Clonehenge Mugs! You Gotta Have One!

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Clonehenge mug. Oh yes, Gentle Readers!

It has happened. As you knew it would. You knew that we were luring you in, posting without any attempt to get your money for almost ten years, just to give you a false sense of security. And now that you have taken the bait, we are setting the hook with this unimaginably deluxe item: an ordinary white mug with a poorly-designed Clonehenge-ish logo on it and a tacky clonehenge.com printed along the bottom! Feel you must have one? Click on this.

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Another glorious view!

It isn’t as if we have thought this through. We make so little on each mug that we are actually completely indifferent as to whether or not you buy one. The advert copy reads:

Not only are they overpriced, but once you receive them they turn out to just be more stuff you have to deal with!

Still, you never know. Our original run, which looked a little different, ended up in the hands of luminaries like Simon Banton, Andy Burnham of the Megalithic Portal, Pete Glastonbury, David Dawson of the Wiltshire Museum, Nigel Swift of the Heritage Journal, and Stonehenge scholar Michael Parker Pearson!* Now you, like them, can own a Clonehenge mug! And wonder, as they no doubt have, where on Earth to put it once you have it. Convinced? The mugs, as we said, are available at this link.

So there you go. We have done a post about a thing that has our logo on it and is being sold. Apparently, judging by the sales site, which offers other items with our logo automatically, you can also buy phone skins that, since phones are too narrow for the whole logo, just say ONEHEN! Even Michael Parker Pearson doesn’t have one of those! (Perfect for that person who has only a single chicken! 🐓)
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Buy, buy, buy! Spend, spend, spend! Or don’t. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But until next time, friends, when we will post something more in keeping with our usual nonsense, we wish you happy henging!

*Because we gave them to them for free.

Stonehenge at the Bao Dai Waterfall Park, Our First in Vietnam! (But y tho?)

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Photo by Attila Kovácsics, used with permission.

To be honest, we don’t know much about it.

When was it built?

Why was it built?

Who built it?

We would love to know!* But for now we just know that this Stonehenge exists in Dalat, in Vietnam’s central highlands, and it is on the grounds of a park that was created because of gorgeous waterfalls there.

We do know that, although the stone shapes are way off, there is a three-lintel stretch and the inner trilithons are taller than the outer circle. So bravo to someone! A few things right is better than none. And it is another for our list of Large Permanent Replicas, which is now up to 90, and could soon be 91, pending information on a Stonehenge sculpture in Kansas.

What makes someone build a Stonehenge replica in a park in Vietnam? That is just part of the mystery that keeps us in a state of wonder here at Clonehenge headquarters!

We have more posts coming up for you. One is about a Stonehenge replica in Magdeburg Germany, built by a man who is enthusiastic about Scottish culture. We have seen a picture of him wearing a kilt and standing inside his Stonehenge. So that’s fun, isn’t it?

And we have another long-ish interview post, this time with a historian who has a unique perspective on Stonehenge and the proliferation of Stonehenge replicas.

In the meantime, follow @Clonehenge on Twitter, or join the Facebook group or page to keep up with frequent postings of henges large and small, or to send us henge photos of your own!

And until next time, Gentle Readers, thank you and happy henging!

*If you have any information on this henge, please comment below or send it to nancy at clonehenge.com .

Transatlantic Coalition of Stonehenge Experts Builds Stonehenge with Toy Blocks!

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Simon Banton and Neil Wiseman ponder their remake of Stonehenge. Photo by Andy Burns.

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Actual plan of Stonehenge to compare

We know it for ourselves: these grey blocks are irresistible. Off in one corner of the wonderful Wiltshire Museum which displays, among many wonderful things, a collection called Gold from the Time of Stonehenge, there is a children’s section that includes rectangular grey blocks and a round green base to build on. What possibilities! The very sight of it casts a spell of inevitability on any true henger.

 

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Neil Wiseman admiring his handiwork at the Wiltshire Museum. Photo by Simon Banton.

