Happy Solstice! A Long Post for the Longest Day!

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The famous Britton “Celtic” Cabinet at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes

Greetings and a very happy solstice to all of you out there in the increasingly strange world of now! We know that people generally don’t find time to read blog posts anymore, what with one apocalypse or another looming at any given moment, but in a contrary spirit we have decided to write a longer one than usual. But with pictures, so there’s that!

As some of you may know, a little over a year ago, the entire staff of the Clonehenge blog flew over the sea to the centre of henging contagion, that hulking grey pile of construction debris on Salisbury Plain, Stonehenge itself. We posted in October about the unabashed promotion of Stonehenge replicas we discovered at the shop in the Stonehenge Visitor Centre, but we have yet to share our other extraordinary encounters with replicas shown us by friends of the Clonehenge blog in the area.

The first of these was a huge concrete trilithon, currently being stored at the farm of Mr. Tim Daw  whose name may be familiar to Stonehenge fans as a result of theories and discoveries he made while employed at Stonehenge. He is also known for his remarkable construction, the Long Barrow at Al Cannings. He kindly treated us to a tour of that beautiful modern long barrow, and then, knowing our interests, led us through chalk mud, a remarkably clingy substance, to the three pieces of the trilithon, currently not set up as a trilithon but in repose. The two uprights, we are told, weigh 40 Tonnes each and the lintel 10 and a half!

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concrete trilithon in the Vale of Pewsy (the markings are not tribal, 😉  but were painted there for visibility on the lorry journey to where they now rest)

These “stones” were used in the 1996 BBC documentary Secrets of Lost Empires: Stonehenge to to represent the stones of Stonehenge’s largest trilithon, in an attempt to demonstrate how those and the other large stones at Stonehenge may have been moved. We assume their length includes the section that in the original stones extended underground to keep them steady and upright. Pictures on this page show their size better than our poor picture above. They are imposing in person, even lying down. Mr. Daw and others are hoping to use them again to test various Stone-Age-appropriate methods for transporting and erecting megaliths, for a programme on how Stonehenge may have been constructed. We look forward to that!

For the next couple days of our trip, we enjoyed the wonders of Wiltshire, its landscape, and many ancient stones and sites (including Stonehenge in the pouring rain, a quintessentially British experience not to be missed unless you have the opportunity to see it in any other weather!). Those days were overwhelmingly beautiful and fascinating, and we extend our thanks to many people for going out of their ways to make it so.

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West Kennet Long Barrow with Terence Meaden, who was kind enough to accompany us there and share his knowledge

And then, on our final day in that county, probably still bearing chalk mud in the treads of our shoes, we visited the Wiltshire Museum in the town of Devizes in the company of long-time friend of the blog Pete Glastonbury. There, to our astonishment, we were greeted by people who already knew of the name of Clonehenge, and who were therefore willing to reveal to us deeply secret Stonehenge models  hidden from the prying eyes of the general public! (Or, yes, possibly just Stonehenge models that would be of absolutely no interest to anyone one but us, but let us have our fantasies.)

After a few minutes surveying small Stonehenge models available in the museum shop, we were introduced to none other than Director David Dawson and led upstairs to view the wonderful Britton Cabinet whose picture adorns the top of this post. We posted about it on this blog years ago, with photos by Mr. Glastonbury, but it was another thing to see it in person! If we described it in detail, this post would be insufferably long (like it is already, only more so), but as it says on this page, “Integral to the design of the cabinet are three models of Stonehenge and Avebury made by Henry Browne.” We are not ashamed to say that we were moved to see in person some of the historical Stonehenge models made by Mr. Henry Browne himself. Browne’s models were, as far as we can tell, the first Stonehenge models to become popular enough to create a demand. The sale of small Stonehenges that we see today in such profusion probably started with him!

A drawer of the cabinet was opened for us, and protective covering carefully lifted from a model so that we might see it. Unlike the model under coloured glass atop the cabinet, which is meant to show the monument as it now stands, this one represents Stonehenge as it is thought to have looked before the destructive forces of time acted upon it.

