from English Heritage
Your Christmas card from the Clonehenge blog. Merry Christmas!
from English Heritage
Your Christmas card from the Clonehenge blog. Merry Christmas!
photo by trollpowersaab, with permission
We usually try to mix it up, leaving days between similar henges, but the picture above seemed just right for Christmas eve. Babbacombe Model Village is a collection of scale models of buildings and scenes, one of them, of course, being another miniature version of our old friend from Salisbury Plain. This time of year, the whole display is supplied with artificial snow and festooned with holiday lights.
Here’s another view of the model, in the form of an e-postcard you can send through the Babbacombe website. Interestingly, in 2005 mini-druids began appearing mysteriously throughout the village, in what was called a Banksy-like incident!
We feel like we should like this replica a little more than we do. It looks pretty good, and yet something is just not right, maybe the proportions, maybe just a lack in gravitas. For its purpose, however, it is completely adequate, and it’s the holidays so we’ll be generous. Score: 7½ druids for the model henge. Happy Christmas, everyone! Expect tomorrow’s post to be a short one.
photo by top_gun_1uk, with permission
Back to Stonehenge’s home country for today’s post, and a Stonehenge made of something that may be under a Christmas tree near you in two days’ time–less, really! At Legoland Windsor, outside London, visitors are treated to this mini-Stonehenge of Lego bricks, complete with mini-people and backed by a miniature Glastonbury Tor.
The Lego company sponsored a Stonehenge-making contest this summer, by the way, and you can see the winners here. That many of them are not made of Legos surprised us, but it’s an interesting (to us, anyway) collection of replicas. Well done, kids!
Compared to some henges we’ve posted lately, at least whoever made the henge above took time to look at Stonehenge first. The “stones” have those characteristic Stonehenge proportions and the look of rounded squareness that many models fail to capture. The colour was a nice choice, too. Lego professionals know how to get it done! Score: 7½ druids for the plastic megaliths of brick.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.