Durrington Stonehenge Almost Complete!

Durrington Stonehenge, photo and henge by Rhys Bliszko

Here is the latest update on the small Stonehenge being built outside the Stonehenge Inn in Durrington, Wiltshire. Daniel King of the Stonehenge Inn commissioned Bliszko Studio to sculpt and erect the Stonehenge replica because many tourists who visited Stonehenge complained about not being allowed to get close to Stonehenge or touch the stones.

“But people will be allowed to climb all over mine if they want,” King said. “It might be a bit smaller and not quite as old but at least you can get up close.”

We will no doubt post about about this again when it has been completed. We just felt it was time to applaud the work being done by artist Rhys Bliszko of Bliszko Studio !

Rumor has it the whole thing will light up at night. We can’t wait to see! Meanwhile it’s a great place to get a picture of a friend or yourself sitting on a trilithon.

And yes, we know we still have to post about the curious matter of Indonesia and its five Stonehenge replicas. We’re either just lazy or we’re trying to whet your appetite for it. You decide! 😉

Monument for a Poet: Kavishaila, Stonehenge in Karnataka!

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Kavishaila in Kuppalli, Bangalore, India: photo by @nikhilvshetty on Instagram.

This one is lovely.

It is rare to run across a replica that is built for reasons that are truly moving, but this is one. Kuvempu, the poet playwright and novelist in whose honour it was built (portrayed in a Google doodle on the anniversary of his birth in 2017*) when he died in 1994, was and is truly beloved by many speakers of the Kannada language in which he wrote, especially those who love the natural world and high-minded philosophy. Wikipedia says of this monument:

Kavishaila is a rock monument made of megalithic rocks and dedicated to Kuvempu. It is on the top of a small hill in Kuppalli. Arranged in a circular fashion, the rocks have been placed to resemble the Stonehenge in England. At the centre of this rock monument is the place where Kuvempu was laid to rest after his death and a memorial has been constructed at that location. Near this monument, is a small rock where Kuvempu used to sit and discuss about literature and other topics with his other literature friends.

The view from this high place is said to be breathtaking, green forest stretched out below with a view to the hills. It is recommended to be there at sunset when, as you see in the picture above, on a clear evening the light streams through the trilithons onto the place where the poet was laid to rest.

We know of many monuments and sculptures that resemble Stonehenge around the world, but that we hesitate to post here because we are not certain they were built with Stonehenge in mind. In this case, however, there seems to be no doubt. We don’t know what the connection is that inspired someone to erect a Stonehenge in this man’s honour (and perhaps we could discover that if we could read his language), but maybe it was just that the mystery and beauty and sense of something truly great that Stonehenge represents to so many people is the same feeling that the writings of this poet and thinker inspire in people.

Yes, as far as form goes, it is only a partial circle of straight-sided stone trilithons. But as with the beautiful partial Stonehenge in the far north of the Galician section of Spain placed high and looking out to sea to honour those who died at the hands of the brutal Franco regime, its meaning helps it to transcend its form. If we were still awarding our (humourously meant! Yes, we know they had nothing to do with it.) druid scores, this would get a solid 8 druids. A thing of beauty.

Before we finish talking about it, here is a fun addition. Looking through Instagram one day, as you do, we found an image of a replica of this replica. If you know us, you know we love the meta quality of that. Here it is, built for a display at the Lalbagh Botanical Garden in Bengaluru, India. It also speaks to how well known Kavashaila is in India.

Our thanks to friend Barry Teague for making us aware of this memorial, and to Nikhil V. Shetty for kind permission to use his lovely photograph here.

Oh, wait! We almost forgot to mention, Clonehenge was mentioned in the Guardian newspaper this week! We got a mention and a link in the thoughtful and many-faceted article about the Stonehenge tunnel dilemma, The Battle for the Future of Stonehenge, by Charlotte Higgins. Truly a privilege and a little moment of fame for this humble blogger. Many thanks to you, Ms. Higgins, and to whatever little bird may have whispered our name in your ear!

And so until next time, Gentle Readers, once again we wish you happy henging!

 

*The Kuvempu Google doodle, in which he appears to be seated at the site where Kavishaila was built:Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 9.33.30 AM.png

 

Alabama’s Stonehenge: “When the Aliens Land, They’re Going to be Confused”!