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in the drawer, a Henry Browne model

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model of Avebury in a drawer of the cabinet, overseen by Pete Glastonbury

When we had finished looking at and photographing the cabinet and its contents, Mr. Dawson then kindly brought out two more Stonehenge models: a resin one made by Michael Postins, who made the ‘template’ for models sold by English Heritage for tourists,

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resin model by Michael Postins, here held by Director Dawson

and a smaller metal one with various military badges, a bit eccentric, which, of course, appeals to us. No history is known for this, but it’s a nice portrayal with stones that look a bit organic, as if they were about to come to life.

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There is much more to the museum, of course, including fascinating and beautiful artefacts from Wiltshire, some found at and near Stonehenge and thought to have belonged to the ancient people who built it and celebrated there. If you’re visiting Stonehenge and want more of its story, you should make a point to stop at the Wiltshire Museum.

We had many more adventures worth telling, and saw more Stonehenge and Avebury models on our trip. But solstice awaits, and the long journey toward shorter days. If you have read this far, we thank you for your time. There truly is a wonderful world of Stonehenge replicas out there, and wonderful people who make them or are fascinated by them. Until next time, friends, happy henging!

Paper Covers Rock: What is Stonehenge Really Made of?

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decoupaged plaster trilithon and photo by Kathleen Kelly, used with permission

Yes, hello, we still exist, at least sporadically. Hope you are doing well, gentle reader. Much has been happening in the Stonehenge replica world, and we can’t keep up, but this brilliant model has been top of our list of things to be posted!

Created by Kathleen Coyne Kelly, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston, it is a plaster model of a Stonehenge trilithon, papered over with images of pages from scholarly books and manuscripts, all writings about Stonehenge. She writes:

In the game rock-paper-scissors, paper covers, or beats, rock. And Stonehenge is indeed covered by paper. Reams of paper have been produced by archaeologists, historians, literary critics, poets, neo-pagans, and travel writers, describing, explaining, and speculating about the origins and purposes of Stonehenge.

So true! In our 8+ years doing the Clonehenge blog and curating (??) the Facebook Clonehenge group (where most of the henging news and activity takes place, if you’re interested!) and page, as well as our Twitter account, it has become glaringly obvious to us that the many ideas, theories, concepts, and even jokes about Stonehenge have served to almost completely overwhelm the experience and existence of Stonehenge itself as a physical object.*

Stonehenge replicas rarely look like Stonehenge or each other, despite being, to be necessarily redundant, replicas of Stonehenge, and this seems to be largely because people’s ideas of what Stonehenge is, although usually inaccurate, supersede, in their minds, Stonehenge as a real ancient stone construction standing on Salisbury Plain in England in the U.K.

It sometimes seems as if the physical thing could fall and hardly affect Stonehenge as a concept. Maybe that what is meant by the word iconic, when people say Stonehenge is an ‘iconic’ monument. Stonehenge isn’t stone, primarily. The hulking grey mass itself is just a symbol for some kind of archetype embedded not only in Western culture but in minds worldwide, as evidenced by Stonehenge replicas around the world and in books, films, and television shows**.

An example of a similar process would be how we just took Professor Kelly’s wonderful trilithon and ran with it in order to illustrate our own thoughts and experiences just now.😉  Sorry. Our point is, we think the concept behind, and the trilithon itself is just brilliant!

A few more words from the estimable and perceptive Professor Kelly:

I also got a tattoo—I had wanted something connected to Stonehenge, and it seemed like the right time, since I was giving this paper at a conference with the theme, “Off the Books.” I ended my talk with this:

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Professor Kelly’s Stonehenge tattoo

“And here is another way to remember Stonehenge—off the books and on the skin.”

She adds:

I’m giving another paper on Stonehenge in January: the theme of the conference is literature and its publics, and I’m focusing on homages to and parodies of Stonehenge as examples of appropriation . . . Your site is of course discussed!

But of course!😉

We hope we hear more about that paper, and we’ll pass along anything we think you would find interesting, gentle reader. Until then, all who wonder, happy henging!

*This may be why some of the most interesting discoveries about Stonehenge in recent years have been made by Tim Daw, who for a while did some groundskeeping work at the site. Working the actual site puts you in an ideal position to see Stonehenge as it is and not as the ideas about it.

**We recently, for example, learned of a Turkish television drama that featured a Turkish mafia family meeting at Stonehenge, or at least a Stonehenge

 

Henge Man Matt Rich: Is Henging a Hobby, a Calling, or a Disorder? Do We Care?

