In gearing up for the Clonehenge World Map which is due to be finished by September or October, we commissioned a new logo and a new banner image to use on our social media accounts. In the banner above you can see, left to right, the Odessa, Texas Stonehenge, the Maryhill Washington State Stonehenge, Carhenge in Nebraska, and a small wooden Stonehenge. We think Lena Bane, the artist, did a wonderful job.
A side effect of this is that we can now offer Clonehenge merchandise bearing the new images! To do this we have opened 3 shops on Etsy, one for the U.S., one for the U.K., and one for Australia. All of them are print-on-demand, which means the items are printed after being ordered, in the country where they were ordered, and none have to be shipped internationally unless you are ordering from outside those 3 countries.
So far we only offer mugs and t-shirts but we’re open to suggestions or requests for other items. (You may not be impressed that we figured out how to make three shops in three different countries but we’re rather chuffed.)
Here we see long time friend of Clonehenge Simon Burrow sporting a brand new Clonehenge t-shirt:
And here is friend Timon Greenwood with a Clonehenge banner mug!
Purchases will of course help us to defray the costs of having the beautiful graphics created by Lena Bane, @lenabanegx on Twitter. But the best part of course will be how unattainably cool you will become just by owning one of these rare collectors’ items!
So thank you in advance for any purchases you decide to make! By the way, we did another interview recently, this time on BBC Somerset in the U.K., and we think Stonehenge replicas and the ideas around them are just coming into their own. There are a lot of you with fun ideas out there. We can’t wait to see them. And if you buy our merchandise, please send or post pictures!
Japan has its share of large Stonehenges. We have posted the impressive one at the Gunma Observatory and the glorious one (with Buddhist shrine inside and a line of moai nearby!!!) at Makomanai Takino Cemetery in Sapporo. Here is yet another one, large and handsome, at Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Osaka. We’re guessing the thinking went: “Rugby is English, and what else is English? Stonehenge! We’ll build a Stonehenge!”
At any rate, the construction is suitably rugged in style to match the game. It isn’t a full Stonehenge like the others in Japan, but a bit abstract with several solid trilithons. For the Clonehenge connoisseur it is reminiscent of the exceptional Stonehenge in Odessa, Texas. In one article the Daily Mail captioned their photo with the curious words “Stonehenge-like objects”.
We would love to know more, though. Whose idea was this? What was their thinking? Who designed it? Who built it? Where did the stone come from and what kind is it? Is there a plaque or some kind of dedication? If anyone can give us answers, we would be grateful.
In the 12 years we’ve been doing this blog, many new Stonehenges have appeared. We think the form’s popularity is due at least partly to the satisfaction of visiting a sculpture or construction that offers familiarity, simplicity, large size, and the pleasure of being able to interact with it, to actually walk through it. Add the hint of the ancient and of mystery that is associated with even the idea of Stonehenge and you have an attraction that many people will be eager to visit.
It has been suggested that a Stonehenge much like the real one be built near the original Stonehenge, to offer visitors the full experience of the stones without further threatening the ancient monument itself, many aspects of which, despite its rugged appearance, are fragile. As we are among those who have seen firsthand the damage created at Avebury and West Kennet Long Barrow by public free access there, we have to agree that a close imitation offering the spacial and tactile experience of the stone circle would in the long run serve the public well.
Future generations would appreciate the preservation of the original and current generations would benefit by the extraordinary experience of walking freely in the circle, feeling the extraordinary ambience the stones create just by their form, size, and positioning. Even better might be two imitation Stonehenges with access, one as the monument stands now and one how it is envisioned to have been if and when it was completed.
But that’s far afield from Hanazono! Blood, sweat and rugby! And Stonehenge! A winning combination.
Hello. We have fallen behind on this blog and its maintenance, perhaps irrevocably, so we’re doing a post to say hello and tell you what’s been happening in the topic of Stonehenge replicas.
This used to be a single manageable topic. Combining large permanent replicas, home replicas, small exhibit replicas, and larger temporary Stonehenge replicas didn’t seem like taking on a lot. There just weren’t that many of them, at least not posted online.
But things have taken a turn since then. Numbers have increased in every category. We find large new Stonehenge replicas, large Stonehenge-like circles, large trilithons, including sculptures and fountains, very frequently, all over the world. Stonehenge replicas for advertising and for display or exhibit purposes have become more common, or at least posted more often and therefore easier to find, and the number of at-home replicas and models has gone through the roof.
