Transatlantic Coalition of Stonehenge Experts Builds Stonehenge with Toy Blocks!

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Simon Banton and Neil Wiseman ponder their remake of Stonehenge. Photo by Andy Burns.

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Actual plan of Stonehenge to compare

We know it for ourselves: these grey blocks are irresistible. Off in one corner of the wonderful Wiltshire Museum which displays, among many wonderful things, a collection called Gold from the Time of Stonehenge, there is a children’s section that includes rectangular grey blocks and a round green base to build on. What possibilities! The very sight of it casts a spell of inevitability on any true henger.

 

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Neil Wiseman admiring his handiwork at the Wiltshire Museum. Photo by Simon Banton.

Enter, from stage left, two Stonehenge experts and over-qualified hengers: Mr. Simon Banton, introduced to our readers a few posts ago and whose blog includes a page for each stone at Stonehenge, and Mr. Neil Wiseman, author of the book Stonehenge and the Neolithic Cosmos: A New Look at the Oldest Mystery in the World. The two gentlemen assert that they did not actually visit the museum solely to make a Stonehenge replica, but the same siren song of the grey blocks that sang to us during our visit three years ago lured them to the children’s section. The result was both extraordinary and, in a way, hilarious—hilarious, we mean, by virtue of the contrast between the simplicity of those grey children’s blocks and the level of expertise Wiseman and Banton brought to bear on them.

You may compare their accomplishment with the aerial view of Stonehenge we have provided for that purpose. Within the limitations of the medium, this is probably the best Stonehenge replica possible. If we were still handing out Druid scores for henges, we would have to give this one 9 Druids. And yes, as the cognoscenti might remind us, Druids had nothing to do with the building of Stonehenge, but it is so much a part of public perceptions of the monument that it amuses us to use it as our metric.

Of course, we hasten to say that we do not expect this kind of precision from the common henger. It is, however, not cheating to actually look at a picture of Stonehenge before you build. You, too, can beat the dreaded Circle of Trilithons Syndrome!

Addendum: pertinent to our previous post about Stonehenge Centenary Day, below is a picture of Mr. Tim Daw (of the first modern long barrow, and the resting concrete trilithon we’ve mentioned here in the past) at that event* and rather dapperly dressed for it, putting together a wooden Stonehenge he made for English Heritage. It is a lovely thing, in the category of replicas that show Stonehenge as it is thought to have looked at its height. Note the diagram at the lower left, being used as a guide.

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Photo by Brian Edwards.

If these people who know Stonehenge so well and have spent time there are compelled to build their own, how then are the rest of us to resist the imperative? Give in. Make henges and be happy!

Until next time, friends, we wish you happy henging!

*We hope to post some pictures of henges from the henging contest at the centenary event at some future date.

 

Henging Contest Alert!!! Stonehenge Centenary Day, 8th July in Shrewton!

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Stonehenge Chubb Centenary Day Stonehenge Replica Competition guide:

Henging contest alert!!

All of you master hengers out there, your hour has come! This will be a short post, but the length does not reflect its importance, only our laziness!

The contest will be held on 8th July, 2018, in the Wiltshire village of Shrewton. A note to irreverent Americans among us: yes, town names like this are real and historic and were not, as you suppose, invented by fantasy writers! The town, for example, is not populated by little shrews in vests and dresses.

That said (we continue a bit sheepishly), there will be several cricket matches, traditional games, and music from the time of the gifting of Stonehenge to the nation, that is, 1918, and the Shrewton Silver Band.

Yes, we concede, it does all sound a bit like the Shire or some kind of England theme park, but please put all that aside. BECAUSE THE POINT IS, friends, THERE WILL BE A HENGING CONTEST!!!! With prizes! See the diagram above.

Please note there is a size limit. No henge shall exceed the maximum diameter of 300mm, which is slightly less than 12 inches. This seems small, but great things can be achieved in small packages!

The categories for prizes are by age: A. Under 11, B. 11 to 14, C. 14 to 18, and D. Adult, as shown in the pictures below:

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Prizes include a Stonehenge book and a Stonehenge bag, and an actual model of Stonehenge for the adult winner. (Stonehenge replicas are far too addictive to be given to children as it could turn them into those useless kinds of people who think about Stonehenge all the time and are always thinking up new theories about it or arguing about old ones. Society does not need any more of those. Trust us on this! Take us as an example. Say no more.)