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Henge Man, by Matt Rich

A special treat for solstice! If Matt had not existed, we would have had to invent him. But here he is and we are delighted!

We came across him on Facebook and saw he was dedicated to henging as we once were to seeking out hengers and henges wherever they’re hidden. There he was, selflessly posting henge after henge,  barely noticing the acclaim that followed each.

We began to realise, here is the person we have dreamed of, The Henge Master, the person who not only builds a henge or to but who lives to henge! Our many years of study of Stonehenge replicas and their builders, including the inimitable Simon Burrow, had led us to suspect such people might be out there, but it was still a thrill to see him in action. We got in touch, watched his posts, and inevitably, asked him for an interview to try to learn what makes him tick. We are grateful to say he was more than happy to oblige. Matt Rich lives in Leeds and is in his 30s.

CH: Hi, Matt. How did you first get interested in henging?

Matt: I first started making single torii henges out of mud on the school playing field when I was in primary school. The kids used to kick them down, but I just made more.

I didn’t know about Stonehenge at the time. I found out when one of the teachers asked me if my parents were hippies. I had no idea what she was talked about, so I said no (which is true). When I found out that the megalithic builders had beat me to it, I felt embarrassed. So I stopped. Later in art class I made one out of clay, but it exploded in the kiln. After that I stopped for many years. I started again about 2 years ago.

CH: What was your first henge and how did it come about?

Matt: My first real henge was Cheesehenge.

(CH note: Cheesehenges are a classic beginning henge.)

Matt: I have to be honest. I henge for fun. I enjoy it. I love the henge formation.

CH: Best reason to henge! Have you been to Stonehenge and if so, how many times?

Matt: I have been to Stonehenge. I was 10 years old and I didn’t appreciate it. I was bored. I was expecting a theme park. I would probably like it quite a lot if I go now.

CH: Do you enjoy seeing other people’s Stonehenge replicas or is it more interesting to you as a way of expressing yourself?

Matt: I love seeing other people’s Stonehenge or clonehenge replicas. I really like it when other people copy my henge. I have posted them in many groups and  I have inspired many other people to henge.

CH: If you could visit any large permanent replica, which one would you visit? Or is there one you wish you could build for people to visit?

Matt: I would like to visit the pyramids at Giza. I would like to make a skyscraper henge or a tree henge before I die.

CH: Anything else?

Matt: I need to tell the henge story.

In September 2014 I purchased some ready-cut cheese from Marks & Spencer. I was trying to think of a post for The Boring Group [on Facebook], when suddenly I decided to make a  Henge. I posted a picture of the Henge to the group and I received 100+ likes and many comments. I also posted Change Henge to The Very Boring Group [also on FB] where it got 401 likes. A couple of weeks later I made Sock Henge and posted it to both groups. This also got many likes in both groups, but in The Very Boring Group, many people started to copy me.

At one one point one in four posts was a henge post. In the end Henges were banned under rule number 27. At the same time The Boring Overlord, who created The Very Boring Group, made a group called, ‘Will It Henge?’. I was made admin of this group along with 3 other people, we called ourselves Druids. I was not a big fan of the rules in, Will It Henge? so I rebelled and I was removed as admin by Dan The Unhenger. I later quite the group and made my own page called, This Is My Henge. My page did quite well generating nearly 2 thousand likes. I also continued to post my henges to The Boring Group and still do. In The Boring Group my Henges are liked by many people, and every time I post a Henge I get many likes and comments.

I recently discovered the Clonehenge group where I met [you] The rest is history.

Yes, folks, Matt posted so many henges to one group that all henges ended up being banned!

To finish, rather than say more words, which you will just skim through anyway and not really read, because, seriously, who has time???, we’ll finish with a few sets of thumbnails of Matt’s prolific output of henges. When we started this blog many years ago, we did not even dare to think that such an array and variety of henges could exist, let alone be built by one person. We applaud Matt and his one-man championing of the henging craft! May he live long and henge often!

And a very happy solstice to all of you, winter or summer, depending where you are. Until next time (and we do have a treat in store!), we wish you happy and fruitful henging!

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Why All the Stonehenges, South Korea?