In the interest of documenting Stonehenge replicas, we still do searches every day, especially on Twitter and Instagram, keeping links to anything interesting in a file on our computer. That list has grown to hundreds of examples, large and small. If we posted all of them on Twitter or our Facebook group or page, people would be overwhelmed and unfollow us en masse. In short, people are making a *lot* of Stonehenges. It’s great, but we can’t keep up.
We still intend to work on and complete the Clonehenge map of permanent replicas around the world, but for now just adding a link for each one instead of trying to include photos and info. Once we have that basic map, then we or other people can improve it over time. Our original ambitions for it are not realistic in light of how much time we currently can spare to do the work.
Lockdown inspired a lot of people to try their hands at Stonehenge replicas, and 95% or more of those were made by people who never heard of Clonehenge. This burgeoning phenomenon has nothing to do with our existence, which makes it all the more curious. Stonehenge is looming larger and larger in the zeitgeist.
This all sounds very serious, but we do still think Stonehenge replicas are funny. We just wanted to take a minute and catch you up with what has been going on. We’re working on learning how to reblog things on Instagram, so we can have a presence there, reblogging every Stonehenge we find every day, with the entire original post. That’s a goal. It’s fascinating what people come up with, from dusty cement block Stonehenges in vacant lots to aesthetic little Stonehenge replicas made to look pretty on Instagram, and all of the usual zany and ingenious versions that seem to come out of nowhere to delight us. We see the most creative and joyful side of people every day.
We’re not sure what the answer is to the problem of overwhelming numbers of replicas, how we can best cover them in the time we have in our lives, which is not a lot. This is a non-paying hobby that is increasingly taking the time you would allot for at least a part-time job. It would be a full-time nonpaying job if we were doing everything we probably should.
Is there a place where we should post every single interesting replica we find? Does anyone out there know what might work? We considered finding people to help with different segments: someone for large replicas, someone for social network replicas, someone to catalogue museum and other exhibit replicas, but a lot of time would be required, for no pay.
We always meant to be thorough and to document everything about this topic that we could, including the history and backstories for important replicas, many of which we know more about than almost anyone. We don’t see a way to do that now, and it’s a shame because it has become a bigger, and so more important, topic than we ever imagined it would be. We’re going to keep brainstorming how best to present the replicas and sometimes the people making them. Unlike in this post we hope to make it entertaining and engaging. We’ll see what develops.
There’s some kind of big psychological thing going on here, making people create these replicas, and it’s our hope that someday someone looks into that. For now, we will continue to observe, and in our private files at least, document what we find. I can’t promise how often we’ll post here on the blog in the time to come, but it costs us a bit of money to maintain so we hope to keep using it. Most Clonehenge activity takes place in the Facebook group and page, and on the Clonehenge Twitter account. Our feed on Twitter overlaps with but is different from the accounts on FB. You can contact us there any time.
We hope you had a happy and uplifting solstice and that the turn of the year brings good things! Thank you for being there and until next time, friends, happy henging!
One of the great things about the ad we were in was the set. The Stonehenge replica we posed in had to be simple but it was still thoughtful. When we asked about it at the shoot we learned the makers were already gone. But good news! Our contact at the ad agency has gotten us the detailed explanation below from Production Designer Dylan Kahn. This is awesome! Many thanks!
(Markings in brackets in bold are ours and lead to footnotes below.)
Here’s basically how we pulled that thing off ..
I put a few images together that show the process
After I shared a bunch of research images of the real Stonehenge with Megaforce we then went and look at all the Clonehenge stuff together on FB[*] and google we could find.
Once we decided what we wanted to do , I built a 3d model of the pieces to help the set shop and I determined which shapes I liked best and thought would read easiest
From there I had the shapes carved in Beadfoam, the sculptors at vision scenery did that for us …using the reference and model as a guide
We then had those approved by MF for size and scale …
Heres a pic of me and the Alicia our Paint / sculpture foreman in front of them that we shared for size. You can see we numbered and then carved each trilithon as close to the model and real shapes as we could…so they were as close to the real thing as possible.
