Rian Edwards

Carrothenge by Rian Edwards

One thing for certain—Clonehenge would have been abandoned years ago were it not for its many friends and supporters, in particular people like Simon Burrow, Pete Glastonbury, Matt Penny, Bob Bradlee, and many more, who have alerted us to new henges, and given us encouragement when we were ready to quit or even delete the blog forever!

The pictures you see above are edible Stonehenge replicas made to celebrate this most glorious of days and the persistence of the Clonehenge blog through five revolutions of our planet around the sun. How wonderful that these people would use their own time to celebrate us in this way. Thanks to Simon Burrow, Debora Oswald, and Rian Edwards for these gifts! Our gratitude also to those friends, like Lynn Myra McElroy, who wished us a happy 5th birthday!

There are many many Stonehenge replicas yet to be blogged, and we solemnly promise that we will continue to not keep up.

Finally, all glory to the ancient original builders of Stonehenge, without whom this blog would probably be about pyramids or Easter Island heads! It just wouldn’t be as fun, and we would miss all of our favourite Wiltshire people! Which reminds us, are there any replicas of the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre out there? We would consider posting one.

We may add to this post as the day goes on, so we’ll end it for now. Please keep your eyes open for more Stonehenge replicas. We know they’re out there. And until next time, of course, happy henging!

(And here is our very first post, from five years ago today. With thanks to Mr. Jonas M. Wisser!)

Wiltshire Museum Models: Replicas for Learning (and for Tourists!)

Stonehenge model, photo by Pete Glastonbury, used with permission

Stonehenge model, photo by Pete Glastonbury, used with permission

One of the things that have become apparent in the last ALMOST FIVE YEARS that we have been posting on the Clonehenge blog is that there are many different categories of Stonehenge replicas—many reasons for making them, many sizes, many materials, many styles, many places where they are made and where they end up. Generally, each replica falls into several categories, for example: small, carrot, before-it-was-ruined, just-for-fun; large, metal, partial, sculpture/art, or full-sized, edible, citrus, trilithon, parade float (with druid).

There are several kinds of museums that may have Stonehenge replicas (large or small), as we have shown in posts over the years. A clock museum may depict Stonehenge as an early time piece. Astronomical museums often have replicas as examples of how even our distant ancestors were fascinated by the movement of the sun, stars. and planets. Archaeological and historical museums, of course, depict and talk about Stonehenge and the light it sheds on the lives and thoughts of early civilisations.

The Wiltshire Museum, in Devizes, Wiltshire, UK (formerly known as the Wiltshire Heritage Museum), falls more or less into the last category. We’ve shown you some of their Stonehenge and Avebury (and West Kennet Long Barrow and Marden Henge) models before, as well as their stunning and unique “Celtic” Cabinet, all courtesy of friend of the blog and fine photographer of ancient sites, Pete Glastonbury.

Avebury model, photo by Pete Glastonbury, used with permission

Avebury model, photo by Pete Glastonbury, used with permission

Well, HERE ARE MORE! More model, more label, more learning, more fun! The photo at the top is a labeled model of Stonehenge as it may have looked at its height, including station stones, the slaughter stone, and the ditch and bank that (almost) make Stonehenge officially a henge. (Technically it isn’t, quite, but you can look that up yourself.) We don’t know what the model is made of or who made it, but as you can see, this is a very good model.

The lower photo is of Avebury as it may have been at its height in the Bronze Age, with the South and North Circles, including the Cove, and beginnings of the avenues that lead to the Longstones at Beckhampton, and to West Kennet Long Barrow. Nice!

While things like the shapes of individual stones seem not to be addressed (do we even know what shapes the stones were thousands of years ago?), these are about as close as we get to definitive models. The anonymous model makers would probably be offended by our units of reward, but we nevertheless give these models a 7 druids score! Very good score, considering their size.

Models like this aren’t as whimsical or exciting as many of the others we’ve posted, but they are still Stonehenge replicas and our blog would be incomplete without them, and that, friends, cannot be allowed.

Our deep gratitude once again to Mr. Pete Glastonbury! Remember, as Christmas approaches and you need something unusual for your discerning family members and friends, Pete’s unique photographs of Stonehenge, Avebury, and Silbury Hill make great gifts! And if you’re truly interested in knowing more about Stonehenge and the surrounding ancient landscape, AND you have iBooks, you’ll enjoy the unusually broad spectrum of knowledge in his Stonehenge Guide. [Spoiler: he actually admits he knows us!]

