Henry Browne’s Cork Models–some real history


photos from the website of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, U.K.

Society often mocks those who are obsessed, but time and time again they are the ones who accomplish much and who see the need for action in their field  long before others do. Such a man was Henry Browne, who lived from 1769 to 1839 and devoted his later years entirely to the study, chronicling and protection of Stonehenge.

The story of how he made his first cork Stonehenge replica is told in a footnote to page 77 of the book  Stonehenge and its Barrows, by William Long. He brought his tools and materials to the site and did all he could to imitate every aspect of the monument as it stood then, in the year 1824. He also made models of his idea of how Stonehenge looked originally.


Browne may have been the first to notice that the lintels were kept in place with notches and grooves and the first to suppose that lintels originally went all the way around the outside circle. He was among the first to see that Stonehenge needed to be conserved and protected from tourists as well as local residents who broke up stones for building.

A photo of  a Browne model in the Haslemere Museum, taken by the distinguished gentleman from Surrey, Mr. Andy Burnham, originator and Grand Poobah of the highly esteemed Megalithic Portal, may be seen here. This humble blog is to the Megalithic Portal as a child’s wooden block Stonehenge replica is to Stonehenge itself and we are greatly in Mr. Burnham’s debt for providing such a resource!

As to score, well, this man did it right. 9½ druids for Mr. Browne’s models.  They are now, as Mr. Burnham says, precious artefacts themselves.

Icehenge, Fairbanks’ Ephemeral Crystal Vision


cover of July, 2008 issue of American Surveyor magazine

Oooh, this is a good one! *rubs hands together* In March 2007 a group of people, some of them surveyors, built this Icehenge for the 41st annual Alaska Surveying and Mapping Conference in Fairbanks, which happened to fall at the same time as the Ice Alaska Ice Art Championship competition. Over 100 blocks of ice were used to create a full-sized replica of the inside of Stonehenge, using a pair of arcs of low posts to suggest the outer ring of sarsens.

Let’s see:  Inner bluestone circle? Check! Trilithon horseshoe? Check! Inner bluestone horseshoe? Check! Altar stone? Check! Okay so there are no Aubrey holes or ditch and bank but, people, these builders did their homework. We can subtract a bit for incorrect stone shapes and missing elements and still have a lot of druids left over for this henge!

icehenge-night1Click through this thumbnail (photo by Tula Belton) to see the American Surveyor article pdf with amazing pictures. And check out the Ice Alaska website for another set of pictures.  We like it that, because the sculpture would not live to summer solstice, they decided to orient it toward the sun position at noon on vernal equinox.

Yes, we’re effusing–so sue us. We don’t run across a Stonehenge replica like this every day. (In the future perhaps . . . ?) Score: 9 druids for this huge ice (megapagic?) monument. More, please!

Miniature Stonehenge, Saxony, Germany


photo by Jan Herold, with permission

“Herzlich Willkommen!” says the Miniwelt website. Miniwelt or Miniworld is another park of miniatures, in some ways similar to Cockington Green in Australia or Babbacombe Gardens in England. And, of course, they have a Stonehenge all their own. Here is the official view, from their website.

miniweltWhat do you think? Are these worked stones or molded cement? Tough to say. [Later note: we have it from the photographer that they are indeed stone.] The proportions are certainly better than the Brisbane model and we like it a little better than Babbacombe’s, too. Legoland Windsor still wins when it comes to shape and proportions of the stone, I’m afraid.

The question people have put to us is, Where are the Avebury replicas? Why is it only Stonehenge? We think that a place like this would seem twice as classy if it replaced its Stonehenge with an Avebury, but we doubt it will ever happen!

Score? 6 druids. After all, we see some bluestones in there, and isn’t that a heelstone? Someone gets it, sort of.

Henges We Admire

We probably have 100 pictures in the Henge category on our bookmarks list. Many we hoped to post have proved elusive, most because emails and comments asking permissions for photos have gone unanswered. Since today has been a different kind of day in our world, here is a different kind of post. Normal posting will resume tomorrow, barring unforeseens. These are the best from among the  Stonehenge replicas we have been unable to post.

Plane Henge, another work by the Mutoid Waste Company, in Australia.

What appears to be a wooden Stonehenge model.

A mysterious miniature Stonehenge replica built on a little hill. If anyone knows where this is, please tell us!

iPod Shuffle henge.

A nice garden henge–with added Buddha and  Easter Island head! From, fittingly for today, the Obama Gardens of Hope.

Possibly the best-ever snow henge, those wacky Antarctica people once again! (Do we see bunny ears in there?!)

And one of our very favourites: a virtual glasshenge.

So there you are, some of the henges we’d been hoping to present. Maybe one or two of you will even decide to click on the links! Thank you for your continued interest. Aren’t people amazing? (And wouldn’t the inauguration ceremony have been enhanced by a Stonehenge replica set up somewhere on the Mall?!)

Beach Stonehenge: Welsh replica


photo and henge work by mord and friend Joseph

Beaches are places where stones come together with people who have free time, so there are plenty of photos of henges made from beach stones. We’ve been waiting for some time, though, to find one as nice as this one. In most of the ones we’ve seen, inappropriate stone shapes blunt the impact of the henge structures.  In this case, however, mord must have had a picture in his head of a basic Stonehenge stone shape and searched for stones to match. Even the stone colours are close. Nicely done!

Of course, the circle is made entirely of trilithons with no inner horseshoe or rings, but compared to any other beach henge this one rules! The next best may be this picture from Lake Baikal,because it’s nice to be able to see  a henger in action.

The photo is nice here, too, with the pier echoing the henge structure and with shadows to suggest its sundial capabilities.  Score for this graceful Penarth Henge: 6 druids. And mord promises another when the weather gets better!

