Three More For the List of Large Permanent Replicas!


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 Kearton 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!


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]

Trilithon flat 2.jpg

trilithon flat 1.jpeg

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


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!

The Stonehenge Perspective on Henging, Part 1: Introducing Simon Banton!

Above: Simon Banton at that famous pile of rocks:

You can notice a lot of subtleties about Stonehenge if you spend 6 years looking at it from all angles in all weathers and lighting conditions.”

It may seem to go without saying that the idea of Stonehenge replicas is inextricably tied to Stonehenge, but we’ve been thinking it needs a little more talking about. What do all these Stonehenge replicas look like to people who are actually familiar with Stonehenge?

Well, a peculiar outcome of doing Clonehenge over the years has been the unexpected pleasure of getting to know a number of people who are connected with Stonehenge in one manner or another. Those people have made us aware of aspects of Stonehenge and its landscape that we knew nothing of before we began this blog and our life of folly. That, in turn, has changed what we see and look for in Stonehenge replicas.img_0552

It is in this context we would like to introduce to you Mr. Simon Banton. A few readers may remember him as the fellow who when he found himself at a pub that had children’s toys, made and sent us some Clonehenge art on an Etch-A-Sketch (How do we love this? Let us count the ways!).

But there is a great deal more to him than that, as the photo at the top suggests. He is good natured and deeply knowledgable and has two blogs, The Stones of Stonehenge, with a page devoted to each stone at Stonehenge, and Stonehenge Monument, with information about Stonehenge and the surrounding landscape of the World Heritage Site. We asked him for an interview, and to our delight he agreed. The result is remarkable, if a bit technical in places. We intended to post only a short edit of the interview, but it is so full of information and good thoughts, stories, and ideas that we’ve decided to post most of it, split into two parts, with helpful (we hope) commentary, links, and photos added.

A note to start, because this will come up:

As some will know, there is a commonly agreed-upon numbering system for the stones at Stonehenge. For example, this trilithon, originally part of the outer circle so it would have supported the ends of two more lintels, shows upright stones 4 and 5 plus the lintel, which is 105.
4 5 105(Just ignore the show-off bustard. Apparently bird tourists are permitted inside the circle of the ditch and bank, unlike the rest of us that day. Not fair, but as they say, what is?)
Stonehenge numbered stone plan by Author ©Anthony Johnson 2008

The plan on the right, showing numbers for each stone, is linked to a larger version. And now, the first part of our interview with Simon:

1) First, for the reader, what has been your involvement with Stonehenge over the years? I understand you worked there. For how long and in what capacity?

I first saw Stonehenge when I went to the very last Stonehenge Free Festival in 1984, before the authorities clamped down on it at the infamous Battle of the Beanfield of 1985 (Google it and watch the YouTube vids). Being in and around the monument had a profound effect on me, at the time I was only 19 years old.

When, in 2000, English Heritage, the Police and Wiltshire Council did away with the 3 mile radius exclusion zone that had been in place at Summer Solstice ever since 1985, I felt compelled to go along to that first “Managed Open Access” event to get back inside the stone circle. That, too, was a transformative experience. It poured with rain all night long and 5000 people were thoroughly soaked by the time dawn arrived, with no sign of the Sunrise.

I’d developed a keen interest in archaeoastronomy in the mid-1990s (I’ve been an amateur astronomer since I was 9 years old) and I was actively researching Egyptian sky-mythology. Stonehenge was the next logical step. By 2010 I’d moved to within 3 miles of Stonehenge and I became an Education Volunteer for English Heritage… Within a couple of months this turned into a job as a member of the Visitor Operations Team, standing on the path next to the stones and getting paid for telling people about the place. I did this for 6 years and loved it – it gave me unprecedented levels of access to the stone circle and allowed me to carry out my own research. You can notice a lot of subtleties about Stonehenge if you spend 6 years looking at it from all angles in all weathers and lighting conditions.

2) How many Stonehenge models or replicas do you own, if any?