Knowing that they would be seen by not only the Clonehenge FB group people but more importantly[???] an additional 100 million Super Bowl watchers …
Following approvals from MF i then had them coated in concrete…we used the quick setting stuff that comes in 50lb bags. We troweled that on and kept it as rough as possible.
Once that was dry, I had them put a white wash on some of the stones and then a solid gray each on the others so it looked as though some were not yet dry, as MF wanted the vignette to show the group mixing cement and making them.
All in all they turned out great !
In the end we donated them to EcoSet and im sure they’re still there as they’re pretty specific not really recyclable.
I’m glad we had the chance to make something so fun and couldnt have done it without Vision Scenery, Alicia and Raymundo there!
So stoked to work With MF and Wieden to make something that challenged us all in so many ways
I hope this helps explain how we did that
Notes: MF above stands for Megaforce. Wieden is Wieden and Kennedy, the ad agency responsible for making the ad. Our own footnotes: [*] Yay! [???] Say what????
There it is. We wouldn’t be Clonehenge if we weren’t curious to learn how replicas are made. This process was fascinating to us. As to the thinking behind including us in the first place, that of course remains an utter mystery!
Our thanks to Maureen Doyle (for many things!) and Jewel Estephanos for getting us this information. And to everyone who had anything to do with the creation of the ad, especially all of the lovely people we met and were in touch with during the process.
Who knows what will happen with Clonehenge next! But until next time, friends, happy henging!
Clonehenge still from the Facebook Super Bowl commercial
The tale we are about to tell you may sound unlikely or even fictional, but in this strange alternative universe to which we have somehow been transported it is 100% true.
In December, a few days before Christmas, I and a small cohort of the Clonehenge faithful (Simon Burrow and Paul Stoffels) were flown, all expenses paid, to L.A. and put up in a swanky Hollywood hotel for two nights. Another member of the Clonehenge: Stonehenge replicas Unleashed Facebook group , Siobhán Jess Sarrels, lived closer and was brought in by limo to meet us the next day where we were ushered into another limo and driven to the site where a set including a small Stonehenge replica had been prepared.
There we were led to a big trailer which was ours for our time there. We were visited by wardrobe and makeup people, met some of the people who had been instrumental in bringing us there, and went to the set. We ended up spending most of the day doing a shoot along with some very genial actors meant to appear to be Clonehenge group members. The main acting direction was to “look badass!” One does what one can.
What we did not know that day (it was at winter solstice, although we were led to believe that this was a coincidence) was that our shoot was to be part of a Super Bowl commercial (advert, ad, whatever word you prefer). On 02/02/2020 it aired. For a brief instant, the name Clonehenge: Stonehenge Replicas Unleashed!, some very good friends of Clonehenge, and the person typing these words—the redhead with the dark glasses*—appeared before a huge audience of American football fans. At last glance, the video of the ad on Youtube alone has had almost 22 million views. Whether they were all me watching it over and over again will remain undisclosed.
Apparently, at least judging by the soundtrack of the video, whether we at Clonehenge headquarters know it or not, we want to rock. This is new information and we are now attempting to assimilate it into our worldview. The effort is ongoing.
At any rate, the whole thing has been a glorious adventure. Not only have 200 new members joined our Facebook group, bringing us over the 500 member mark, but this along with a radio interview we did on Australian Broadcasting in Sydney on the same day the commercial aired brought this blog’s stats up to near record levels.
To be honest, we had always expected to labor over this topic in obscurity until the end of our days, so this all comes as a bit of a shock. We can only assume that having had the 15 minutes of fame granted to everyone by Andy Warhol, we will now be able to crawl back under the rock from which we briefly issued and continue searching out Stonehenges in all the places where we all, frankly, know they should not be. In that sense, come to think of it, perhaps we do want to rock.
We hope to resume our slow listing of large Stonehenge replicas worldwide in the next post. It is likely to be posted with the same grace and lightning-like speed to which readers have become accustomed.
Thank you for finding us or for sticking with us all these years. Until next time, gentle readers, happy henging!
Moai Coffee, Ratchaburi, Thailand: a meeting of moai, cyclopean walls, coffee, and of course Stonehenge. Seriously, humanity, how did this happen? This is one of those instances when the Stonehenge replica gods seem almost malevolently whimsical.