Enter, from stage left, two Stonehenge experts and over-qualified hengers: Mr. Simon Banton, introduced to our readers a few posts ago and whose blog includes a page for each stone at Stonehenge, and Mr. Neil Wiseman, author of the book Stonehenge and the Neolithic Cosmos: A New Look at the Oldest Mystery in the World. The two gentlemen assert that they did not actually visit the museum solely to make a Stonehenge replica, but the same siren song of the grey blocks that sang to us during our visit three years ago lured them to the children’s section. The result was both extraordinary and, in a way, hilarious—hilarious, we mean, by virtue of the contrast between the simplicity of those grey children’s blocks and the level of expertise Wiseman and Banton brought to bear on them.

You may compare their accomplishment with the aerial view of Stonehenge we have provided for that purpose. Within the limitations of the medium, this is probably the best Stonehenge replica possible. If we were still handing out Druid scores for henges, we would have to give this one 9 Druids. And yes, as the cognoscenti might remind us, Druids had nothing to do with the building of Stonehenge, but it is so much a part of public perceptions of the monument that it amuses us to use it as our metric.

Of course, we hasten to say that we do not expect this kind of precision from the common henger. It is, however, not cheating to actually look at a picture of Stonehenge before you build. You, too, can beat the dreaded Circle of Trilithons Syndrome!

Addendum: pertinent to our previous post about Stonehenge Centenary Day, below is a picture of Mr. Tim Daw (of the first modern long barrow, and the resting concrete trilithon we’ve mentioned here in the past) at that event* and rather dapperly dressed for it, putting together a wooden Stonehenge he made for English Heritage. It is a lovely thing, in the category of replicas that show Stonehenge as it is thought to have looked at its height. Note the diagram at the lower left, being used as a guide.

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Photo by Brian Edwards.

If these people who know Stonehenge so well and have spent time there are compelled to build their own, how then are the rest of us to resist the imperative? Give in. Make henges and be happy!

Until next time, friends, we wish you happy henging!

*We hope to post some pictures of henges from the henging contest at the centenary event at some future date.

 

Henging Contest Alert!!! Stonehenge Centenary Day, 8th July in Shrewton!

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Stonehenge Chubb Centenary Day Stonehenge Replica Competition guide:

Henging contest alert!!

All of you master hengers out there, your hour has come! This will be a short post, but the length does not reflect its importance, only our laziness!

The contest will be held on 8th July, 2018, in the Wiltshire village of Shrewton. A note to irreverent Americans among us: yes, town names like this are real and historic and were not, as you suppose, invented by fantasy writers! The town, for example, is not populated by little shrews in vests and dresses.

That said (we continue a bit sheepishly), there will be several cricket matches, traditional games, and music from the time of the gifting of Stonehenge to the nation, that is, 1918, and the Shrewton Silver Band.

Yes, we concede, it does all sound a bit like the Shire or some kind of England theme park, but please put all that aside. BECAUSE THE POINT IS, friends, THERE WILL BE A HENGING CONTEST!!!! With prizes! See the diagram above.

Please note there is a size limit. No henge shall exceed the maximum diameter of 300mm, which is slightly less than 12 inches. This seems small, but great things can be achieved in small packages!

The categories for prizes are by age: A. Under 11, B. 11 to 14, C. 14 to 18, and D. Adult, as shown in the pictures below:

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Prizes include a Stonehenge book and a Stonehenge bag, and an actual model of Stonehenge for the adult winner. (Stonehenge replicas are far too addictive to be given to children as it could turn them into those useless kinds of people who think about Stonehenge all the time and are always thinking up new theories about it or arguing about old ones. Society does not need any more of those. Trust us on this! Take us as an example. Say no more.)

Below is the poster for the Stonehenge Chubb Centenary Day. Note how it is not at all stereotypically English. Not even a bit. You are not required to dress like that, incidentally, but let’s face it—you’ve been dying to and here’s your chance!

