Nesshenge: The Stonehenge Rope Experiment

photo from John Hill’s article on the Antiquity website, with permission

We had this bookmarked for quite a while, uncertain whether it belonged on the blog, but then a friend of Clonehenge (Mr. P.G.) sent us the link asking if we’d done it yet, so here it is. Last year, 2008, Liverpool was designated European Capital of Culture by the European Union. As a contribution toward that, John Hill and others from the University of Liverpool by a very simple method including a rope, simple counting and the sun’s shadow, laid out the pattern of positions that would be necessary for a model of Stonehenge.

They then measured out a smaller pattern to suit the site and proceeded to dig a ditch and bank and mark the sites of the Aubrey holes. You can see a diagram of this stage of the original Stonehenge here. A fuller explanation of what Hill and the others did can be read in the article we mentioned. You can see the result above.

This construction certainly qualifies to be posted on Clonehenge, going by Rule Number 6 of our Rules of Henginess,  and is in fact the first henge to qualify on that basis alone. A Stonehenge replica without uprights or trilithons–we were waiting for this. Well done! They placed the earthen bank on the inside of the ditch, too, another distinctive feature of Stonehenge, as other henges tend to have the ditch on the inside.

These things may seem minor, but they are pleasing to find in a world where one trilithon of anything is called a henge.  This is a true Stonehenge replica, a replica of the developmental phase of Stonehenge called Stonehenge 1 (the phases are described on this Wikipedia page).

So how do we score this? We haven’t even found anything to mock or be silly about, but we don’t deduct points for that, tempting as it might be. Score: 8 druids. Because if druids had been involved in building Stonehenge instead of coming at least a millennium later, this is very much like what they would have built at this stage.The article points up that even the astronomy and celestial/landscape relationship have been painstakingly provided for.

What more could we ask? Well, there’s the question of ambiance. The spot is perfect for what its creators were doing, but here at Clonehenge, Stonehenge is not just a work of engineering and astronomical precision. We have learned that some people see it as sculpture, some people see it as a sacred site, and many people regard it with awe. (Let’s face it–gigantic looming stones–ftw!*) If Stonehenge looked like this, there wouldn’t be so many replicas and we wouldn’t be talking here, but this is brilliant and we will add it to our list of large permanent replicas!

*(we mean that to stand for for the win, not free the whales, or f*** the world, which would be, well–sort of humourous in that sentence, actually, now we think of it . . .)


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