We understand we may have a few new visitors to this site soon, after an advertisement in which Clonehenge is mentioned is shown widely, and this replica may demonstrate the Clonehenge aesthetic to the curious as well as any: contextless prehistory offered as entertainment, with a healthy side of cringe. Here at Clonehenge, this is part of what we love!
Apparently this Stonehenge has been around since at least 2013 (at which time there were sheep grazing through it, but sadly it seems they have disappeared), but somehow we did not get wind of it until last year. Up front, we want to offer real respect to whoever decided to go so hard for the ‘”so bad it’s good” vibe they have going there. Moai Coffee is an instant classic.
The business itself is a coffee and snack-to-light-meal stop on a popular route in western Thailand. In order to amuse and attract people it seems someone decided to give it an Easter Island head, also known as moai, theme. It isn’t clear just how many moai they have, but there are many and each is unique. Some are just big heads of various sizes, some show the entire torso. You can even buy moai mugs as souvenirs. Humourously the rest rooms are differentiated by a moai with a prominent mustache for the mens’ and a moai with brilliant red lipstick for the ladies’! This place clearly was created with the Instagram selfie celeb in mind.
How Stonehenge crept in there is as yet unknown but there is some confusion among many people about whether Stonehenge and Easter Island heads are related. Stonehenge replicas as far flung as Texas, Japan, and Illinois feature moai as accompaniment for reasons that have never been clear to us. Search ‘Stonehenge’ on Etsy and usually you will see one or two moai listed under that tag. There is also a horrible cartoon that shows a moai on one side of the world and Stonehenge somehow exactly opposite on the other side, with a body between them so that Stonehenge looks like its toes. People send us this cartoon often. (Please stop!)
Listen, we know there is a Youtube video of someone walking around Moai Coffee pointing at the moai and describing them as “stone men from Stonehenge, England” but we will not post that link here. He has been corrected many times in the comments, and besides we refuse to let it continue to ruin our lives. (Is it true that we gripped our heads in both hands and yelled at the screen the first time we saw it? I’m afraid that is merely unconfirmed rumour.)
There are cyclopean walls at Moai Coffee much like those at Sacsayhuamán in Peru, and a few photos show an ancient Egyptian motif in one area or another. We’re all about the Stonehenge stuff here, but the conglomeration of random cool-looking ancient stuff is also a phenomenon worth examining. Not by us, of course. Please, someone go examine it and get back to us.
As for the quality of the replica itself, we judge it very good. The shapes of the stones are rough and close to accurate, which is rare. There is no attempt to make them uniform, a common error, but instead they capture the ancient rugged feel of the real thing. We don’t know whether it is aligned to the winter solstice, or if the lintels are curved but it does appear someone made sure that the inner trilithon horseshoe points toward the three-lintel stretch, one of our favourite tests for whether a builder actually looked at the current Stonehenge when they made it.
This clonehenge gets the official Clonehenge stamp of approval. 8/10, would visit! We will add this to our growing list of large permanent replicas. We have enough left that we have yet to post to take us over the coveted 100 number, so stay tuned. Don’t forget, you can get much more wholesome Clonehenge content on our Facebook group, which is the most active, our Twitter account, and our Facebook page.
We’ll be doing a post about the advert we appear in before long. Until then, friends, new and old, happy henging!
The clonehenge of this post is a large stone circle with lintels. There are trilithons and photos we’ve seen lead us to suspect that there may be a stretch of three uprights with two lintels shared among them, something we like to see, but we haven’t been able to verify it.
Here’s what we know: Popovaka, along the most beautiful beach on the Crimean peninsula was for years host to a huge and wild electronica festival called KaZantip, or Z-City. It drew the rich and young and fit of Russia and surrounding areas. At first it was held in a partially built nuclear power station, never completed because of Chernobyl. It outgrew that and took over the beaches.
The KaZantip Festival claimed to be a nation of its own with “viZas” and guards around it. Slender young women in scanty bikinis were encouraged to attend. Decorated orange or yellow suitcases had some place in it (?). The yachts of the rich could be seen moored further down the beach. Drugs of various kinds seem to have been involved. (The well-known quotation of former U.S. President Lincoln applies here: “People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.”) The festival has since moved on to other venues. As far as we can ascertain the 2020 festival will be held in Kemer, Turkey. But we digress.