We at Clonehenge urge you to build a henge, accurate or quirky, simple or elaborate, and take it to Shrewton on 8th July to celebrate the gifting of Stonehenge by Sir Cecil and Mary Chubb to the nation! Encourage friends and children to do the same. SWAMP the judges with little Stonehenges! Make your friends at Clonehenge proud. We’ve already asked for pictures of the henges and judging so that we can post them here and on Facebook and Twitter afterward.

Oh, should you meet a certain Mr. Edwards there, do ask him about his experience making the experimental cheese puff henge! He will not try that again. Quite amusing.

And so, until next time, gentle readers, happy henging!
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Henging Styles: in which we discuss: What IS a Stonehenge Replica?!

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An assemblage of trilithons at Oberlin College, November, 2008. Photo by Jonas Wisser This was the Clonehenge blog’s first posted henge!

Happy solstice!

Well, we were trying to do at least one post per month, but somehow May got away from us and now we’re well into June. Our inability to meet blog deadlines will come as a surprise to no one who has been paying any attention here. Ah, that wonderful deadline whooshing sound!

But part of the delay has been us trying to think of any method at all by which we could make this long-planned post anything less than a snooze fest. The bad news is, we have come up with nothing. The good news is, you should probably all be getting a lot more sleep anyway! So here goes.

The variety and number of constructions that can still fall under the topic of this blog—replicas of Stonehenge, in case some poor soul has stumbled in unawares—is great. There are so many potential variables that it’s impossible to put them in neat categories. Some broad categories, however, are:

 

Trilithon

a single trilithon

One trilithon: two standing stones with a third set on top, connecting them. This is visual shorthand for Stonehenge and it doesn’t seem to matter if the stones are the right shapes or proportions or even if the lintel, that is, the one across the top, extends out past the upright stone on either side so it looks more like the mathematical symbol for pi. This is the classic glyph for Stonehenge, the most obvious example being the famously small trilithon in the movie This is Spinal Tap.

 

Then there is the classic grouping of a single, or sometimes two trilithons with accompanying standing stones. You see this most often in garden henges, especially larger ones. Trilithons are trickier to make than you would think, so maybe after going to that trouble, the henger decides many won’t be necessary, or maybe they prefer the simpler look. Maybe some of each.

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A classic garden henge, with two trilithons and some standing stones—Cleveland, Ohio

Next is the assemblage of trilithons, (see top of post for photo) including the classic (but inaccurate) foodhenge, the circle of trilithons. We see these so frequently that we’re convinced that many people think this is Stonehenge’s real form. There are certainly some people who build these and call them henges even once they know the difference. Many of these include something in the center. Sometimes something very odd. As in the accompanying WotsitHenge by Jo Kendall with central small ducklings.

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Stonehenge more or less as it is now

From there it becomes more complicated. Do you intend to recreate Stonehenge as it was thought to be at its height or Stonehenge as it is now? And which of the many many elements that make up Stonehenge and it’s landscape will you choose to include? The Heel Stone? The Station Stones? The so-called Slaughter Stone? The ditch and bank? (Which after all, is what makes it a henge. Sort of. But not actually, because Stonehenge’s ditch and bank are not quite right for a henge. The sad truth is, in the truest sense of the word henge, Stonehenge is not a henge. This is the sort of knowledge that separates the Stonehenge nerds from actual human beings.)

As it was thought to be

Stonehenge more or less as it is thought to have bee

But we digress. There are other elements. Do you include, as some have, the dagger and axe carvings on the stones? The Aubrey Holes? The avenue? Remnants of old graffiti? The fence? The tourists? The jackdaws? The sheep?? How closely do you model each stone to the shape of the corresponding real stone? On the famous Transformers replica, someone carefully copied the pattern of lichens on the stones! And a Kickstarter project called BuyStonehenge has gone to even more minute detail than that. Check it out! 

