BrickHenge at Last!


photo and henge work by Dr. Thomas Grier, with permission

Somehow we got through 187 posts on Clonehenge (yes, 187. We’re as surprised as you are, believe me!) without posting a brickhenge. To quote an authority on Stonehenge replicas–that is to say ourselves–“anything vaguely rectangular and three-dimensional eventually becomes the material for a henge,” so brickhenges inevitably happen. Friend of the blog Simon Burrow blogged one, and there are others, even an album cover.  So how we managed to avoid posting one until now is hard to say. That is, unless you have no trouble pronouncing the word laziness.

But now, with the help of Tom Grier, professor at Winona State University in Minnesota, admirer of ancient sites, and, when it comes to visiting Stonehenge replicas, a spectacular repeat offender, we have a brickhenge to post without actually having had to type the word brickhenge into a search engine. Dr. Grier’s story goes like this:

One day while crossing campus, camera in hand, I saw a neatly stacked pile of bricks, with one or two resting against each other. For some reason, it reminded me of Stonehenge. I spent a moment or two rearranging a few bricks– with students and faculty walking by and snickering– then took a few photos. This was done just to amuse myself.

This is common in the afflicted. The henge form is able to manipulate the volition centers of the brain in a way that fools the victim into believing that he or she thought of and executed the construction of his own free will. This usually works more efficiently with alcohol, but some very sensitive individuals, especially those who look at too many replicas or photos of Stonehenge, can be made slaves to the henge parasite while in a sober state. (Of course, we don’t know Grier and we may be making a false assumption there!)

Yes, it is the traditional circle of trilithons often resorted to by the less serious replica builder, and, yes, that three-brick construction closest to the camera is unorthodox, but we don’t always subtract druids for that. And of course there is the courage exhibited by persisting despite the snickers of students and other faculty. Score: 6½ druids.

You will hear from Dr. Grier again. He has promised us an overview of his visits to several of the replicas we have listed, and we await them eagerly. Meanwhile, we recommend you visit his remarkable and beautiful photo gallery.  We end with this post script: “By the way, sadly, BrickHenge stood proudly on campus nearly a full week, until some stone mason used the resources to finish a stone paver base for a wrought-iron campus bench. Ironic, isn’t it?

Wrought-ironic, we would say . . .

Silbury Replica: Because it’s There

SilburyModel2photo by Pete Glastonbury, with permission

At the same Barn Gallery in Avebury that we mentioned in this post, friend of the blog and finder of obscurities Pete G. found this solo replica of Silbury Hill. As far as we can tell, the cirular plaques around it explain the stages by which the mound was made.

We post this as part of this series of museum replicas we’ve been posting, most of them having to do with the greater Avebury landscape. We have a fond place in our hearts for Silbury because when we visited in  1972 we tried to run all the way up it. (Do not do this–it is not allowed, nor should it be, and we apologise. We were young . . . sigh)

This is a very nice replica, probably in better shape than the hill itself at this point. We won’t score it, though. The druid thing seems funny in connection with Avebury and Stonehenge, but just seems stupid in the face of Silbury’s potent form.

Handhenge, by Guido Daniele

atet_stonehengeposted without permission, just with a big honking copyright mark

Yes, it’s distasteful to post a picture with an advertised product and, yes, it’s distasteful to post a picture with a big copyright claim across it. But lordy, folks, ain’t this’n worth it? This ranks right up there with Clotheshenge as far as we’re concerned. Bravo, Mr. Guido Daniele! Well done.

What we like is what in another medium might be called the painterly effect. Hands actually look almost nothing like megaliths. But with colour and angle and context the photograph communicates Stonehenge without having to look just like it.

Others have toyed with the handhenge concept, but with fingers as the uprights: see here and here. We have never seen one like this before.

We have to hand it to him–he didn’t go digital. Heh. Sorry–we felt some pressure and knuckled under. Guess we just fingered that you’d play along. Oh, yeah: Nailed it! (I’ll bet you wish you were . . . armed?) [still need a palm and a thumb joke here . . .]

Sorry! Had to get that out of our system. Score: 7 druids for a great presentation. Our thanks to student/artist friend of the blog, Truman Lahr, and to input-output analysis guru Michael Lahr for bringing this to our attention.

#lameclaimtofame: On the page at this link, Guido Daniele is shown with Keith Haring, who went to the same school we did and whose picture is in our high school yearbook. Henges bring us full circle!


cute pictures of puppies with captions

The placement of the white puppies is said to align with the solstice and equinox.