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miniature Stonehenge at Aiins World in South Korea, posted with permission from Saranghae Korea

Thought we might put up a quick post for old times’ sake. We passed our seventh anniversary earlier this month, and in those seven years the world has become ever more filled with Stonehenge replicas, some might say to an alarming degree. Here on the official blog we have not kept up, but posts continue on the Clonehenge group and a related group for and by hengers themselves called the Will It Henge group on Facebook. We hope to feature an interview with a crazed dedicated henger from that group in the near future!

Today, however, we feature a new permanent henge, large enough, we think, to make our large permanent replica list, in South Korea. It is part of the Aiins World miniature park, another of those parks that feature miniature models of famous landmarks from around the world. We can’t tell from this picture just how miniature this is, but it appears to be a few feet high, and that’s good enough for us. We hereby declare it large and permanent! Our thanks to Saranghae Korea for permission to post the photo.

But now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about South Korea for a moment. We posted the Paju City Stonehenge at a pretend English town in South Korea on this blog years ago. We have heard rumours of a Stonehenge in the centre of the hotel complex at Del Pino Golf and Resort in Goseong-gun. That one looks very nice, but no explanation has been forthcoming.

And there is another, well, actually just a trilithon, but Stonehenge-like enough to satisfy us, in Gang-hwa goindolgun (photo at link). Gang-hwa goindolgun has other megalithic replicas, including an alignment like Carnac. We would definitely visit this place! This makes four Stonehenges in South Korea, that we know of! Is there something going on over there that we should know about??? Why all the Stonehenges, South Korea? This makes it the Stonehenge capital of Asia, much as Germany is for Europe. Well done, we must say!

We’re sure there are Stonehenge replicas and models we have yet to learn about. Not everyone in the world has been alerted to the importance and supremacy of the Clonehenge blog when it comes to reporting Stonehenge sightings. Please help us out by telling people to submit their information and pictures to us on the Clonehenge Twitter and/or the Clonehenge Facebook Group! We can’t emphasise to you enough just how important this is!*

Meanwhile, South Korea has quietly been doing its part. Let yourself be inspired to take up the banner. What could there be but peace and respect in a world full of Stonehenge replicas?

*because, to be honest, it is actually not all that important.

Bananahenge: Foodhenge Done Right!

bananahenge by petrija dos santos

bananahenge by petrija dos santos

Greetings! Long time no post. The Clonehenge staff have returned from our journey to the wilds of Salisbury Plain, among other similarly exotic spots, and have pictures and thoughts to share. In the meantime, however, we received this remarkable foodhenge photo from the artist, Toronto food photographer, Petrija Dos Santos, and decided you need to see it.

What a work! Let us tell you some of the ways in which this was done right. For this we need to post an aerial view of the Real Thing, which you can see below. Looking at it, we think it’s possible the artist herself may have gone by this picture when setting up the bananas.

Note how the inner trilithon horseshoe faces the longest lintelled stretch of the outer circle. Note how even fallen stones are, for the most part, represented. Note the care in stone/banana placement. Note how the sunset light is mimicked so as to create relatively accurate shadows of the banana stones! The henge and photograph were created by someone who was Paying Attention. Well done. (And of course the most important course of action this henger took was to SEND THE PHOTO TO THE CLONEHENGE BLOG!!! No henge is complete without this final step. You can find us on Twitter and Facebook.) The absolute ridiculousness of making a Stonehenge from cut bananas is cancelled out by the seriousness with which the project has been approached.

Well, almost.

At any rate, we give this henge 7 druids out of ten! Dos Santos has set the bar for those who would build the foodhenges of the future!!

We have pictures of a number of Stonehenge replicas of various sizes in store for you, mostly from the Stonehenge gift shop, so new posts may actually happen in the next month, well, next few months. Okay, maybe by winter solstice. But for now we thank you for reading, and wish all of you some very happy henging! And be sure to send us pictures!!

aerial view of Stonehenge

aerial view of Stonehenge

Clonehenge Goes to Stonehenge: Investigating the Source of the Plague!

Stonehenge—Warning: NOT A REPLICA!

(Warning: this is NOT A REPLICA !) Stonehenge photo by Pete Glastonbury, used with permission. 

Well, the word is out, so we may as well say it here: the entire staff of Clonehenge.com is headed for the UK and, against the justifiable objections of everyone at English Heritage (probably), will be visiting Stonehenge itself in early June!