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Bamahenge, photo by Dennis Church, use according to Creative Commons license 2.0

“As it is, I’m probably the only man in history to build two full-size replicas of Stonehenge,” says Cline. “And to think it took the Neolithic people 1,500 years just to build one.” —from the article “How Stonehenge Replicas Became The World’s First Meme,” by Jed Oelbaum.

“You know, I’ve got some more plans for doing more structures in southern Alabama. Let’s put it this way, when the aliens land, they’re going to be really surprised and confused. That’s all I’m going to say.” —Mark Cline quoted on this site, by Brian Kelly.

Anyone who knows Clonehenge by now will know by these two quotations that we must be great fans of Mr. Mark Cline, and indeed we are! In the early days of the blog we were in touch with him by email several times, about his first replica, Virginia’s Foamhenge. We enjoyed his intelligence, enthusiasm, and humour. And, well, sheer wackiness!

Why it has taken us years to do an entire post about his fantastic fibreglass Stonehenge in the state of Alabama is difficult to understand. The truth is, we had forgotten that we had only posted about it on Facebook and Twitter and not here on the blog itself  (except, of course, for listing it on the list of Large Permanent Replicas). Today at last we rectify that situation.

This replica was commissioned by George Barber, who is, among a number of other things, owner of a marina in Elberta, Alabama. It is impressive, but one could argue that, because the stones are more uniform in shape, this is not as fine a replica as was Foamhenge. There are no bluestones, either, no ditch and bank, no extra or outlier stones. But—this henge goes one better. In the woods all around it, there are dinosaurs! The addition may not make a more perfect replica for the Stonehenge perfectionist, if there is such a thing, but in the eyes of Clonehenge, this rockets it into the rarified stratosphere of The Greats! A much better choice than Easter Island heads!

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The T-Rex, from the Elberta Dinosaurs FB page

As Atlas Obscura puts it on its Bamahenge post:
Cline’s work is big, typified by the dinosaurs that dot the landscape around his Virginia studio. It was these sculptures that caught the eye of Alabama billionaire George Barber, who wanted some dinosaurs for himself. He had Cline install four—a brontosaurus, a T-Rex, a stegosaurus and a triceratops—along the edge of the woods near Barber Marina in Elberta. Barber was so happy with the ginormous creatures, he commissioned Cline to create a replica Stonehenge for the marina property, reminiscent of the “Foamhenge” that Cline built in Virginia in 2004.

The whole thing has become quite an attraction in Alabama, with the only complaint being that it is somewhat difficult to find. Meanwhile, in the article by Jed Oelbaum that we quoted from above (and in which we figure prominently, so be sure to read it! 😉 ), Cline hinted at yet another Stonehenge replica commission that may come from George Barber. Owning two full-sized Stonehenges may never have been done before. Surely making three has not. Stay tuned for any news on that!

We leave you with this smattering of photos from a “Bamahenge” Google search. That’s Mark Cline in the third down on the left! He is truly a Clonehenge hero, contributing with humour, style, and a very American taste, to the Clonehenge epidemic. May he have joy, health, and prosperity as he henges!

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And until we meet here again, dear readers, we wish you, too, some very happy henging!

 

 

 

Happy Solstice Once Again: And Henges Continue to Increase!

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Kavishaila in Kuppalli, Bangalore, India: beautiful photo by @nikhilvshetty on Instagram, used with permission.

A joyous solstice to everyone! Whether it is winter or summer where you are, the year is about to turn. And although Stonehenge somehow manages to get itself into the news many times a year, it is at the solstices that we hear most about it and see its picture spread across the net. Young and few and far between must be those people who actually learn anything new from all those solstice articles that show up rewritten as if new twice a year without fail.

That is why you were wise to come to Clonehenge this solstice. We won’t drone on about pagan ritual or the exact moment the sun hovers over the Tropic of Capricorn. We will drone on about other things, especially about Stonehenges—the ones that aren’t really Stonehenge.

It has been a big year for them. People are making more Stonehenges than ever, and even at Stonehenge itself in September, both a Stonehenge cake and Jeremy Deller’s inflatable bouncy Stonehenge made an appearance. There was a Stonehenge-making contest in Shrewsbury, and English Heritage had one, too, but we’re not sure that last received any submissions. And people everywhere kept making Stonehenges large and small.