Below is the poster for the Stonehenge Chubb Centenary Day. Note how it is not at all stereotypically English. Not even a bit. You are not required to dress like that, incidentally, but let’s face it—you’ve been dying to and here’s your chance!

We at Clonehenge urge you to build a henge, accurate or quirky, simple or elaborate, and take it to Shrewton on 8th July to celebrate the gifting of Stonehenge by Sir Cecil and Mary Chubb to the nation! Encourage friends and children to do the same. SWAMP the judges with little Stonehenges! Make your friends at Clonehenge proud. We’ve already asked for pictures of the henges and judging so that we can post them here and on Facebook and Twitter afterward.

Oh, should you meet a certain Mr. Edwards there, do ask him about his experience making the experimental cheese puff henge! He will not try that again. Quite amusing.

And so, until next time, gentle readers, happy henging!
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Henging Styles: in which we discuss: What IS a Stonehenge Replica?!

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An assemblage of trilithons at Oberlin College, November, 2008. Photo by Jonas Wisser This was the Clonehenge blog’s first posted henge!

Happy solstice!

Well, we were trying to do at least one post per month, but somehow May got away from us and now we’re well into June. Our inability to meet blog deadlines will come as a surprise to no one who has been paying any attention here. Ah, that wonderful deadline whooshing sound!

But part of the delay has been us trying to think of any method at all by which we could make this long-planned post anything less than a snooze fest. The bad news is, we have come up with nothing. The good news is, you should probably all be getting a lot more sleep anyway! So here goes.

The variety and number of constructions that can still fall under the topic of this blog—replicas of Stonehenge, in case some poor soul has stumbled in unawares—is great. There are so many potential variables that it’s impossible to put them in neat categories. Some broad categories, however, are:

 

Trilithon

a single trilithon

One trilithon: two standing stones with a third set on top, connecting them. This is visual shorthand for Stonehenge and it doesn’t seem to matter if the stones are the right shapes or proportions or even if the lintel, that is, the one across the top, extends out past the upright stone on either side so it looks more like the mathematical symbol for pi. This is the classic glyph for Stonehenge, the most obvious example being the famously small trilithon in the movie This is Spinal Tap.

 

Then there is the classic grouping of a single, or sometimes two trilithons with accompanying standing stones. You see this most often in garden henges, especially larger ones. Trilithons are trickier to make than you would think, so maybe after going to that trouble, the henger decides many won’t be necessary, or maybe they prefer the simpler look. Maybe some of each.

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A classic garden henge, with two trilithons and some standing stones—Cleveland, Ohio

Next is the assemblage of trilithons, (see top of post for photo) including the classic (but inaccurate) foodhenge, the circle of trilithons. We see these so frequently that we’re convinced that many people think this is Stonehenge’s real form. There are certainly some people who build these and call them henges even once they know the difference. Many of these include something in the center. Sometimes something very odd. As in the accompanying WotsitHenge by Jo Kendall with central small ducklings.

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Stonehenge more or less as it is now

From there it becomes more complicated. Do you intend to recreate Stonehenge as it was thought to be at its height or Stonehenge as it is now? And which of the many many elements that make up Stonehenge and it’s landscape will you choose to include? The Heel Stone? The Station Stones? The so-called Slaughter Stone? The ditch and bank? (Which after all, is what makes it a henge. Sort of. But not actually, because Stonehenge’s ditch and bank are not quite right for a henge. The sad truth is, in the truest sense of the word henge, Stonehenge is not a henge. This is the sort of knowledge that separates the Stonehenge nerds from actual human beings.)

As it was thought to be

Stonehenge more or less as it is thought to have bee

But we digress. There are other elements. Do you include, as some have, the dagger and axe carvings on the stones? The Aubrey Holes? The avenue? Remnants of old graffiti? The fence? The tourists? The jackdaws? The sheep?? How closely do you model each stone to the shape of the corresponding real stone? On the famous Transformers replica, someone carefully copied the pattern of lichens on the stones! And a Kickstarter project called BuyStonehenge has gone to even more minute detail than that. Check it out! 

We’ve seen a replica from back before the new tourist centre that included not only the old parking lot but the lights that lit it. We’ve seen a replica that included President Obama visiting! We have yet to see one that included Gertrude, the great bustard who is seen at Stonehenge from time to time, but it is there to be done. Your move, my friend!