We’ve seen a replica from back before the new tourist centre that included not only the old parking lot but the lights that lit it. We’ve seen a replica that included President Obama visiting! We have yet to see one that included Gertrude, the great bustard who is seen at Stonehenge from time to time, but it is there to be done. Your move, my friend!

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Stonehenge in the show Britannia is a sort of Super Stonehenge, with many exciting added features, including a raised platform and carved stones! (honestly not sure of the source for this photo, but we didn’t take it)

And what of the people who like to go beyond the real Stonehenge when they make their replicas? The ones who add dinosaurs or aliens or both? We’ve seen a small Stonehenge that included the full ring of lintels, but added train tracks on top and ran a train around it. We have seen more than one model that uses the form of Stonehenge as the foundation for a roofed building. We’ve seen elaborations that include carvings on the stones and a mighty platform from which priests and leaders addressed gathered peasants. Stonehenge Improved is a big category that seems to imply that Stonehenge isn’t good enough just as it is, but we must admit, many amusing henges fall into that category!

There is also speculative history. Were great colourful hangings once put over the stones on great occasions? Were people or animals once sacrificed within the circle? Was there at one time a hedge around it? Was Stonehenge in fact, as some have said, never completed? How were the stones brought there and lifted into place? Every possibility suggests a diorama.

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Stonehenge stone #56, photo by Simon Banton, from his blog at this link

Theoretically, even a single stone could be considered a Stonehenge replica if it is an exact scale replica of a recognisable stone—take Stone 56, for example. Many of us would recognise a good copy of that one!

The point is, the definition of what is a Stonehenge replica is wide, but not all-inclusive. A mere circle of standing stones is not a Stonehenge replica. But many various things can be. As you build your henge, don’t be afraid to include some little authentic detail, as in the case of the snowhenge we saw that included the axe and dagger carvings. Little touches mean a lot! Don’t settle for that lowest common denominator, the circle of trilithons, unless you have embraced it as your style. Anyone can do those. You be you!

We haven’t even covered here, the other henge variations, those of size and materials, and location. Factor those in, and the possible varieties of Stonehenge replicas seem to be endless. No wonder no two look alike!

What is your favourite style of Stonehenge replica? Do you have a favourite Stonehenge replica in particular? What is it? We would love to hear from you, on Twitter or Facebook or in the comments below. Thank you for keeping in touch.

Do we promise you a more interesting and exciting post next month? Heh. Surely you jest! We’re hoping for an interview with a long-winded scholar, it seems. But we’ll post memes with it or something! Maybe cats!! We know what you cool people like in this modern era of, you know, the interwebs, phones, and selfie sticks, and whatnot! We’re hip like you, fellow kids!!

But now until next time, gentle readers, we wish you dreams of new kinds and sizes of henges! And as always we wish you happy henging!

*All photos by the author of the Clonehenge blog unless otherwise noted.

 

 

Three More For the List of Large Permanent Replicas!

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small Stonehenge at Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary, Baguio, on Luzon Island, the Phillippines

What a month April has been here at Clonehenge Central! In our continual searches for henges that will amuse you, we discovered three large permanent Stonehenge replicas that weren’t on our list. We have been working on a post about the different varieties of henges, but we put that on hold to bring you these latest finds!

First is the one seen above, our first Phillippine replica. It’s one of the prehistory-related stations along a nature trail set up to help teach history to children who visit. The cobbled floor is lovely and artistic. The proportions of the uprights are rather nice, so we won’t complain too loudly about the extra-long lintels extending out on either side of their trilithons. A delightful find!