I have a bronzed resin cast model of Stones 4, 5 and 105 that is 8″ high and mounted on a plinth that reads “It’s smaller than I imagined”. I helped a local firm with their project to Stonehenge modelcreate these casts as souvenirs to sell in their shop in Amesbury and they gave me a prototype as a thank you. Stone 5 is the one with the large yellow lichen “DI” lettering that’s visible on its eastern face, a remnant of the RADIO CAROLINE graffiti from the 1960s.

I’ve also got a 1′ high x 2′ wide beaten metal and weld sculptural picture of the monument, done by my friend Michelle Topps of Horseshoes4Hounds ( Both are utterly unique – I don’t go for snowglobes and the like!
Stonehenge weld picture

[Editor’s note: This is Quite a Nice Thing! Also—a reminder to our readers that opinions of  an interviewee are not necessarily the opinions of the interviewer. We love snowglobes and it’s not too late to send us one!]

3) How many ‘clonehenges’ have you made, if any, and what were the materials?

I’ve done one out of bricks (hasn’t everyone?) Teahengebut these bricks were the ones that used to line the edge of the visitor path around the monument, and I acquired them when they were torn up as part of the refurbishing of the path back in 2013. I did once make a trilithon out of snow, which is a whole lot trickier than you’d think, and then there was the 5-minute “boxes-of-herbal-tea-henge”, which was a joint effort with other members of the Stonehenge staff when management somewhat over-ordered one day 🙂

4) What do you find amusing, irritating, or remarkable about Stonehenge models or replicas you’ve seen? Do any in particular stand out, whether as good, bad, funny, or impressive? Do you have a favourite?

I’m always amused by the lengths people will go to to henge things – but I feel vaguely sad when no attempt is made to make something recognisably close to the original in any way. There’s more to a good clonehenge than that.

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 9.31.48 AMIt also irritates me when the models that English Heritage sell have glaring errors. Don’t get me started on the large models in the exhibition at the Visitor Centre – the Station Stones are so out of whack that “rectangle” is the last word you’d use to describe their arrangement! They also forgot to include the Altar Stone when the models were first made, and when they did finally add them in, they glued them down at 90° to the primary solstitial axis instead of the correct 80° – that really grinds my gears, because the 80° angle is fundamental to the design of the monument. [Editor’s note: The plan above and to the left shows the rectangle formed by the Station Stones at Stonehenge. The rectangle formed by these stones is considered important by some because, along with the alignments of these and other stones, it may be part of the reason Stonehenge was built where it is.]

29570597_10155564264413022_4968747390063919463_nThe most impressive has got to be Deller’s “Sacrilege” [Editor: the famous inflatable Stonehenge that toured a few years ago. In this we do not disagree!]. Even though it doesn’t have all the stones, it has just enough of them, done accurately enough that it’s unmistakably close to the real thing. And it’s enormous fun to bounce on. [Editor: On the left, or above, depending on the device you’re using to see this, is a photo of Deller’s bouncy Stonehenge with Simon on the right and English Heritage archaeologist Dave Field on the left. Photo by and with permission of the fabulous Pete Glastonbury.]

My favourite is the one at Esperance, Australia. Although I’ve not seen it in person, I love that it’s a close replica made of actual stone and that it’s correctly rotated 180° from the prototype [Editor: because of its location in the Southern Hemisphere]. It’ll last as long as the original and baffle future archaeologists. •

We end the first part of our interview with Simon Banton here. There’s plenty of information to digest. His opinions about why so many people make Stonehenges, what he would like to see in them, and other advice for hengers, as well as a little advice for Clonehenge itself, are ahead in the next part of the interview. Be sure to tune in!

And until next time, of course, happy henging!

That Bird’s-Eye View of the Stonehenge Pandemic

Image from the article: art by Alison Dubois

It’s in Good Magazine this month, and its title is How Stonehenge Replicas Became the World’s First Meme.