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Stonehenge in the show Britannia is a sort of Super Stonehenge, with many exciting added features, including a raised platform and carved stones! (honestly not sure of the source for this photo, but we didn’t take it)

And what of the people who like to go beyond the real Stonehenge when they make their replicas? The ones who add dinosaurs or aliens or both? We’ve seen a small Stonehenge that included the full ring of lintels, but added train tracks on top and ran a train around it. We have seen more than one model that uses the form of Stonehenge as the foundation for a roofed building. We’ve seen elaborations that include carvings on the stones and a mighty platform from which priests and leaders addressed gathered peasants. Stonehenge Improved is a big category that seems to imply that Stonehenge isn’t good enough just as it is, but we must admit, many amusing henges fall into that category!

There is also speculative history. Were great colourful hangings once put over the stones on great occasions? Were people or animals once sacrificed within the circle? Was there at one time a hedge around it? Was Stonehenge in fact, as some have said, never completed? How were the stones brought there and lifted into place? Every possibility suggests a diorama.

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Stonehenge stone #56, photo by Simon Banton, from his blog at this link

Theoretically, even a single stone could be considered a Stonehenge replica if it is an exact scale replica of a recognisable stone—take Stone 56, for example. Many of us would recognise a good copy of that one!

The point is, the definition of what is a Stonehenge replica is wide, but not all-inclusive. A mere circle of standing stones is not a Stonehenge replica. But many various things can be. As you build your henge, don’t be afraid to include some little authentic detail, as in the case of the snowhenge we saw that included the axe and dagger carvings. Little touches mean a lot! Don’t settle for that lowest common denominator, the circle of trilithons, unless you have embraced it as your style. Anyone can do those. You be you!

We haven’t even covered here, the other henge variations, those of size and materials, and location. Factor those in, and the possible varieties of Stonehenge replicas seem to be endless. No wonder no two look alike!

What is your favourite style of Stonehenge replica? Do you have a favourite Stonehenge replica in particular? What is it? We would love to hear from you, on Twitter or Facebook or in the comments below. Thank you for keeping in touch.

Do we promise you a more interesting and exciting post next month? Heh. Surely you jest! We’re hoping for an interview with a long-winded scholar, it seems. But we’ll post memes with it or something! Maybe cats!! We know what you cool people like in this modern era of, you know, the interwebs, phones, and selfie sticks, and whatnot! We’re hip like you, fellow kids!!

But now until next time, gentle readers, we wish you dreams of new kinds and sizes of henges! And as always we wish you happy henging!

*All photos by the author of the Clonehenge blog unless otherwise noted.

 

 

Three More For the List of Large Permanent Replicas!

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small Stonehenge at Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary, Baguio, on Luzon Island, the Phillippines

What a month April has been here at Clonehenge Central! In our continual searches for henges that will amuse you, we discovered three large permanent Stonehenge replicas that weren’t on our list. We have been working on a post about the different varieties of henges, but we put that on hold to bring you these latest finds!

First is the one seen above, our first Phillippine replica. It’s one of the prehistory-related stations along a nature trail set up to help teach history to children who visit. The cobbled floor is lovely and artistic. The proportions of the uprights are rather nice, so we won’t complain too loudly about the extra-long lintels extending out on either side of their trilithons. A delightful find!

Next up, this lovely garden henge is in County Durham, UK, in the gardens of the luxury self-catering cottages at Keaton Cottages. There is a wagon wheel bench inside the circle, a whimsical addition, which, along with a gorgeous long-distance view of the Yorkshire Dales, and frequent grazing visits by Shetland ponies, gives the whole thing a unique and undeniable charm. There are three trilithons and a number of single uprights, very consistent with the pattern of most garden henges.

c7050cca-4cf1-4a85-8660-b87905687337.c10It seems they light it with colourful lights during nights in the some of the colder months months! Unfortunately this henge is probably accessible only to those staying in the cottages, and such a stay appears not to be inexpensive. Perhaps when this Clonehenge empire has (finally!) made us insufferably rich, we will stop in for a stay. We still dream of making that tour of all of the large henges!