We don’t make any money from those promotions, but when you buy something because we said so, it gives us a false feeling of power and importance. We need that gratification, people!

Thank you for reading, and until next time (when we have a new large permanent replica to share), happy henging!

Bouncy Bouncy Druids, and a Stonehenge Guide You Must All Buy!

bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy druids

As we are sure you realise, every post on the Clonehenge blog is tested and retested on animals. (Don’t worry, scientists carefully select for that purpose only individual animals that no one likes, ones that tell dull family stories over and over, and who talk over you whenever you try to say something especially witty.) Once a post is confirmed as safe, the papers have to be submitted to the appropriate ministries for approval and sometimes they are sent to a committee, debated, and then brought before Parliament for a full debate. Needless to say, all of this takes time, which means that despite the fact that we write posts very quickly and very often, you see new posts only rarely.

However today we have asked for and received an executive edict expediting approval of this post. It was incredibly important for you to see and hear the above video, and also for you to be notified of the release of the new Stonehenge Guide for iPad.

First, we should explain the video. Unfortunately we have no idea who this Mitch Benn bloke is, so all we can say is: this video concerning Jeremy Deller’s inflatable Stonehenge replica which is called Sacrilege and is now touring the UK, is in the Clonehenge spirit and receives the Clonehenge Seal of Approval. The blow-up sheep are also backed by Clonehenge, to be sent in aid packages to Scotland and New Zealand to ease the pressures on the livestock there!

As for the Stonehenge Guide for iPad, we are pleased to announce that it was written and produced by none other than Hengefinder General Extraordinaire Mr. Pete Glastonbury! Few if any people have the background in both science and lore concerning Stonehenge that Mr. Glastonbury can boast. The iTunes preview reads: “A Visitors Guide to Stonehenge for the first time visitor showing the nearby monuments and the latest archaeological excavations. A history of the site is shown in old prints and photographs showing its reconstruction. Interactive 360 panoramas show the nearby monuments in relation to Stonehenge.

Of course they are modestly avoiding the Absolute Greatest Thing about this guide, but we are not afraid to speak out! The Stonehenge Guide for iPad MENTIONS CLONEHENGE!!!!1!! Or so we are told. We actually don’t have an iPad ourselves. We could afford hundreds, of course, but last year Steve Jobs gave us this spherical iPad he made only two of, one for us and one for his alien overlords, so we haven’t bothered to get a regular one. However, this guide was not configured for iSphere, so if someone could take a screenshot of the Clonehenge mention and post it where we can see it, we would be much obliged. Remember, English Heritage is monitoring sales of this Stonehenge guide, and if insufficient interest is shown, they will go forward with plans to bulldoze Stonehenge to make room for a state-of-the-art Walmart. So buy three! Buy ten! They don’t take up much room.

Before we go, we must mention that the video link above was provided to us by Sylvia MacPuss of the Henge Collective. The Henge Collective is the topic of a Clonehenge post now working its way though committee, and if the Tories don’t drag their feet, we should have that special rhyming post called The Henge Collective Inaugurates Clonehenge: The Musical! by September. Earlier if we actually start working on it!

Keep dry (or keep cool if you are Stateside) and happy henging!

Solstice Again, Innit? Part the First!

wooden model made in preparation for the famous Icehenge in Alaska

When you are somewhat lazy-arsed, as we are, it helps a great deal to have friends who are not similarly handicapped. We have a number of friends who keep an eye to the news and alert us when they find new Stonehenge replicas, old ones, too, if there is a chance we haven’t seen them. Today, in honour of the summer solstice, 2012, one half year, a mere six months, until nothing happens and everyone is deeply shocked to find the world hasn’t ended after all and they are going to have to find a way to pay for all that stuff they put on their credit cards, [drumroll] we are going to award two of our alert friends and readers with the title of Hengefinder General, Extraordinaire. In this post we fete the wonderful ancient sites photographer, Mr. Peter Glastonbury of Wiltshire. No one has brought more henges to our attention or contributed more to the Clonehenge blog than this fine fellow, and we hereby thank and salute him!