Plus, just when we thought there couldn’t be any more large permanent replicas out there [Well, to be honest, we no longer ever think that. We’re just saying it for effect.], we learned about three: in Sumatra, India, and the Philippines! We hope to do posts about each of those and any on the Large Permanent Replicas list that we haven’t done posts about, in the near future, but until then, feast your eyes on the lovely photo by Nikhil Shetty at the top of this post. That is the one in Bengaluru, India, and it has an interesting story behind it.

A note: a lot has changed since the Clonehenge blog started in 2008. People’s habits and the internet itself have changed. It feels like the Clonehenge blog concept is getting as old and creaky as we are. We have had to accept that despite how fascinating we find the topic, most people don’t have time to read blog posts about inconsequential things like Clonehenges. The internet has endless attractions now. Yet the large permanent henges, at least, deserve a few paragraphs of description and, if possible, explanation.

From here on in, we will probably only post here on this blog when there is some kind of Stonehenge replica news—it does happen! ask the people of Achill!—or when we find a new large permanent replica to add to the list. Otherwise, Clonehenge activity will take place on the Clonehenge Facebook group or Facebook page, or on the Clonehenge Twitter account. This has mostly been true for a while, but now we’re announcing it. So may it be.

In conclusion, we send out our best wishes to all for a joyous solstice, a happy Christmas if you celebrate it, a merry New Year celebration, and a wonderful year in 2019! And of course, until next time, dear gentle readers, happy henging!

Barking Mad: Clonehenge Mentioned on the Standing with Stones Podcast!

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That day at the Red Lion, photo courtesy of Standing with Stones. We’re in there somewhere.

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click on this picture to access the podcast

This post has been a while arriving. Way back in September, Clonehenge once again made the journey across the sea to visit old stones and old friends and meet new people. It felt like a headlong rush at the time, with insufficient sleep and more than sufficient alcohol, but it was also glorious. We would love to give you an account of it, but even our family fell asleep when we showed them the pictures, so we’ll let you off easy.

Since we’ve been home we have suffered some small-ish but distracting health problems, and it has taken us until now to get around to reflecting upon the wonder of it all. But wonderful it was, and among the wonders was the serendipity of having been staying just outside Avebury when there was a meeting planned at the Red Lion pub there, for both those affiliated with our longtime friends at The Heritage Journal and for those who made and those who admire the Standing with Stones film and podcast.

It was a treat to meet Nigel Swift from the Heritage Journal, who gave Clonehenge its first good write-up a long time ago, and a fun follow-up interview later. But we knew next to nothing, we are embarrassed to say, about Michael Bott and Rupert Soskin, who together make up the entity that is Standing with Stones. Very much to our surprise, they exclaimed upon meeting us that they had just mentioned Clonehenge on their podcast two weeks before!

Of course we have since listened to it. That whole episode of the podcast, which happens to be about megaliths around the world, is like all of their podcasts, entertaining and informative. The Clonehenge bit comes right at the end, their Bit of Whimsy. It is a delightful and flattering discussion of Clonehenge, the blog and affiliated bits. Yes, they do say we’re barking mad, and we have no argument with that, but they also call it brilliant—twice, if we recall. We’re still basking in the glow of it!

We are delighted to have met them, and it was also our very good fortune to meet the person they talk about in the segment of this podcast just before the Whimsy, what they call their Stone Head of the Month, but in this case, the Stone Head of All Time, who is founder and head of the Megalithic Portal, editor of the book you must have, The Old Stones, with information and in many cases pictures of over 1000 ancient sites in the British Isles, none other than Andy Burnham, the Megalith Master himself!

We met him. It was a good day. After all, it was due to a small competition or exchange with him in a chat box that used to be on the front page of his Megalithic Portal that Clonehenge was started at all. But that story has been told elsewhere. Among people interested in megaliths, in the U.K. and elsewhere, it is widely acknowledged that the Megalithic Portal has not only broadened horizons but changed lives. It has brought couples and good friends together and is an essential resource for fans of ancient sites around the world. Making Clonehenge possible is the least of its accomplishments.