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Two trilithons at the Stonehenge Grille in Crossville, Tennessee, Traveler photo submitted by Richard E (Sep 2014)

Last, and yes, probably least, there are these two trilithons (once again with lintels extending out beyond the uprights, something the previous henge managed to avoid) outside the Stonehenge Grille in Crossville, Tennessee! We may have to call or message them one of these days and ask how the name and little Stonehenge came about. Those stories are always interesting to us. For now all we know is that the grill is part of the Fairfield Glade Community Club and someone there appears to like marigolds.

That about catches us up. Once added to the List of Large Permanent Replicas, these will bring their number to 88! It is likely, though, that there are enough out there somewhere to bring it up to 100. Don’t forget, you are our eyes and ears out there, friends! Have a look at the list and please report any henges that aren’t on it! What better way for us to celebrate Stonehenge’s 100 years of belonging to the nation that is now the United Kingdom than to build the list to 100 henges?

Remember: if you can’t find one, why not build one? We are counting on you! Until next time, Gentle Readers, happy henging!

The Stonehenge Perspective on Henging, Part 2: Simon Banton, Continued

Simon Banton and a rook at an undisclosed location, photo by Wendy Pallesen or perhaps Carol Druce

“…there’s something about the trilithon form that aches with antiquity and latent symbolism.”

Here is the second half of our interview with Stonehenge man Simon Banton.

5) Why do you think so many people continue to make Stonehenges of all sizes and materials all over the world?

The act of creation lies deep within most of us, and creating a clonehenge seems to foster a deep sense of satisfaction. It has the huge advantage of being instantly recognisable, so no special talent is required. I can’t draw for toffee, but you were kind enough to feature my Etch-a-Sketched clonehenge [see previous post] even though it was 2D. There’s also the growing awareness that there’s a community of clonehengers, and I guess a desire to belong to this elite club must factor in somewhere.

[Editor’s note: You, too, can belong to an elite club!]

6) Why do you think Stonehenge models and replicas so often wind up being an assemblage of trilithons rather than being more like Stonehenge? Why is the trilithon such a powerful and memorable symbol?

That is a very significant question. There’s no doubt that “two uprights and one horizontal” is immediately Stonehenge and it’s been a famous icon in the public’s attention for at least 300 years now. From the standalone pylons of Egyptian temples, through the Temple of the Sun at Tiwanaku to the Greek letter PI [Editor’s note: one could add the Japanese Torii gate and Tonga’s Ha’amonga’a Maui Trilithon.] there’s something about the trilithon form that aches with antiquity and latent symbolism.

Perhaps it’s the “doorways upon doorways” meme that Henry of Huntingdon came up with in the early 12th Century AD [Editor’s note: English scholar Henry of Huntington wrote in 1130, describing Stonehenge as a place “where stones of an amazing size are set up in the manner of doorways, so that one door seems to be set upon another. Nor can anyone guess by what means so many stones were raised so high, or why they were built there.”]  that’s the root of it for our culture, or maybe Spinal Tap have had a fundamental impact on humanity that will echo down the ages.

I also think that the idea of a continuous “ring beam” [Editor: Simon is using the term “ring beam” here to refer to the continuous circle of curved lintels that is thought to have topped the upright sarsens of Stonehenge’s outer circle.] doesn’t figure in many people’s consciousness, so they end up doing a ring of separate trilithons instead.

7) Is there anything you would like to say about Stonehenge replicas? Do you have any stories connected with one that you would like to share?

More full size ones please! I realise that’s a big ask, but perhaps it’s something for an ice sculpture festival to tackle. I’ve had a small involvement with one full size trilithon replica with my friends Tim Daw and Julian Richards. Julian’s an archaeologist and Stonehenge obsessive. Back in the 1990s he made a TV documentary called “Secrets of Lost Empires” where he and a team of engineers and volunteers attempted—successfully —to erect two 40 ton concrete uprights and a 10 ton lintel as a replica of the tallest trilithon that ever stood at Stonehenge.

After the programme, the components were dismantled and stored on a nearby military base, in a car park, until a few years ago when the army rang him up and asked if he wanted them back as they were getting in the way of their tanks. Julian asked me if I knew anyone who had some land where they might be moved to, and perhaps re-erected in a new project—and I immediately thought of Tim.