Despite the well-known dangers of brain infection that we have documented here on this blog for many years, we have decided that, for the sake of the future of mankind and, indeed, of the entire planet and all of its living things, it is nothing short of our duty to investigate the source of the contagion that is spreading little Stonehenges across the globe. So on an undisclosed day in the next few weeks, we will don our hazmat suits, or possibly a mack and Wellies, and approach the dreaded structure that so many foolish and unsuspecting tourists willingly view in the course of a year.

Thank you. Thank you. Yes, we deserve that thundering applause for our courage and self-sacrifice, but of course we are far too modest to admit it! We are, it is true, still awaiting our funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as our funding from the World Health Organisation, but we’re certain they will come through.

Miniature Stonehenge Model in a Tin, as sold at the Visitor Centre

Miniature Stonehenge Model in a Tin, as sold at the Visitor Centre

While there we hope to investigate stories we’ve heard of numerous Stonehenge replicas, large and small, sold at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre, including a particularly close inspection of certain chocolate trilithons of which we have been hearing ominous rumours!

Stonehenge of chocolate trilithons by @SchPrehistory on Twitter

Stonehenge of chocolate trilithons by @SchPrehistory on Twitter

Is it possible that EH or certain shadowy figures associated with the World Heritage Site are complicit in the plot to cover the earth with bad Stonehenge replicas by bringing in millions of tourists to contaminate their minds and then have them take home contagious gifts to families and friends? To find out the truth, we will stop at nothing, even including eating chocolate! It is a tough assignment, but we reluctantly and humbly accept it.

While in the environs, we hope to see other Stonehenge replicas and possibly Avebury and Silbury replicas, too. And the real ones as well. We will report back to our vast but quiet (very very quiet, but we know you’re out there! You are, aren’t you?) fandom.

So wish us luck in our hazardous endeavour. If you never hear from us again, well, you may assume we’re just being as lazy as always!

Until next time, gentle readers, happy henging!

Equinox Henge Sampler or, Good News—People are Still Strange!

knitted Stonehenge by Toogood Knits

knitted Stonehenge by Toogood Knits

Hello, friends! Yes, it’s vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere already and we haven’t posted on this blog since New Year’s. Go ahead, tell us how YOU’VE done everything YOU should have done since then. What’s that? We’re listening, but we can’t hear you? Okay, then.

At any rate, our absence here does not mean that nothing has been happening in the glamourous world of Stonehenge replicas. Au contraire! (See? Glamourous!) On Twitter and Facebook, many Stonehenge replicas, new and old, have been posted and admired. We thought we would post a few recent favourites here for those who still actually read blogs. Nostalgic for when people used to read, are you? The Clonehenge staff admires your old-school dedication!*

So behold: a wooden henge in a Liverpool park, made by John Merrill and John Ayling.

wooden henge in Liverpool's Princes Park

wooden henge in Liverpool’s Princes Park

A food-safe Stonehenge mold on Etsy, for fondant, chocolate, or candy henges, made by Michele B. Brosseau!

Stonehenge food-safe silicone mold

Stonehenge food-safe silicone mold from Etsy

An icehenge, built on a frozen lake in the northern U.S. by Drew McHenry, Kevin Lehner, Quinn Williams, Alec Niedringhaus and Patrick Shields.

Rock Lake Icehenge, in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, USA

Rock Lake Icehenge, in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, USA, photo by Eli Wedel

And then, of course, there are the many foodhenges, of which this melon henge is but an example. We’ve seen cakehenges, a beefhenge, and others including that old favourite, the sconehenge.

melonhenge from the blog Keep It Up, David

melonhenge from the blog Keep It Up, David

So, although our blog posts are sporadic, the world’s bizarre obsession with making Stonehenge replicas has not abated, and reports of them are still pouring in! If you can’t be at Stonehenge itself for the equinox/eclipse celebration this year, we suggest making your own Stonehenge and celebrating with friends. It’s the same earth, the same sun as they’ll have at Stonehenge, with less crowding, less noise, and less trash. And you know where to send the pictures!

Our thanks to all who have posted Stonehenge replicas where we could see them or who sent us emails or messages alerting us to them. A very happy equinox to all and until next time (and the Stones only know when that will be) we wish everyone out there some very happy henging!

*(We realise that you’ve given up reading and gone on to another blog by now, but it’s the thought that counts!)