The temptation now is to start listing all the other wonderful people we met during our trip to that fabled isle. We would love to say how delightful each one was, but the focus of this post, which has already gone on too long, is meant to be the podcast, and tangentially the meet-up, where we also had the great pleasure of the company of friends of the blog Brian Edwards and Simon Banton, and also new friends Hazel and Graham Orriss and their brilliant children.

We are flattered if not flabbergasted to have been mentioned by Standing with Stones. We are fortunate beyond imagining to have made the trip and to have gone inside Stonehenge twice, and to join friends to look for the sources of the bluestones in the Preseli Hills of western Wales. All of you who make Stonehenge replicas of every size and material have made this possible for us! We thank you.

And until next time, friends, happy henging!

Stonehenge Cake at Stonehenge! Centenary Day Has Arrived!

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From @EH_Stonehenge on Twitter:
“No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, there are two monuments at Stonehenge today. One is a giant cake fit for 2,500 hungry guests!

Look at this! (And yes, we include the obvious rain in that demand.) Look at the lichen on those lintels! Look at the shapes of those stones, including the little bumps and creases! The three-lintel stretch and Stone #56! This has to be the most accurate Stonehenge cake ever (and we’ve heard it includes spiced apple and blackberry cream, or similar. We will look into this and report back with corrections to that crucial information). And there it is, with Stonehenge in the background! *sigh* Perfection.

Not far away, at the Visitor Centre, Jeremy Deller’s inflatable bouncy Stonehenge is inflated and ready for bouncing. What a day for Stonehenge and English Heritage, yes, but more importantly, what a day for Stonehenge replicas! How we wish we were there, gentle readers.

Reason for the celebration? On this day, 100 years ago, Cecil and Mary Chubb gifted Stonehenge to the nation. It hasn’t been perfect. There is reason to doubt, as Mr. Tim Daw so eloquently makes the case. And the tunnel threat could soon ruin some important landscape around it, as prominent archaeologist and Stonehenge expert Michael Parker Pearson points out.

Still, we are a humble blog about Stonehenge replicas, sitting safely in the warm and dry an ocean away from the festivities and for now we are enjoying the clonehenges associated with this celebration! Congratulations to all, including everyone at English Heritage, and may Stonehenge continue to reign in the hearts and minds of people around the world!

(And inspire them to build more and better models of it!)

Kiss the stones for us!

Interview with a Historian: Stonehenge Replicas Through the Ages (and, a most fabulous object!)

Screen Shot 2018-10-22 at 3.21.15 PMbrilliant Stonehenge replica built by Brian Edwards and described below

We are finally posting our interview with historian Brian Edwards, Visiting Research Fellow at University of the West of England, Bristol. Even if he were connected with Clonehenge in no other way, the fabulous Stonehenge replica above would cement his fame on this blog! We have never seen one with this level of detail: the bus, the Visitor Centre, the ice cream truck (!), little replicas of replica round houses (we always love little metas!), Stonehenge landscape mounds, and much more, including the bustard we saw when we were hosted at Stonehenge by Mr. Edwards three years ago, and, underneath, the much-dreaded tunnel! This Stonehenge replica is absolutely brilliant.

But there is more to this gentleman than this unique and wonderful replica. He is a historian whose broad area of interest contains within it the phenomenon of Stonehenge replicas and their history—perhaps the only such historian in the world! His article called ‘Mr Toagis’s Stonehenge: An exploration of an uncelebrated benchmark in replica henge monuments to mark the tenth anniversary of Clonehenge’, published in an academic journal, actually mentions us, and once he mentioned Clonehenge on the radio during an interview. Truly a friend of the blog!

That said, we found it advisable, due to the academic style of writing, to append a [tl;dr] at the end of his answer to the first question, for those who find it a bit intimidating. After that, the academic language eases up a bit and you’re on your own. The answers  to questions 2 and 5 are particularly good, but if you are interested in Clonehenge and Stonehenge replicas, do read it all. And at the end we’ve posted a link to that Clonehenge mug you’ve all been meaning to buy. Solstice giving time is approaching!