Back to Burning Man: Dead-computer-tower henge


photo by dratomic2012, with permission (free electronica music at link)

What is it with Burning Man? It seems that the link between the ancient or third-world shamanic mystique and modern cybertechnology, which  many instinctively feel, rises to the surface there (much as it does in some of the henge works of Simon Burrow).  Here we see an installation from the 2006 gathering–a Stonehenge replica made of dead CPUs (central processing units) or computer towers.

Lighting creates much of the drama here, with the red implying activity inside while cool green, which also lights the seared earth, illuminating the inactive. It gives the feeling of a structure in which the parts consult with one another, burning with a common fire.

Score: 6½ druids for this striking vision created from everyday junk that once was wondrous technology and now is coaxed into an ancient form of great psychological power. Modern life is complex!

Circle of Life, Connecticut’s Stonehenge


photo by Sean Kernan, reprinted from the NY Times.

Here’s one of the more famous Stonehenge replicas, named The Circle of Life. It even has its own website and a description of its creation process by the man hired to oversee the process.  Conceived by and on the property of Jonathan Rothberg, who hired Darrell Petit to get it done, it is made up of 700 tons of Blue Pearl Fjord granite from Norway and stands in Sachem Head, Connecticut.

The story is that the idea for this Stonehenge replica was born when plans for an astronomical observatory were rejected by the local zoning board. They say this wasn’t revenge exactly . . . *grin* Anyway, it was built very carefully, astronomically correct (costing, of course, a bundle of $$!), and ultimately the fascination with the project itself overtook the  original impulse.

It’s a classic and leaves us in awe, as much at what money and modern technology make possible as of the structure itself. Score: 7½ druids for this one, maybe 8, although there is no inner ring, no great trilithons, no ditch and bank. What really inspires awe in us is the undying impulse to rebuild Stonehenge and the myriad ways it is manifested by the hands of men!

Peephenge–and PeepHenge


photo and henge by deadeyebart a.k.a. Brett, with permission

When we started, we didn’t think there were enough Stonehenge replicas to last us more than a month, certainly not to go on until 2009. But here we are, well into January, with new henges cropping up all the time. People are wackier than we thought! Which is a good thing. Mostly.

But few are wackier than our friend the Mad Henger, deadeyebart. This peephenge is part of his henging oeuvre. We say “this peephenge” because, well, ta-da! [link] (Please to take note of what’s going on in the last picture on that page. Shocking! And they remembered the bluestones!) Mr. bart is not alone in his peephenginess. Those people at Lord of the Peeps are giving him a run for his marshmallow.

Still, there’s something about the simple structure above, with the bright colours on black. These peeps have an ancient weathered look, as if they have been marinating in light and time for millennia until now they are hiding the secrets of the ages. Yet they would probably still get hot and gooey after a few seconds in the microwave. What a treat!

All peeps are made at a factory a few miles from Clonehenge Headquarters (more peep truthiness here), but we don’t let that bias our sombre decisions. Score: 6 druids for being wacky and for reminding us of spring!

Bluestone Henge: Transported magically from Wales to you!


photo and henge by the good people at Lost Stones, with permission

We had a post on the controversies concerning  bluestones at Stonehenge almost written when the electric went out and Blam, it was gone. We’ll take that as an omen and cut to the chase!

Stonehenge’s bluestones are small with no lintels, forming an inner circle and an inner horseshoe. They were brought by glaciers or Merlin or winter sleds or water and log rollers from the Preseli Hills in Wales to the Salisbury Plain, over 400 km (250 miles). Why? Heh. We know but we’re not telling! 😉 Maybe they were thought magical, or healing. Maybe it was just how when cut they show star-like white spots as you see above.

No builders we know of, even those who claim they have the “most exact replica in the world!” (I know, right? And yet there are several.), bothered to match the stone types used at Stonehenge. This goes part way. These real bluestones come from the legal source in the Preseli Hills that supplies Lost Stones. This picture isn’t on that site, but ask. And check out their trilithons, baby!

We have plenty more to say here, but it’s time to go. Scoring: 6½ druids for taking geology into account. We like it!

*By the way, a friendly wave and hello to any readers blown our way by search-engine winds while navigating for more about the newly dicovered bluestone circle near Stonehenge. We invite you to have a look around the blog. We’ve posted photos or links to well over 200 Stonehenge replicas and there are more to come. We suggest a look at our interview and the list of Large Permanent Replicas for a start!

Kansas presents Stonehenge, Jr.: Wichita’s Stonehenge?


photo by Ingrid Stamatson, with permission [her sweeps site]

Back to the question, What makes a Stonehenge replica? Stonehenge is like the elephant of the old story. One man sees an architectural structure, one sees an ancient temple, one sees megalithic culture, one sees a solar / astronomical calendar, another just sees an emblem of fair England, and each makes his replica according to what he sees, so that one Stonehenge replica may not even resemble another or its parent to outside eyes.

As with Mystical Horizons and the Arctic Henge, this ‘henge’ doesn’t look like Stonehenge: no lintels, no horseshoe, no ditch and bank. Yet, since it has picked up on one aspect of Stonehenge in an original and engaging way and it’s often referred to as Stonehenge, Jr., we think it’s worth a post. Quote from the Roadside America page on it: “On the Equinoxes the rising sun shoots through a large metal eye perched atop one of the stones and illuminates a colored glass stone embedded in the ground.” We understand the solstices are similarly marked. More pix here.

Scoring? Well, we find the complex utterly charming and we would love to have it in our local park. What a great teaching device for children, magical enough to inspire future megaraks*! Still, we can’t ignore its dissimilarities to the real thing. Score: only 5½ druids–but we want one!

* Megarak. A combination of the words megalith and anorak. One who is very interested in megaliths, standing stones, prehistoric stone circles etc.