The replica above is an example of the brilliant henges we have had from Hengefinder Glastonbury. It is a photo of a painted wooden model made for the crew that created the beautiful Stonehenge replica made of ice in Fairbanks, Alaska some years ago. In a message passed along to us, Martin Gutoski says of it, “A local artist made a wooden model of it at the architect scale of ¼” = 1’ for the ice carvers to use but it recently burned up with his house fire last spring.” Truly it was a thing of beauty!

Page of the June 22, 1898 issue of The Sketch

The item above is another of his recent contributions: two historical small replicas in an article entitled The Strange Story of Stonehenge, dating from the 1890s! We surmise that the top one, a replica of Stonehenge in recent times, may be one of Henry Browne’s cork models. The other, of a “completed” Stonehenge, appear to be made of wood and may be one that was on display at the British Museum or perhaps the Ashmolean. See–knowledge of Stonehenge replicas can be a scholarly pursuit! If you’re not careful. Which we are. So you needn’t worry! An interesting bit of this article is where the author mentions the theory that a sacred oak once grew in the very middle of Stonehenge. We hadn’t heard that one before.

Article from The Graphic, September 2, 1922

Hengefinder Extraordinaire Glastonbury also sent us this article with pictures of a Stonehenge model made by the author, H. N-Hutchison,  which is entitled What Stonehenge Probably Looked Like when Complete. Our favourite part of this one is near the end: “For reasons which need not be given here, the writer has ventured to put a small trilithon at the entrance, and two rather larger ones, one at each end of the horseshoe, to make it complete. … This arrangement seems to giove a finish to Stonehenge...” In other words, the fellow has added parts to Stonehenge that he thinks would make it better! We have mentioned before, but so long ago at this point that probably any of you weren’t even born yet, that even those who profess to be the greatest admirers of Stonehenge cannot seem to resist making little improvements in their reproductions of it. It is as if you took a picture of the Mona Lisa and then thought, She could be prettier, couldn’t she? and changed her features to look more like Charlize Theron.

Anyway, Hutchison says that the model in the pictures is of plasticene, but he made another of wood and donated it to the British Museum. And, no, it is not the same one that’s at the bottom of the other article. Small differences are evident to the seasoned eye of the Stonehenge replica expert, that is to say, ourselves.

The article ends, “I should like to see a full-sized reconstruction of Stonehenge made in concrete and set up somewhere close to Salisbury to show visitors what this wonderful monument was like in prehistoric times; and I am sure such a model would attract visitors to the ancient town.” Obviously, we’re all for that!! (And, yes, we know that not everyone believes that Stonehenge was ever finished. We are not interested in having that discussion here.)

So thank you to Mr. Glastonbury for his help with Clonehenge through the years. At least one time we were ready to quit the blog but kept going because he kept sending us replicas to post. He told us just today that he knows of a top secret Stonehenge replica project to be implemented some time in August, and he will bring us the news as it happens. More fun to come!

Happy summer solstice, everyone! And of course, happy henging!

It’s Got Character, Charm, and a Slab in the Middle–Celebrating Our 300th Post!

Brought to our attention by the ever-vigilant Wiltshire citizen and elegant shutterbug, Mr. Pete Glastonbury, this bit of video is part of The Complete and Utter History of Britain, a project done by Terry Jones and Michael Palin in their pre-Monty Python days.

In it, a realtor is showing Stonehenge to a young couple as a potential home (despite its being a bit drafty). The monument in question appears to be a circle of six trilithons, as seen at second 15 of the video. A Stonehenge replica from 1969–excellent!

Score: 6 druids. Wish we could give them more, but Palin (that’s Michael, not Sarah) had yet to perfect his tourism schtick. Our thanks to all of our readers–even those who stumbled on the blog while searching “nudity mandatory“! Keep sending us those links and pictures and keep building those linteled stone circles. The future needs them, for some reason we have yet to divine.

Until next time, happy henging!

Oxford’s Secret Treasures–Megalith Models at the Pitt Rivers Museum

photos from the website Rethinking Pitt-Rivers

We don’t need to do a full post on this, but it was passed along to us by the ever alert Mr. Peter Glastonbury, and now that we know about it, we feel Clonehenge would be incomplete without it.  What we’re talking about here is this:

Hidden away in a box in the Pitt Rivers store rooms are a set of 13 models depicting various megalithic monuments from England and the Isle of Man.” (See here.)

Brilliant, right? No Stonehenge, but we do find an old friend among them: Wayland Smith’s grave, now known as Wayland’s Smithy, a wooden model of which we posted here.