A number of people who are significant in the henging community were interviewed for this article, notable among them the irrepressible Mark Cline of Virginia Foamhenge and the fibreglass Bamahenge fame, and Jim Reinders, builder of Nebraska’s famous Carhenge. The author, Jed Oelbaum, also sought out prolific hengers of the small henge variety, long time and beloved friend of the blog Simon Burrow, and Matthew Richardson, known as Matt Rich on Facebook where he posts pictures of his endless and innovative henges.

It is a fun read for those of us who have been following henging for many years now, but the most jarring bit was the claim that some person who calls themself “Nancy Wisser” is the perpetrator of the Clonehenge blog and related Facebook and Twitter accounts. We questioned everyone on the large staff here at our luxurious suite of offices at Clonehenge, Incorporated, and at our satellite office complexes throughout the world, and no one had even heard of this alleged person.

“It sounds like a fake name to me,” said Hedgehog von Tapwater, a high-paid manager in the Clonehenge hierarchy, absentmindedly brushing back his fashionably purple hair. “And the things said about them are just absurd. Listen to this:

‘There’s almost no way to seriously research the phenomenon of Stonehenge recreations without interacting with Wisser’s exhaustive work. She might be the only one out there with enough of a bird’s-eye view of the Stonehenge pandemic to understand it. Her mix of humor and historical rigor has allowed her to build relationships with the full range of Stonehenge aficionados: astronomers and archaeological experts, compulsive micro-henge builders, and conspiracy theorists who suspect it was built by aliens.’

It makes it sound as if there’s just one eccentric person out there managing the Clonehenge empire as an unpaid hobby rather than the team of skilled experts we have monitoring the news from the world of henging 24 hours a day!”

And that seemed to be the consensus of the entire staff here. It is a fantastic, extremely well-written article, except for this peculiar detail. In fact, we recommend everyone read it and try to help us understand, if you can, how this Wisser character, whoever he or she is, wound up being interviewed about perhaps the most important topic facing the world today: Henging–why the heck is it happening and down what unfathomable path is it leading mankind?

Again, here is the link: How Stonehenge Replicas Became the World’s First Meme.

And the best part? The article does not even mention Spinal Tap! For this reason alone, we couldn’t be happier.

The worldwide proliferation of Stonehenge replicas is being recognised ever more widely. Become a henger now, so you can say you did it before it was cool!* Until next time, Gentle Readers, we wish you, of course, the happiest henging!

*It has always been cool.

Clonehenge’s Tenth Year: Starting It Off Right! (ish)

It was suggested to us that we should do a post every month this year, and for each month choose the best Stonehenge replica from the corresponding year of the blog. What a good idea! What a shame we aren’t the kind of people who act on good ideas. But there it is.

And anyway, when we took a look back at all of those early posts, two things leapt out at us. One is that no one should ever have to read their own writing from almost a decade ago, and the other is that somehow every single henge seems like the best henge in its own particular way! So in the real tradition of this blog, we’re just going to ramble aimlessly and pretend it’s a good post. Thank you very much. No applause necessary. Really. We’re good.

It is widely, although not universally, agreed that Stonehenge is mysterious. It was mysterious to me as a child, a representation of the mysteries of the distant past, when people had to wrest their livings directly from the earth, with no social networks but their communities, no videos but the night sky.

Standing alone on Salisbury Plain, unaccompanied by evidence of a city or other signs of advanced civilisation, it went on to tantalise us with its complexities, the carefully worked curved lintels on the outer circle, the woodwork-like mortise and tenon joints that held those lintels in place for millennia, the astronomical alignments, the surrounding landscape with Aubrey Holes, barrows and cursus, to name but a few.

Who built Stonehenge? Why did they build it? How did they build it? What did it look like at its height? Those were the well-known mysteries on which I cut my metaphorical mysteries teeth. But then, through an intricate series of unusual circumstances that seemed to flow normally as they happened but seem strangely contrived in retrospect, I stumbled upon what seemed to me to be a greater mystery still: why are so many people even now in our modern but bewildering times building so many Stonehenge replicas?