It was brought to our attention by alert contributor Feòrag that, partner site to our longtime favorite,, entered the henging arena this week with the above post. Nice!

This is not the first time dogs have been involved. You may remember Bonehenge, in which the labrador Winnie was testing her henge for alignments, and Doghenge, consisting primarily of toy dogs.

Gee, things weren’t so serious around here back then! One day soon maybe we’ll do a post mentioning some of our more unusual Stonehenge replicas. It’s not all science and museums in the henge business. There’s a lot of stupidity involved, too, and far be it from us to leave that behind!

Avebury 6,000 Years of Mystery, Barn Gallery

AveburyModelNT 2photo by Pete Glastonbury, with permission

Perhaps this is the ultimate Avebury replica. Housed in the National Trust’s Barn Gallery, associated with the Alexander Keiller Museum which we mentioned once before, this Avebury replica has all the bells and whistles–or at least all the buttons and LEDs. Buttons by the information plaques around the edge turn on the lights by the features they describe.

And what an array of features! Pete Glastonbury tells us, “The model has a complete Avebury, Silbury and Windmill Hill.It includes the following Longbarrows: Shelving stones, Horslip, Longstones, South Street and West Kennet. It even includes the wooden Palisade Enclosure and Falkners stone circle near the West Kennet Avenue..” At long last, the Avebury replica with everything our greedy hearts could desire!

Avebury is that obvious circle in the middle of the model above, and Silbury Hill is the white bump. The long barrows are the odd green hot-dog-in-roll things scattered about. Windmill Hill is in the upper left and the palisaded enclosures are in the lower right. This truly gives a sense of the Avebury landscape. All of the ancient stone circles and henges are better understood in their landscape context.

This is, as photographer Pete Glastonbury says, The Big One. Score: 9 druids. We can’t even think of anything funny to say!

Pinball Henge, North London

Pinball henge

photo by Feòrag NicBhrìde, with permission

Oh, what fun–a bit of guerilla henging with a tantalising hint of a celebrity connection! This is great stuff.

Feòrag, our sender-in, says, “I spotted this interesting construction on the way to the Wenlock Arms the other day. It’s located in a yard at the junction of Wenlock Road and Micawber Street in Hoxton, North London.  Google Maps shows the yard still in use and full of trucks. There are no vehicles in the Street View, but none of the graffiti either, so I think the yard has only fallen out of use recently.” [ Note to U.S. readers: The British use of the word yard has a much more industrial/business-related connotation than it does in the States.]

It is just two trilithons of pinball machines, but its appearance in an abandoned freight yard is intriguing. And our alert hengefinder continues: “Located on the wall is a piece of graffiti featuring a police officer with a ghetto blaster, which looks suspiciously like a Banksy to me – he’s known to be active in the area – though much of the area is tagged ‘RESO’.

See that bit of wall art at the right of the picture? It does have that Banksy look, doesn’t it? Then cast your mind back to Glastonbury several years ago and Banksy’s masterful Stonehenge replica constructed of of port-a-loos. Could it be that he revisited that concept with this group of  machines? If so, we don’t doubt it has deep inner meaning. Too bad we aren’t deep. We must leave such intellectual discernment to our readers!

As happened with Doorhenge, the guerilla art aspect increases the druid score. We think this is an exciting thing to have pop up among the city streets. May the trend continue. 7 druids, 7½ if it really is Banksy’s! And extra thanks to Feòrag, for taking the time to stop although she was headed for the Wenlock Arms. Now that’s what we call dedication!

Marden Henge Model, A Curious Aside

MardenModelWHM 2

photo by Pete Glastonbury (yes, again!), with permission

This is not a Stonehenge replica. It’s not an Avebury replica. Marden Henge is, or perhaps was is the more appropriate verb here,  an irregular henge monument (with no stones in this case. See the definition of a henge monument here) in Wiltshire, located about halfway between Stonehenge and Avebury. It enclosed an even larger area than Avebury and had within it two mounds, one that was called Hatfield Barrow was in some ways similar to Silbury Hill, and was “scandalously destroyed.” (see The Modern Antiquarian page for Marden Henge.)

The Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes has this model and was kind enough to present it so that it could be photographed for Clonehenge. Thank you. We urge readers to visit them and give them money. We’re sure they would be happy with just your petrol money. Walking is healthy, you know!