Tim’s a visionary. He built the first new “long barrow”, as a columbarium, in 5,500 years and has spawned an industry of modern barrow-makers as a result. [see Clonehenge’s post on the Long Barrow at All Cannings here] He jumped at the chance and these large lumps of concrete were low-loaded from the military base to Tim’s farm, where they await the attention of an intrepid bunch of Stonehengineers. [see Clonehenge’s post about the rediscovery and moving to Tim’s farm of the pieces of the concrete trilithon here]

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photos of the parts of the concrete trilithon at rest on Cannings Cross Farm

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Stonehengineers, those who helped erect the concrete trilithon the first time

8) Is there anything you think more people should know about Stonehenge itself?

Everyone who’s interested in the astronomy of the site should read Gordon Freeman’s “Hidden Stonehenge”—not least because he is one of the few archaeoastronomer researchers who actually spent considerable time on-site observing and photographing at key points in the year, over many years. He identified a secondary solstitial axis that runs from Winter Sunrise to Summer Sunset and explains why the Altar Stone is (a) flat on the ground and (b) at 80° to the primary axis. I helped Gordon confirm some of his observation data and had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago.

More generally, the most recent research is suggesting that the society responsible for Stonehenge’s construction was almost completely eradicated by an incoming population from the Continent in the early Bronze Age. If this is true, then we have—in Britain—no direct ancestral connection to the builders of it. That’s something of a shock, as Stonehenge is a touchstone of British identity. The argument about the DNA evidence from early Beaker graves that suggests this is likely to get quite heated.

9) Do you have any advice for hengers?

If you’re going for realism, don’t forget the Heel Stone, the Slaughter Stone, the Station Stones and the Altar Stone. Note that the central trilithons increase in height towards the southwest and they’re all taller than the sarsen circle that surrounds them. If you’re going to include figures in the middle, make them archaeologists having a fight and—above all—think BIG and have fun! (Hengers, take heed!)

10) Do you have any advice for Clonehenge itself?

Frankly, I don’t think it could be any better. [!!!] Except, maybe—Clonehenge merchandise? I feel the need to make a Clonehenge out of Clonehenge coffee mugs—or is that too much like meta-henging?

[Editor: Not at all. Plus, meta-henging is a good thing! 😉 We will be working to make Clonehenge mugs and perhaps eventually other merchandise available from print-on-demand sites in both in the UK and the States, so that neither place will have to pay exorbitant postal fees, hopefully some time in the near future.]

Thank you very much, Simon! Thus ends our two-part interview with the illustrious Stonehenge devotee. We hope you have enjoyed it and perhaps learned something! You can find the first part of the interview here. We should note with gratitude that upon the occasion of our visit to Stonehenge in 2015, Simon went out of his way to meet us there and give us a calendar with his own photos of Stonehenge. We were quite honoured!

Gentle Readers: Do you have questions about Stonehenge or about Stonehenge replicas in any form? If you have a question that is in any way connected to our topic, get in touch on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a comment below, and we will answer or get in touch with someone who can answer your questions. We will also consider requests for posts on related topics.

And of course, until next time, friends, happy henging!

The Stonehenge Perspective on Henging, Part 1: Introducing Simon Banton!

Above: Simon Banton at that famous pile of rocks:

You can notice a lot of subtleties about Stonehenge if you spend 6 years looking at it from all angles in all weathers and lighting conditions.”

It may seem to go without saying that the idea of Stonehenge replicas is inextricably tied to Stonehenge, but we’ve been thinking it needs a little more talking about. What do all these Stonehenge replicas look like to people who are actually familiar with Stonehenge?

Well, a peculiar outcome of doing Clonehenge over the years has been the unexpected pleasure of getting to know a number of people who are connected with Stonehenge in one manner or another. Those people have made us aware of aspects of Stonehenge and its landscape that we knew nothing of before we began this blog and our life of folly. That, in turn, has changed what we see and look for in Stonehenge replicas.img_0552

It is in this context we would like to introduce to you Mr. Simon Banton. A few readers may remember him as the fellow who when he found himself at a pub that had children’s toys, made and sent us some Clonehenge art on an Etch-A-Sketch (How do we love this? Let us count the ways!).

But there is a great deal more to him than that, as the photo at the top suggests. He is good natured and deeply knowledgable and has two blogs, The Stones of Stonehenge, with a page devoted to each stone at Stonehenge, and Stonehenge Monument, with information about Stonehenge and the surrounding landscape of the World Heritage Site. We asked him for an interview, and to our delight he agreed. The result is remarkable, if a bit technical in places. We intended to post only a short edit of the interview, but it is so full of information and good thoughts, stories, and ideas that we’ve decided to post most of it, split into two parts, with helpful (we hope) commentary, links, and photos added.