I mean, seriously, what is it about? People all over the world are making Stonehenges, large and small, out of materials edible and inedible, from single trilithons to elaborate facsimiles, many if not most of them thinking they are the first to make one like theirs. And that’s true, in a way, because although they are all replicas of the same thing, no two are the same! Although there are countless Stonehenge replicas, a student of the subject can over time learn to recognize each of them by sight.

In the famous words of one Jubal Early of the brilliant but prematurely lamented show Firefly, “Now, does that seem right to you?”

Since then we, which is our polite form of “I”, have been wandering a side path. Let others stop at the enigma Visitor Centre and board the bus to the external mystery. We instead have been set to wander over the Stonehenge landscape of the modern mind, seeking the archetype that will help us make sense of the conundrum of an upsurge of Stonehenge and of faux Stonehenges in the age of Instagram, Google Street View, and virtual reality.

Some will say it all stems from Spinal Tap and make that stale quip about dwarves, but the building of Stonehenges far precedes their time. Henry Browne, by all accounts, was building and selling small cork Stonehenge replicas by some time in the early to mid-1800s. The Quinta Stonehenge in Weston Rhyn, Shropshire is variously said to have been built some time in the 1840s to 1870s. The well known Maryhill replica in Washington State was built in the 1930s. And so on. The famously small stage prop replica in the movie This Is Spinal Tap was just part of a long tradition, itself rumoured tonhave been inspired by a too-large replica built for a Black Sabbath tour.

So instead of a sensible effort like the suggested ten henges for ten months, we, that is to say I, am embarking on a ten month examination of the phenomenon and idea of Stonehenge replicas. What kinds are there? What’s funny about them, what’s poignant about them? We hope to do an interview or two (or three) with people who have special knowledge of the subject of Stonehenge, both in real life and in media perceptions. And some of the people who have built and are building the Stonehenges of our time.

As we approach Clonehenge’s tenth anniversary, we finally plan to confront some of the questions we have playfully raised all this time, and while we do so, we will show you some extraordinary henges/replicas on the way. We invite you along for the ride!

And until next time, Gentle Readers, we wish you happy henging!

*At the top, a Henry Browne Stonehenge, photo our own, taken with permission at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes. Our thanks to the gracious David Dawson, the indispensable Pete Glastonbury, and the kind and brilliant Jezreell.

Clonehenge Interviewed on BBC Wiltshire’s Breakfast Show!

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 5.08.53 PM

Jeremy Deller’s bouncy Stonehenge, called Sacrilege, seen here in Hong Kong. Photo link.

We are chuffed! Clonehenge somehow caught the eye of someone at BBC Wiltshire and we ended up having a brief but delightful chat with Breakfast Show presenter Ben Prater. Now you lucky readers can hear it here, should you so choose. Fear not. It is short and will be over before you know it!

All right, yes, during the interview we did forget to mention the blog address, our Facebook group and page, and our Twitter account, which in retrospect seems to suggest a certain lack of presence of mind, but in our defense, it was 3:00 in the morning here. On the up side, no one can accuse us of too-zealous self-promotion! Here’s the interview:


Fun! Don’t forget to send us your messages and your henges on the Facebook or Twitter links above, and until next time, friends, happy henging!

The Bluestone Throne: Have a Seat Among the Trilithons!


The so-called Bluestone Throne, as posted by Cross Keys Arcade on Twitter

Just feast your eyes. We love this!

The “Bluestone Throne”, as seen above, is a marketing aid for the cathedral city of Salisbury in Wiltshire, the county of the U.K. that is (blessed with? burdened with? guilty of?) Stonehenge. Cleverly made from wood by a local craftsman, it is painted to resemble stone, not actually the famous bluestones, but the equally famous sarsen trilithons that are so emblematic of the ancient heap of rocks we keep talking about here.

