Stonehenge: Athens, Georgia

Stonehenge in Athens, Georgia.

photo by Bill Windsor from RoundAmerica.com, with permission

Wow, it’s cold here in Clonehenge territory, so how about a post from a warmer clime? This one’s down in Georgia, home of the Guidestones, which we will get to another day. This is quite a different monument, originally built at the entrance to a subdivision called Stonehenge. It is the only henge we know of to have the name Stonehenge carved into its lintel.

Well, look at it. This was never a serious replica, but more of an elaborate sign. The only interesting thing about it is the names of the streets around it: Heelstone Avenue, Salisbury Plain Drive, Sarsen Circle and so on. A nice twist, but it won’t help it with the judges when they do the scoring. Score: 3 druids.  But the thing is, we still couldn’t resist visiting it if we were in the area. Must be that Stonehenge mystique!

Here it is on Google Street View!

The Arctic Henge, Iceland

arctichenge

photo from Northsailing News

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

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

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photos from arctichenge.com

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

arctic-henge

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

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

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

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

Snowhenge the First, Antarctica

snowhenge2

photo by David Mantripp, with permission

And here it is, folks, as we roll into winter solstice, our first henge from Antarctica. Not the only one mind you–it seems that all that time down there without TV, stuck in a building with a small group of people in the midst of a monotonous landscape, possibly with an excess of banjo music (that last is just a hunch!) takes people to that unique point on the psychological landscape where building a henge seems either like the logical thing or the most hilarious thing to do. And there they are with all that snow to work with . . .

In this case, the man behind the camera even took the name Snowhenge and  has a website, recently refurbished, at snowhenge.net , which includes this delightful and touching bit of henge explication:

Snowhenge is, or was, an artefact built in January 1992 on the Filchner Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Its architects were myself, Jeff Ridley, and Peter Webb. It doesn’t have a deep and meaningful reason, but it goes to show that there isn’t much on TV in Antarctica. It was used in an experimental effort to invoke Druidic powers to refill a sadly depleted bottle of Bushmill’s best Irish Whiskey, but this ended in tragic failure.

We wish it had worked. What a coup for henge building! Maybe it was a design flaw. If any of you perfect the technique, please write. As for score, well, it’s a new continent for Clonehenge, quite far away. The thought that a wild penguin could wander through one of those trilithons gives us chills! Plus we’re a sucker for a good henge story  and, heck, we can see the Bushmills in the picture to illustrate it . . . so 8½ druids for the henge from where December days are long. Happy solstice, everyone!

Major West’s Stonehenge, built c. 1830

quinta-house

photo from this page of a Polish site on Stonehenge

Today is the one month anniversary of the start of Clonehenge and our 50th post. We did finally find some Stonehenge replicas from Antarctica (guess what they’re made of!), but permissions for the photos have not come through, so we will instead post the earliest Stonehenge replica we can find a picture for, a folly built near Quinta House by Major Richard West, somewhere around 1830. One reference says it’s in Shropshire, another says Denbighshire. [And word is in–Shropshire it is!)

If you’re interested in Stonehenge replicas, then be sure to click on the link in the caption,  the replica page of Krzysztof Kułacki’s Stonehenge site.  It’s a very interesting site and he has some different replicas on his list, including this one. There’s more info on this replica in this book, by Aubrey Burl.

Compared to some we have seen in the last month, this is a weak stone circle, but being the earliest of its kind (that we could find) helps it with the judges. Score: 8 druids for this forerunner henge!

And thank you to any and all readers and contributors out there for joining us for the first month of fun. Many more to come, although posting may slow somewhat from now until the New Year begins. Tomorrow is solstice, isn’t it? We may look at a different kind of Stonehenge replica for that.

Nunica Henge, Michigan

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photo by Daniel E. Johnson, with permission

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

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

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

Stonefridge, a Fridgehenge, New Mexico


Fridge Henge at Sunset
, Originally uploaded by longristra

Today we finally get to Fridgehenge or, as the artist called it, Stonefridge, a Stonehenge replica built of refrigerators. It was removed in 2007, but when it stood it was understood to be a work of art, commenting on consumer culture and the environmental ramifications of the way we live. There is said to have been another fridgehenge in New Zealand.