  1. Clonehenge: What do you do, and how does it tie in with Stonehenge replicas?

I am the author of ‘Mr Toagis’s Stonehenge: An exploration of an uncelebrated benchmark in replica henge monuments to mark the tenth anniversary of Clonehenge’ (The Regional Historian, Annual Journal of the Regional History Centre, New Series No 1, 2018, pp. 26-31). Although not central to what I do, Stonehenge replicas offer entertainingly informative examples that illustrate my focus as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Regional History Centre, at the University of the West of England. My field is public history and historiography in relation to monuments. My research involves highlighting and interpreting contemporary and historical impressions of the past in the public domain, in comparison to what academic and professional historians discuss through learned journals and scholarly tomes. Having in excess of a three hundred year history of expressing consciousness of a prehistoric original, Stonehenge replicas highlight that throughout history monuments have been increasingly adopted, interpreted and reproduced in a variety of forms through layer upon layer of lay public interest irrespective of, and sometimes in contrast to, learned analysis and official sanction. Stonehenge replicas are not just fun, they are an important route through which anyone and everyone can join in. Moreover, as ‘Mr Toagis’ illustrates, replicas and their individual and collective histories offer various routes to studying.

[tl;dr: Part of what he studies is the public’s impressions of historic monuments, including Stonehenge. Also, as we said, he mentioned Clonehenge and it’s 10th anniversary in an article he wrote that was published in an academic journal!]

  1. Clonehenge: What and when was the earliest Stonehenge replica you know of?

It is commonly believed that the earliest known Stonehenge replica was produced in 1714 by the great antiquary William Stukeley (1687- 1765): a model of the stones “as is” that he put on display in London in 1751. Between these times a Stonehenge replica in the form of a stage set appeared in a pantomime, and Stukeley advised on a large scale “as was” replica of Stonehenge that was to be erected in nearby Wilton in Wiltshire. However, the earliest replica is potentially an item of very early eighteenth century jewellery, later recorded as being acquired for a royal collection in Europe. If confirmed, it would predate Stukeley’s model by between seven and twelve years. Even that may not be the earliest example in recorded history, and of course for all that is known a replica may have existed in prehistory.

  1. Clonehenge: When did you first get interested in Stonehenge replicas? When and how did you first learn about Clonehenge?

From memory Clonehenge almost immediately started to feature in conversations, it was topically discussed online by Wiltshire based enthusiasts, so I imagine I was aware through archaeological forum chatter quite early on. My personal introduction probably dates to encounters as a child, but I don’t recall any specific examples before the experience of witnessing the original from the A303. This was a typical stimulating encounter as experienced on journeys to and from the West Country for hundreds of years of course. That first time, in my case as a nine or ten year old, stands out because it fosters interest and makes one alert to other potential opportunities. Around the same time, I inherited an old unused sepia postcard of a Stonehenge model ‘in origin’ (early twentieth century San Bride postcard) that had been used as a bookmark inside a 1950s copy of Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki Expedition. This was among several books passed on by a friend of my mother, whose sons had reached adulthood and flown the nest. From the same family I received an ostrich egg, a boomerang, and a pair of Indian clubs.

  1. Clonehenge: How many Stonehenge replicas or models do you own?

Anything Stonehenge or Avebury related that I acquire, I tend to donate to a Wiltshire archive or museum sooner rather than later. The only example of a replica still in my possession is a large glass topped coffee table housing a model of Avebury henge, destined for Wiltshire Heritage Museum at some point.

  1. Clonehenge: How many Stonehenge replicas have you made? Would you describe one? We understand English Heritage is in possession of one that was of your making. How did that come about?

Earlier this year I built a replica from cheese puffs in order to photograph easy to follow stages for a competition. This was in connection with the Stonehenge Chubb Centenary Day, a village celebration of Cecil and Mary Chubb donating Stonehenge to the nation and us all one hundred years ago. Obliged to build a further replica for the same competition, but determined to be disqualified, I chose to make a model that was in excess of the size limit of 300 mm diameter. Supplemented by glue and paint, the materials were nearly all from what had been set aside for recycling. The basic idea started to expand as more and more of the contemporary dynamics that surround the original Stonehenge got included, and it grew into a three-tier construction.