The back of the throne is made to look like one huge trilithon and the seat’s arms are made up of two smaller trilithons. The proportions and the stone shapes echo those of the real monument, which may not sound like much but is actually quite unusual when it comes to Stonehenge replicas. We applaud the efforts at making it look real.

And the idea is clever, isn’t it? We think some smart entrepreneur should use this design and create inflatable thrones to sell for sitting in the back garden or by the seashore. How glorious!

Are we still giving tongue-in-cheek Druid ratings on this long-neglected blog? If so, we grant this a solid 8 druids, which is very good for something that doesn’t even form a circle. But it is surely in the Clonehenge tradition—a bit humourous, almost a cheeky (Oh gosh! We’re going to pretend that pun was intended!) thing to do with the idea of the world-renowned monument of mystery and wonder we all know so well. And we like it all the more for being named Bluestone Throne when there is nothing resembling a bluestone in it! Just the sort of thing that delights us.

The selfie-friendly seat will be placed in different spots around Salisbury over the coming weeks, then tucked away over the winter, and if it is popular enough, brought back out for next year! So please, we beg you, make sure it’s popular so we can see it again, or, alternatively, have it sent to us at the end of the season, for us to put in the front garden. Wouldn’t the neighbours talk!

So get thee to Salisbury to sit on the stoney throne. We have a list of people we would love to see in it. Feel free to post Bluestone Throne selfies on our Facebook Group, or tweet them to @Clonehenge on Twitter. And until next time, kind friends, happy henging!

At Solstice Doth Our Fancy Lightly Turn to Thoughts of Stonehenge

Aaron burell, aligner of Odessa's Henge, TX

Aaron Burell, aligner of the Odessa Stonehenge, at the henge itself

Summer solstice about to happen in the northern hemisphere and if there is to be a Clonehenge holiday, this is as good as any. After all, there is nearly consensus that winter solstice was the big holiday for which Stonehenge was built and yet summer solstice draws the largest crowds there. After all, it’s warmer!That is the sort of irony for which Clonehenge is made.

Clonehenge was created because in honesty we were flabbergasted at the discovery that people all over the world at any given time are making Stonehenges out of any available material. From time to time you see someone trying to claim the making of henges for herself or himself, but the whole principle of Clonehenge is that the making of Stonehenges is universal and quite beyond logic and explanation, a human phenomenon that is not likely to end any time soon.

Of course over the years we have not been the only ones tracking henges, although we like to think we have been the most comprehensive. Among the people watching and thinking about the proliferation of henges is a radio producer for the BBC called Mark Burman. In his words,

“I guess when I first fell under the stony shadow I was envisaging a picaresque, mildly piss taking, kookiness road trip through America. Problem is—it is a long, bloody road trip and every story has to be researched and a journey has to be planned and the nature of radio schedules and radio budgets is I don’t have 2 months to scoot through America-which is what it would take. I began in 2014 in Texas as I was making a story out there on the real Searchers. But that’s as far as I have got and my nice WS editor has been happy to wait. So it has been a story greatly interrupted but as I am back in the States at least twice more this year as it seems nuts not to add to my Henge stories.”

rehearsing macbeth at Henge II, Kerrville Tx 0ct2 2014

Rehearsing MacBeth at Stonehenge II

Aboveyou can see pictures from his visits to two of Texas’s Stonehenges, the somewhat humourous and strangely proportioned but popular Stonehenge II and the beautifully made Stonehenge at Odessa, surely one of the five best in the western hemisphere if not the world.

The news is that Mr. Burman may be making the trek back to the States once or twice in 2017 and it is possible he may be accompanying the staff of Clonehenge to a Stonehenge replica or two in the eastern United States. It will not be in time for solstice, of course, but as at solstice a person’s fancy turns to thoughts of Stonehenge, it seemed as good a good time as any to bring it up. If we begin the Clonehenge year at solstice (and why not?), this may be the beginning of a resurgence in the vitality of henging and stories of henging! We hear of much worse things on a daily basis, so perhaps people are ready to permit a little weirdness in the mix.