We’ve posted models of places other than Stonehenge before, of course, but to find a set of models of megalithic sites that even megaraks might concede to be obscure is extraordinary. Men-Al-Tol, Chun Quoit, the Calderstones: who builds models of these? Great stuff. Well spotted, Mr. Glastonbury. You will go down in the annals of Clonehenge history!

You, too, can make Clonehenge history, Gentle Reader, and, no–you don’t have to go down in any annals if that’s what’s worrying you! Find or build a model or models of any megalithic site, preferably in the British Isles or Europe, and send a picture, description, and if possible your motivation to us so we can do a post about it. Worldwide fame awaits you! Or at least some very wary looks from people who find out!

Until next time, friends, happy henging!

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!

Solstice on the Interwebs

from video of Stonehenge Midsummer Sunrise Simulation

Well, it will be summer solstice on Monday and where do you plan to be to see it in? Oh, we know you would like to be at Stonehenge, just you and a few good friends, but what if you can’t get there or if you just don’t care to share it with the circus that takes place there every year? As with everything but dinner and the loo, the internet has the answer! Why not visit Stonehenge virtually or in a video?

Surprisingly, we haven’t been able to find a virtual Stonehenge with a real-time summer sunrise simulation. Neither have we found a video showing the midsummer sun rising at Stonehenge itself, but that is less surprising. If the experience of those gathering there over the years is a guide, then perhaps Stonehenge was built to observe rain and cloud cover rather than the sun at all!

It burns us a little to have to admit that the best-known virtual Stonehenge we’ve found is that on the Heritage Key site. Clonehenge had an unpleasant run-in with them a while back and it left a bitter taste. Still, credit where it is due! You can see a video of their virtual Stonehenge here. (Sorry about that fellow’s accent. There should be a computer application that replaces the voice of anyone talking about Stonehenge with that of David Tenant in best Doctor form!) To access the real virtual Heritage Key Stonehenge, though, you have to sign up at the Heritage Key website.

When you do, Prad Patel, a pleasant member of the staff there tells us: “Stonehenge Virtual always has a summer solstice going on. Unfortunately we can’t make a sunrise happen in real time (yet!) but we’re planning to have a party [for summer solstice] regardless! Have a happy Solstice!” We wish we’d dealt with him the first time!

There is a Stonehenge midsummer sunrise simulation by someone else here.  And a brilliant flythrough of the Stonehenge landscape at this link. Still another video, here, takes us through the monument. There are any number of virtual Stonehenges, but no webcams, unless you count the notorious Dead Bunny Cam!

We hope that eventually virtual models will more faithfully reproduce the true shapes of the stones. Laser scans of some of the stones are already available. When completed they will allow virtual builders to get closer to simulating the true experience. Meanwhile, here’s a sample of what they have so far.

As long as we’re listing, here’s another view of Stonehenge from the inside, presented by BritishTours.com. You need to be running Quicktime, but we like being able to control it, moving up and down, fast and slow. Of course that one’s not virtual but camera-generated, but it’s still a good substitute for the arm chair, or more likely couch, solstice observer. Beat your drum or sacrifice your virgin in the privacy of your own home!

But wait, we hear you say, don’t end this post without showing us the worst Stonehenge video you found! It’s funny you should ask. We have just the thing! The title is Second Life–Spirit Stonehenge, and we can only guess that it is an amalgam of every even remotely Stonehenge-ish thing on SL. We won’t describe it in detail, just do try to hang in there to see Gollum and a dinosaur near the end. Wow!

There are more, plenty more, videos and simulations of Stonehenge out there. Stonehenge is the Lady Gaga, the Justin Bieber of megaliths. We’re almost certain that the famous Pete Glastonbury did a brilliant panorama from inside Stonehenge and we hope he will give us a link to it in the comments.*

But this post is way too long already and you have better things to do this midsummer than to sit here reading Clonehenge. So we part with a link to a lovely still of an anomalous midsummer sunrise, one in which the sun was visible from that old grey pile of rocks. Scroll down and there is a troupe of druids. They must have had some powerful bleach back there in prehistory!

We at Clonehenge wish you a wonderful solstice and a beautiful summer. Remember, if you want to be at Stonehenge, you can always make your own. Happy henging!

*Turns out that British Tours one is his.