A note to start, because this will come up:

As some will know, there is a commonly agreed-upon numbering system for the stones at Stonehenge. For example, this trilithon, originally part of the outer circle so it would have supported the ends of two more lintels, shows upright stones 4 and 5 plus the lintel, which is 105.
4 5 105(Just ignore the show-off bustard. Apparently bird tourists are permitted inside the circle of the ditch and bank, unlike the rest of us that day. Not fair, but as they say, what is?)
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Stonehenge numbered stone plan by Author ©Anthony Johnson 2008

The plan on the right, showing numbers for each stone, is linked to a larger version. And now, the first part of our interview with Simon:

1) First, for the reader, what has been your involvement with Stonehenge over the years? I understand you worked there. For how long and in what capacity?

I first saw Stonehenge when I went to the very last Stonehenge Free Festival in 1984, before the authorities clamped down on it at the infamous Battle of the Beanfield of 1985 (Google it and watch the YouTube vids). Being in and around the monument had a profound effect on me, at the time I was only 19 years old.

When, in 2000, English Heritage, the Police and Wiltshire Council did away with the 3 mile radius exclusion zone that had been in place at Summer Solstice ever since 1985, I felt compelled to go along to that first “Managed Open Access” event to get back inside the stone circle. That, too, was a transformative experience. It poured with rain all night long and 5000 people were thoroughly soaked by the time dawn arrived, with no sign of the Sunrise.

I’d developed a keen interest in archaeoastronomy in the mid-1990s (I’ve been an amateur astronomer since I was 9 years old) and I was actively researching Egyptian sky-mythology. Stonehenge was the next logical step. By 2010 I’d moved to within 3 miles of Stonehenge and I became an Education Volunteer for English Heritage… Within a couple of months this turned into a job as a member of the Visitor Operations Team, standing on the path next to the stones and getting paid for telling people about the place. I did this for 6 years and loved it – it gave me unprecedented levels of access to the stone circle and allowed me to carry out my own research. You can notice a lot of subtleties about Stonehenge if you spend 6 years looking at it from all angles in all weathers and lighting conditions.

2) How many Stonehenge models or replicas do you own, if any?

I have a bronzed resin cast model of Stones 4, 5 and 105 that is 8″ high and mounted on a plinth that reads “It’s smaller than I imagined”. I helped a local firm with their project to Stonehenge modelcreate these casts as souvenirs to sell in their shop in Amesbury and they gave me a prototype as a thank you. Stone 5 is the one with the large yellow lichen “DI” lettering that’s visible on its eastern face, a remnant of the RADIO CAROLINE graffiti from the 1960s.

I’ve also got a 1′ high x 2′ wide beaten metal and weld sculptural picture of the monument, done by my friend Michelle Topps of Horseshoes4Hounds (https://www.facebook.com/horseshoes4hounds). Both are utterly unique – I don’t go for snowglobes and the like!
Stonehenge weld picture

[Editor’s note: This is Quite a Nice Thing! Also—a reminder to our readers that opinions of  an interviewee are not necessarily the opinions of the interviewer. We love snowglobes and it’s not too late to send us one!]

3) How many ‘clonehenges’ have you made, if any, and what were the materials?

I’ve done one out of bricks (hasn’t everyone?) Teahengebut these bricks were the ones that used to line the edge of the visitor path around the monument, and I acquired them when they were torn up as part of the refurbishing of the path back in 2013. I did once make a trilithon out of snow, which is a whole lot trickier than you’d think, and then there was the 5-minute “boxes-of-herbal-tea-henge”, which was a joint effort with other members of the Stonehenge staff when management somewhat over-ordered one day 🙂

4) What do you find amusing, irritating, or remarkable about Stonehenge models or replicas you’ve seen? Do any in particular stand out, whether as good, bad, funny, or impressive? Do you have a favourite?

I’m always amused by the lengths people will go to to henge things – but I feel vaguely sad when no attempt is made to make something recognisably close to the original in any way. There’s more to a good clonehenge than that.