Next up, this lovely garden henge is in County Durham, UK, in the gardens of the luxury self-catering cottages at Keaton Cottages. There is a wagon wheel bench inside the circle, a whimsical addition, which, along with a gorgeous long-distance view of the Yorkshire Dales, and frequent grazing visits by Shetland ponies, gives the whole thing a unique and undeniable charm. There are three trilithons and a number of single uprights, very consistent with the pattern of most garden henges.

c7050cca-4cf1-4a85-8660-b87905687337.c10It seems they light it with colourful lights during nights in the some of the colder months months! Unfortunately this henge is probably accessible only to those staying in the cottages, and such a stay appears not to be inexpensive. Perhaps when this Clonehenge empire has (finally!) made us insufferably rich, we will stop in for a stay. We still dream of making that tour of all of the large henges!

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Two trilithons at the Stonehenge Grille in Crossville, Tennessee, Traveler photo submitted by Richard E (Sep 2014)

Last, and yes, probably least, there are these two trilithons (once again with lintels extending out beyond the uprights, something the previous henge managed to avoid) outside the Stonehenge Grille in Crossville, Tennessee! We may have to call or message them one of these days and ask how the name and little Stonehenge came about. Those stories are always interesting to us. For now all we know is that the grill is part of the Fairfield Glade Community Club and someone there appears to like marigolds.

That about catches us up. Once added to the List of Large Permanent Replicas, these will bring their number to 88! It is likely, though, that there are enough out there somewhere to bring it up to 100. Don’t forget, you are our eyes and ears out there, friends! Have a look at the list and please report any henges that aren’t on it! What better way for us to celebrate Stonehenge’s 100 years of belonging to the nation that is now the United Kingdom than to build the list to 100 henges?

Remember: if you can’t find one, why not build one? We are counting on you! Until next time, Gentle Readers, happy henging!

The Stonehenge Perspective on Henging, Part 2: Simon Banton, Continued

Simon Banton and a rook at an undisclosed location, photo by Wendy Pallesen or perhaps Carol Druce

“…there’s something about the trilithon form that aches with antiquity and latent symbolism.”

Here is the second half of our interview with Stonehenge man Simon Banton.

5) Why do you think so many people continue to make Stonehenges of all sizes and materials all over the world?

The act of creation lies deep within most of us, and creating a clonehenge seems to foster a deep sense of satisfaction. It has the huge advantage of being instantly recognisable, so no special talent is required. I can’t draw for toffee, but you were kind enough to feature my Etch-a-Sketched clonehenge [see previous post] even though it was 2D. There’s also the growing awareness that there’s a community of clonehengers, and I guess a desire to belong to this elite club must factor in somewhere.

[Editor’s note: You, too, can belong to an elite club!]

6) Why do you think Stonehenge models and replicas so often wind up being an assemblage of trilithons rather than being more like Stonehenge? Why is the trilithon such a powerful and memorable symbol?

That is a very significant question. There’s no doubt that “two uprights and one horizontal” is immediately Stonehenge and it’s been a famous icon in the public’s attention for at least 300 years now. From the standalone pylons of Egyptian temples, through the Temple of the Sun at Tiwanaku to the Greek letter PI [Editor’s note: one could add the Japanese Torii gate and Tonga’s Ha’amonga’a Maui Trilithon.] there’s something about the trilithon form that aches with antiquity and latent symbolism.

Perhaps it’s the “doorways upon doorways” meme that Henry of Huntingdon came up with in the early 12th Century AD [Editor’s note: English scholar Henry of Huntington wrote in 1130, describing Stonehenge as a place “where stones of an amazing size are set up in the manner of doorways, so that one door seems to be set upon another. Nor can anyone guess by what means so many stones were raised so high, or why they were built there.”]  that’s the root of it for our culture, or maybe Spinal Tap have had a fundamental impact on humanity that will echo down the ages.

I also think that the idea of a continuous “ring beam” [Editor: Simon is using the term “ring beam” here to refer to the continuous circle of curved lintels that is thought to have topped the upright sarsens of Stonehenge’s outer circle.] doesn’t figure in many people’s consciousness, so they end up doing a ring of separate trilithons instead.

7) Is there anything you would like to say about Stonehenge replicas? Do you have any stories connected with one that you would like to share?