The stones, visitors and official coaches formed the top layer, which also included some examples of the homes of some of the residents living on Byway 12, sometimes referred to as ‘The Drove’. A Great Bustard also features, in homage to the actual bird witnessed by the founder of Clonehenge when visiting Stonehenge. Complete with Perspex entrance kiosks and some of the replica huts seen at the actual site, the middle layer was a model of the visitor centre made from medicine boxes and water damaged cocktail sticks. The bottom layer included a replica of the Winterbourne Stoke barrow group, the other flanks featured the visitor centre car and coach parks, and on a corner a Speed-watch volunteer stood amidst road signage of the nearby village of Shrewton, the birthplace of Sir Cecil Chubb.

This section also included the proposed introduction of an A303 road tunnel, posed as a mock battle between skeletons and traffic within the World Heritage site. This idea of a tug-o-war between awakening skellies and the tunnel was prompted in particular by local traffic activists summarising contemporary traffic woes as the ‘living versus the dead’: this was the theme of a paper I presented at a post-medieval archaeology conference earlier in the year (“Slogans coined, songs written, rumours circulated,” … the withdrawal of post-medieval Stonehenge?) and is the basis of a forthcoming publication (The Living and the Dead: Public Engagement with Archaeology and the A303 at Stonehenge).

  1. Clonehenge: Are there any particular things you like to see in a Stonehenge replica? Of those made by others, do you have any favourites?

Outside of competitions and such as predetermined school projects I am not keen on fixed rules, lest any sort of regulation would chicane imagination.  Whilst broadly following a trend a replica doesn’t have to contain anything specific and doesn’t have to resemble the original, it merely requires thought and where possible an original idea or element. In my opinion it is counterproductive to adopt a stiff view about accuracy: to do so even in passing in connection with a painting or a model of Stonehenge, isn’t in the best interests of encouragement and so is not doing our collective experience, and therefore knowledge and understanding, any favours.

Among those of us tending to appreciate anything built in replication and model form, there is always an added element of admiration for anything created by lay individuals, with domestic, mundane and recycled materials, and of course by children. Of those smaller versions I have seen Doe-henge (created for the Stonehenge Chubb Centenary Day) was particularly inspired, but surely we all love the cakes and relate to the food-henges. As regards a full size Stonehenge, my favourite replica is the original, it is not after all a time-honoured ruin but reconstructed with available parts and propped up with concrete.

  1. Clonehenge: What thoughts do you have about the worldwide phenomenon of Stonehenge replicas and the fact that so many people spontaneously make Stonehenges? What do you think it says about public perceptions of Stonehenge?

The worldwide phenomenon of Stonehenge replicas illustrates the extent to which people are not only fascinated by the mysteries posed by the original, but seek to join in and enjoy developing tactile ways of experimenting. What this says to me about public perceptions of Stonehenge, is that those that care for and manage the original have no chance whatsoever of keeping up with public ideas, trends and demands, so expensively fixing on and committing to any given interpretation or presentation will inevitably find it outmoded and frustrating to elements of the wider public by the time it is enacted.

  1. Clonehenge: Are there any further points you would like to make in connection with Stonehenge or the replicas? Do you expect them to become more popular in the future?

There will be replicas as long as there are schools and museums that recognise that every new generation can benefit from a fun way of engaging with the prehistoric original.

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There you have it, friends—Stonehenge replicas, Clonehenges, if you will, will be always with us, so as long as we at Clonehenge live forever—and we have every reason to believe that we will—there will always be a Clonehenge blog here, mostly not being posted to. We certainly have many new henges to post, and more are appearing all the time. We have at least three more Large Permanent Replicas to do posts about, so we hope to post more soon. To see frequent henges in the meantime, follow us on Twitter and the Facebook Group and/or Page to see more that are popping up everywhere all the time!

As promised, here is the link to where you can buy a Clonehenge mug, a unique gift for your megalith-loving friends!

(If anyone in the UK would prefer the silver-tone rimmed enamel mugs below, much like the ones we gave to friends and people we admire in the UK, leave a message in the comments or email us at nancy@clonehenge.com. They are £10.10 per mug, shipping included. Shipping costs make it impractical to sell that model outside Europe.)

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And so, until next time, Gentle Readers, we wish you happy Halloween*, joyous Samhain, and of course, happy henging!

*Send us your Stonehenge pumpkins!