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 9.31.48 AMIt also irritates me when the models that English Heritage sell have glaring errors. Don’t get me started on the large models in the exhibition at the Visitor Centre – the Station Stones are so out of whack that “rectangle” is the last word you’d use to describe their arrangement! They also forgot to include the Altar Stone when the models were first made, and when they did finally add them in, they glued them down at 90° to the primary solstitial axis instead of the correct 80° – that really grinds my gears, because the 80° angle is fundamental to the design of the monument. [Editor’s note: The plan above and to the left shows the rectangle formed by the Station Stones at Stonehenge. The rectangle formed by these stones is considered important by some because, along with the alignments of these and other stones, it may be part of the reason Stonehenge was built where it is.]

29570597_10155564264413022_4968747390063919463_nThe most impressive has got to be Deller’s “Sacrilege” [Editor: the famous inflatable Stonehenge that toured a few years ago. In this we do not disagree!]. Even though it doesn’t have all the stones, it has just enough of them, done accurately enough that it’s unmistakably close to the real thing. And it’s enormous fun to bounce on. [Editor: On the left, or above, depending on the device you’re using to see this, is a photo of Deller’s bouncy Stonehenge with Simon on the right and English Heritage archaeologist Dave Field on the left. Photo by and with permission of the fabulous Pete Glastonbury.]

My favourite is the one at Esperance, Australia. Although I’ve not seen it in person, I love that it’s a close replica made of actual stone and that it’s correctly rotated 180° from the prototype [Editor: because of its location in the Southern Hemisphere]. It’ll last as long as the original and baffle future archaeologists. •

We end the first part of our interview with Simon Banton here. There’s plenty of information to digest. His opinions about why so many people make Stonehenges, what he would like to see in them, and other advice for hengers, as well as a little advice for Clonehenge itself, are ahead in the next part of the interview. Be sure to tune in!

And until next time, of course, happy henging!

That Bird’s-Eye View of the Stonehenge Pandemic

Image from the article: art by Alison Dubois

It’s in Good Magazine this month, and its title is How Stonehenge Replicas Became the World’s First Meme.

A number of people who are significant in the henging community were interviewed for this article, notable among them the irrepressible Mark Cline of Virginia Foamhenge and the fibreglass Bamahenge fame, and Jim Reinders, builder of Nebraska’s famous Carhenge. The author, Jed Oelbaum, also sought out prolific hengers of the small henge variety, long time and beloved friend of the blog Simon Burrow, and Matthew Richardson, known as Matt Rich on Facebook where he posts pictures of his endless and innovative henges.

It is a fun read for those of us who have been following henging for many years now, but the most jarring bit was the claim that some person who calls themself “Nancy Wisser” is the perpetrator of the Clonehenge blog and related Facebook and Twitter accounts. We questioned everyone on the large staff here at our luxurious suite of offices at Clonehenge, Incorporated, and at our satellite office complexes throughout the world, and no one had even heard of this alleged person.

“It sounds like a fake name to me,” said Hedgehog von Tapwater, a high-paid manager in the Clonehenge hierarchy, absentmindedly brushing back his fashionably purple hair. “And the things said about them are just absurd. Listen to this:

‘There’s almost no way to seriously research the phenomenon of Stonehenge recreations without interacting with Wisser’s exhaustive work. She might be the only one out there with enough of a bird’s-eye view of the Stonehenge pandemic to understand it. Her mix of humor and historical rigor has allowed her to build relationships with the full range of Stonehenge aficionados: astronomers and archaeological experts, compulsive micro-henge builders, and conspiracy theorists who suspect it was built by aliens.’

It makes it sound as if there’s just one eccentric person out there managing the Clonehenge empire as an unpaid hobby rather than the team of skilled experts we have monitoring the news from the world of henging 24 hours a day!”

And that seemed to be the consensus of the entire staff here. It is a fantastic, extremely well-written article, except for this peculiar detail. In fact, we recommend everyone read it and try to help us understand, if you can, how this Wisser character, whoever he or she is, wound up being interviewed about perhaps the most important topic facing the world today: Henging–why the heck is it happening and down what unfathomable path is it leading mankind?

Again, here is the link: How Stonehenge Replicas Became the World’s First Meme.

And the best part? The article does not even mention Spinal Tap! For this reason alone, we couldn’t be happier.

The worldwide proliferation of Stonehenge replicas is being recognised ever more widely. Become a henger now, so you can say you did it before it was cool!* Until next time, Gentle Readers, we wish you, of course, the happiest henging!

*It has always been cool.