Best wishes to all and of course, happy henging! The entire staff at Clonehenge wishes you well, O Gentle Reader! May the year that begins now bring you good things and better days than we can currently envision!

BEST STONEHENGE REPLICA EVER: Built Near Stonehenge by Hollywood!


Transformers 5 Stonehenge replica, photo by Rose Senior

This is it—the new standard for hengers everywhere! It is only a partial replica, but the part they did build captures the feel of the real—the right size, shapes, proportions, placement, colours, indentations, markings. Attention was paid to the real thing.

We don’t know what it’s made of or who made it, but we do know the why. It was created for scenes in the fifth and latest movie in the Transformers franchise, a film series based on, well, toys, not to put too fine a point on it. We laugh, but the Transformers series of movies is the: “4th highest-grossing when averaged to gross per film, behind the The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean film series.” So says Wikipedia. Big movie stars including Anthony Hopkins, Mark Wahlberg, and Stanley Tucci will be in this film. In fact, the first two were in Wiltshire this past week filming at Stonehenge and at the replica, and possibly at a rumoured secret second replica (!!!).

There is money behind this film. Big money. It is safe to say that this is the most expensive Stonehenge replica ever created. And we must say, we are impressed with what money can do! Brilliant work has been done in shaping, placing, and colouring these ‘stones’. They are so well done that even as respected an institution as the Daily Mail briefly published an article with pictures of it that claimed it was the real Stonehenge.

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This picture’s caption in the Daily Mail read: “The replica was so realistic it led many to claim the original structure had in fact been used by the filmmakers.” (And that ‘many’ seem to have been writers for the Mail.)

The figure standing in the above picture is Anthony Hopkins. We don’t often get to see celebrities at Stonehenge replicas, so we just wanted to point this out. This is henging at a whole other level.

Making false things appear real is what Hollywood excels at. In this case, how did they do it? There is a lot we don’t know, but the marvelous Rose Senior captured a bit of the magic and is kindly willing to share it with readers of the Clonehenge blog. The following photos show fake lichen being applied to the replica stones, and in one we see pictures of the lichen on the real stones, used as guidance for the ‘painters’ of the false ones.


‘Lichen’ being applied to the ‘stones’. Photo by Rose Senior.


Pictures of the real stones being used to guide one of the painters of the replica stones. Photo by Rose Senior.

Rose tells us that when the paint was being thrown at the stones, it made a hollow sound. It isn’t surprising that the stones were hollow, but the question of the material involved remain tantalisingly unanswered. The hollowness of these stones, which were just by Bilbury Rings Hillfort off the A303, also brings us back to rumours of a second and mysterious Stonehenge replica, secreted somewhere in the Wiltshire countryside. Hollow stones might not be ideal to use if you want a good scene of Stonehenge being blown up (and blowing things up is another thing Hollywood and in particular this film series is known for), so might the rumoured secret replica be solid and possibly smaller, built solely for blowing up and exploding the stones in a visually satisfying manner? That is our guess.

If anyone has further information (or photos!) on the rumoured replica or on the materials and creators of the known one, please tell us and we will add the information to this post. There are so many things our inquiring minds want to know! It is exciting to have Hollywood with its famous people and huge quantities of money walk right into our wheelhouse, so to speak.

Once again we are left to marvel at how many walks of life a fascination with Stonehenge replicas can draw one into. Science, religion, art, foods, politics, movies—Stonehenge replicas are built in connection with all these topics and more. Not to mention little toy cars that can change into monsters!

And with that profound philosophical note, we wish you all, friends, some very happy henging!

P.S.: Our thanks to Rose Senior, Tim Daw, Simon Banton, and @Fromegooner for help with this post!

Happy Solstice! A Long Post for the Longest Day!


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!


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.


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.


in the drawer, a Henry Browne model


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,


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.


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!