But back to Marden Henge. Wikipedia says: “Two remarkable tumuli formerly were in the neighbourhood, 240 feet in circuit, and 40 feet high; and are supposed, by some writers, to mark the scene of Ethelred’s defeat by the Danes in 871; but whether they were sepulchral barrows or the earthwork of an ancient British temple, is an open question.” Evidence suggests that wooden structure stood on top of the barrow. In the picture above, “on top of the Hatfield barrow is a model of Marden church to give you a sense of scale.” (from P. Glastonbury)

The whole thing reminds us very much of some of the irregular mound enclosures of Ohio. What was the use of these things, that they would arise independently on both sides of the Atlantic?

At any rate, records like this model take on increased importance when the thing being depicted has been destroyed or all but destroyed. We include it here because of that significance and, well, because someone sent it in. We depend on you, Alert Readers, to provide replica photos, because, frankly, we are growing lazy about spending long nights with Google searching every conceivable misspelling of Stonhedge.

We are grateful  to those who have been stepping up!

Let’s Call It Cakehenge

giraffe cakehenge

photos and hengery by Bill Bevan, with permission

Oh, why don’t people take ancient monuments seriously?! The way we do. Heh. Well, here is a stuffed giraffe examining a Stonehenge replica (of the just-a-few-trilithons variety) that was made of lemon slice, carrot cake, and chocolate brownies, set on a golden plate, which is set on . . . is that a faded beach towel?

Our studied analysis: While he projects a mood of play, the henger here has a serious agenda, suggesting that the toppled stones at Stonehenge were toppled by the curiosity of ancient northern woolly giraffes that lived in the times of the mammoths. This discovery pushes the age of the building of Stonehenge back to the ice ages. The alternative at which he barely hints is that the stones were actually erected by ancient sentient giraffes, a branch of the family which has since gone extinct!

Exciting stuff. Almost too controversial for our humble blog, which is simply a bit of light entertainment. But wait, there’s more.

lionGiant crosses between lions and daisies also appear to figure into the theory! This is way over our heads. Could Stonehenge have been a corral for megafauna? And what about the cake? He gives some cryptic explanation here. Warning: one or two of the close-ups of trilithons seem barely decent!

Score for this henge: 6 druids. Why six, you say? Sometimes things are just so bad that they’re good. And we think he knows it. Quote: “My 14 week old daughter thought Spongehenge was pretty funny, though that might have been wind!

Bill Bevan’s impressive photos of the real Stonehenge can be seen here, and are worth a look. Click on the word Gallery at the top for more amazing photos from around the world.

More Avebury–And We Thought There Were None!

AveburyModelWHM2 3

photos by Pete Glastonbury, with permission

Hello again from the amazing Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes. Of course we’re not actually there, but we have a rich fantasy life! Today, thanks to our regular supplier of Afghani-grade Avebury photos, we have two Avebury models to post. Avebury is a very large stone circle in Wiltshire England. We hope you already knew that.

The model above is to be applauded for accuracy and detail. It shows the circle as it might have been in its heyday, with circles and avenues leading from the circle complete. Very nice. We would like it better without the labels, but we understand that in a museum, the point is to communicate knowledge and the labels serve that purpose.  8 druids for this one.

AveburyModelWHM 3And then there’s this one, depicting, as it might have been at its height, the entire Avebury region, or nearly so, as it excludes Windmill Hill and, of course, all the ancient crop circles. It includes various barrows, the serpentine avenues (which we discussed here), Silbury Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow, and if you look closely enough there may be a tiny model of Pete Glastonbury walking around taking pictures (or if there isn’t perhaps there should be). This, too, is an extraordinary piece of work, and we award it 8½ druids. We like to see the whole landscape represented!

The Wiltshire Heritage Museum is said to house numerous models of Stonehenge seen nowhere else, the amazing Celtic Cabinet, and, for now, Clonehenge’s favourite exhibition, Inspired by Stonehenge, which includes “a variety of objects, graphics, music and moving images including postcards and guidebooks, clothing, paperweights and snow globes, jigsaw puzzles, horse brasses, toasting forks and even a stamp from the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan that shows Disney characters Mickey Mouse and Pluto at Stonehenge. There is also a quantity of souvenir china – some more attractive than others. Once visitors have viewed the exhibition they can vote for the item they consider to be in the worst possible taste!” Bold emphasis added by us. People, does it get any better than that?!

Hours and admission fees for the museum can be seen here. Oh, and the site says “Youngsters are encouraged to be ‘Inspired by Stonehenge’, and are invited to send in photographs of their own Stonehenge models for display in the Museum over the summer.” We plan to lean on the museum a little in autumn, to get them to let us post the best–and perhaps the worst–ones they get. And you haven’t seen the last of Wiltshire Heritage Museum on this blog. More in a few days!