Fridgehenge stood outside Santa Fe, New Mexico for almost a decade. It was aligned with Los Alamos Labs as Stonehenge was with heavenly bodies, and the people who did the heavy work wore loincloths and used primitive technology to move the fridges while the process was caught on videotape. In the end the city decided it was a health and safety hazard and the henge was destroyed, which seems somehow fitting. More can be read here.

Thank you, longristra, for use of your photo. To this ephemeral henge we award 7 druids. As with a star flaming out in a distant galaxy, its existence will continue to echo for long after its demise!

Kuala Lumpur Henge, planetarium replica

kuala-lumpur-henge

photo by Lee Kelleher, with permission

We whisk you away to far Malaysia, where the capital city is the site of a grand planetarium open to tourists, part of which is the Ancient Observatory Park. The park boasts replicas of several ancient observatories including Wiltshire’s finest. You can see a few more pictures of it here.

It is a strange recreation of Stonehenge, in fact one wonder whether people looked at a picture of the original before they made it. Something about the proportions brings to mind Pezhenge. We don’t know whether or not it is oriented to the skies. The stones, it appears, are not real stones. One tourist mentions that they are hollow inside.

Still, as you may have noticed, we grade on a curve, in this case the broad curve of the earth’s surface from Merry Olde England to Southeast Asia. Score for this exotic henge: 6½ druids. Somehow we doubt it gets crowded at solstice!

eBay Stonehenge Replica

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Being sold on eBay in the U.S. right now, this is one of the souvenirs that English Heritage sells online and in their gift shops–a Stonehenge that fits in your hand.

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These little mass-produced models are interesting enough to go home with tourists, but the sort of thing that you look at after a while and wonder, “What did I think I was going to do with this?”

If you live in the States, you still have time to get this for your favorite Stonehenge fanatic. We don’t know the people who are selling it. We just saw it and thought we should pass it along. Despite its careful stone placement, we can’t give it more than 5½ druids, but it will do in a pinch, and probably fit in a stocking.

Texas II, Stonehenge Fever

stonehenge-iiaphoto by knobonk, shown by permission

We mentioned when we posted the Odessa Stonehenge that Texas was one of the states that boasts (at least) two large Stonehenge replicas. This is the other, a neat little circle tucked into the Texas Hill Country. We don’t doubt that, as the Stonehenge II website says, it makes quite an impression when unsuspecting family and friends arrive there on what they thought was just a drive in the country!

The effect is enhanced by the presence of Easter Island heads, one on either side of the henge, made by the same steel mesh and plaster method as all but one of the “stones” in the complex. Apparently a totem pole was planned, too, but couldn’t be executed before the death of the man behind the monument, Al Shepperd. You can see more of the site’s history here and here.

Another case of “Stonehenge Fever” as the Roadside America site calls it, that inexplicable something that makes Clonehenge possible. We have warmed to this circle since we first saw it. The flat pasture is a plus and the charming thought of children playing hide-and-seek among the stones is irresistible. How many replicas can allow that? Score: 8 druids for this family-friendly Stonehenge!

You can see it on Google Street View here.

Pezhenge. Oh, yes.

pezhenge

photography and hengery by deadeyebart a.k.a. Brett, shown with permission

Truly we can say  that the thing which we have desired is now ours! We tracked down the Pezhenge in the Smithsonian video, and mad henger deadeyebart not only has generously allowed us to post it, but has pointed out other henges to be seen in his photostream on Flickr. Thank you, Mr. bart! No doubt more will appear here.

Take it all in, the giddying variety of Pez heads and the clever candy lintels. Poor Shrek even plays the part of a fallen upright. We know it isn’t accurate, but that’s not what this one is for, is it? Score: 7½ druids for being fully in the spirit of Clonehenge!