More full size ones please! I realise that’s a big ask, but perhaps it’s something for an ice sculpture festival to tackle. I’ve had a small involvement with one full size trilithon replica with my friends Tim Daw and Julian Richards. Julian’s an archaeologist and Stonehenge obsessive. Back in the 1990s he made a TV documentary called “Secrets of Lost Empires” where he and a team of engineers and volunteers attempted—successfully —to erect two 40 ton concrete uprights and a 10 ton lintel as a replica of the tallest trilithon that ever stood at Stonehenge.

After the programme, the components were dismantled and stored on a nearby military base, in a car park, until a few years ago when the army rang him up and asked if he wanted them back as they were getting in the way of their tanks. Julian asked me if I knew anyone who had some land where they might be moved to, and perhaps re-erected in a new project—and I immediately thought of Tim.

Tim’s a visionary. He built the first new “long barrow”, as a columbarium, in 5,500 years and has spawned an industry of modern barrow-makers as a result. [see Clonehenge’s post on the Long Barrow at All Cannings here] He jumped at the chance and these large lumps of concrete were low-loaded from the military base to Tim’s farm, where they await the attention of an intrepid bunch of Stonehengineers. [see Clonehenge’s post about the rediscovery and moving to Tim’s farm of the pieces of the concrete trilithon here]

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photos of the parts of the concrete trilithon at rest on Cannings Cross Farm

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Stonehengineers, those who helped erect the concrete trilithon the first time

8) Is there anything you think more people should know about Stonehenge itself?

Everyone who’s interested in the astronomy of the site should read Gordon Freeman’s “Hidden Stonehenge”—not least because he is one of the few archaeoastronomer researchers who actually spent considerable time on-site observing and photographing at key points in the year, over many years. He identified a secondary solstitial axis that runs from Winter Sunrise to Summer Sunset and explains why the Altar Stone is (a) flat on the ground and (b) at 80° to the primary axis. I helped Gordon confirm some of his observation data and had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago.

More generally, the most recent research is suggesting that the society responsible for Stonehenge’s construction was almost completely eradicated by an incoming population from the Continent in the early Bronze Age. If this is true, then we have—in Britain—no direct ancestral connection to the builders of it. That’s something of a shock, as Stonehenge is a touchstone of British identity. The argument about the DNA evidence from early Beaker graves that suggests this is likely to get quite heated.

9) Do you have any advice for hengers?

If you’re going for realism, don’t forget the Heel Stone, the Slaughter Stone, the Station Stones and the Altar Stone. Note that the central trilithons increase in height towards the southwest and they’re all taller than the sarsen circle that surrounds them. If you’re going to include figures in the middle, make them archaeologists having a fight and—above all—think BIG and have fun! (Hengers, take heed!)

10) Do you have any advice for Clonehenge itself?

Frankly, I don’t think it could be any better. [!!!] Except, maybe—Clonehenge merchandise? I feel the need to make a Clonehenge out of Clonehenge coffee mugs—or is that too much like meta-henging?

[Editor: Not at all. Plus, meta-henging is a good thing! 😉 We will be working to make Clonehenge mugs and perhaps eventually other merchandise available from print-on-demand sites in both in the UK and the States, so that neither place will have to pay exorbitant postal fees, hopefully some time in the near future.]

Thank you very much, Simon! Thus ends our two-part interview with the illustrious Stonehenge devotee. We hope you have enjoyed it and perhaps learned something! You can find the first part of the interview here. We should note with gratitude that upon the occasion of our visit to Stonehenge in 2015, Simon went out of his way to meet us there and give us a calendar with his own photos of Stonehenge. We were quite honoured!

Gentle Readers: Do you have questions about Stonehenge or about Stonehenge replicas in any form? If you have a question that is in any way connected to our topic, get in touch on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a comment below, and we will answer or get in touch with someone who can answer your questions. We will also consider requests for posts on related topics.

And of course, until next time, friends, happy henging!