The point of all this is that smaller electronica festivals linger on in Popovka and trippy, trendy things and people still show up there. And as we have learned and as is evidenced by celebrations like Burning Man, wherever the minds of people ignite and burn, Stonehenges arise like mushrooms. You see one result above.
Search стоунхендж (Stonehenge) and Поповка (Popovka) and you may find more photos of this modern monument. It is a massive, impressive structure.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find out any more about it. Who built it and how, why someone decided to build it, and exactly when it was built, all of these are mysteries. The earliest photos we’ve seen of it date to 2017, three years after the big festival left that spot for bigger venues. If I learn more, I will post updates on this page and on the Clonehenge Facebook group.
Until then, take time to relish the wonder of a Stonehenge built on the most beautiful beach in Crimea, playground of the rich and beautiful. We keep finding more of these Stonehenge-ish creations around the world (many more posts yet to come!), and, yes, it makes us laugh, but it has also been making us stop and say, “That’s funny.” It’s become such a pervasive phenomenon that we hardly know what to make of it. For now we’ll just keep finding and reporting them. We still have a little time to accumulate data before the world ends and we have to draw any conclusions!
Find us on the Clonehenge Facebook group: Clonehenge: Stonehenge Replicas Unleashed, on the Clonehenge Facebook page, or on the Clonehenge Twitter account. Generally the Facebook group has the most activity. Find new henges (but be aware: we know just about every one in the wide world), take pictures of the old ones and post them, or make and post your own. We are what you’re looking for to distract you from the impending apocalyptic dystopia! When you need us, we’ll be here.
And until then or until next time, friends, we wish you some very happy henging!
Honestly, we never expected to be part of a Clonehenge event in our own town, but it’s a funny old world! In two weeks, on 21 September*, in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, U. S. of good old A., there will not only be a hayhenge of hay bales, but other Clonehenge-related things and activities for the whole family, except of course your hipster niece and nephew who think they are too cool for it (and they are perhaps the most Clonehenge-ish people of all, but don’t tell them we said so!).
Inspired by Clonehenge, replicas of Stonehenge, Nazareth Hayhenge will be added to the Farmers’ Market on September 21, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the center circle.
There will be Stonehenge themed activities for your whole family to participate in. Foodhenge, a build your own version of Stonehenge made from food from the vendors at the farmers market, is open to people of all ages. There is a $5.00 entry fee with prizes awarded for each category being judged. There will also be a Stonehenge photo op on site, hay bale tic-tac-toe and a children’s play area where they can duplicate Stonehenge by using building blocks.
Here comes the good,—meaning laughable—part:
Famed Clonehenge author, Nancy Wisser, a Nazareth resident, was invited to visit Stonehenge a few years back and decided to write a blog about all the fun happenings around the world duplicating Stonehenge. She never expected her following to grow worldwide and was shocked at the outpouring of support. Nancy will be at Nazareth Hayhenge discussing Stonehenge and all of the replicas around the world, as well as the fall equinox, during this fun event.
If you are interested in getting involved in this event either as a sponsor or vendor, please contact Liz, email@example.com
Have some fun photos of the day? Post them to our facebook event and make sure to tag #NazarethHayhenge
“Famed Clonehenge author.” Yeah, no, not so much with the fame unless you count a few extreme Stonehenge nerds lost in a forsaken corner of the world called Wessex. And it really isn’t really fame on my part, just sort of a loose affiliation in which they and their favorite monument have all the fame but they somehow know my name. Still, we’re intending to enjoy all of this, including being called a famous author. Dream come true!
Aaannyyway, we would love to see you there if you’ll be anywhere nearby on that date. The event will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. There will also be a farmers market, so you will be able to buy veggie-type things, including apples, squashes, and possibly cider, plus baked goods, locally made breads and cheeses, and more. Henges will be made! Selfies will be taken! Costumes are encouraged! And somewhere in there I am to give a presentation about Stonehenge and Clonehenge, but don’t let that scare you off.
On the other hand, if you want to bring your family’s Stonehenge replica and show it to me, I’m fine with that! Or just come over to say hi and shake my hand. (If you’re dressed as a witch or a druid, I will want a selfie with you.) Heck, I’ll sign things if you want. Ask me questions about Stonehenge and watch me look vaguely embarrassed and do a quick search on my phone. If you have a question about a particular stone at Stonehenge, I know just who to refer you to! So there’s that.
We’re looking forward to it. If it’s a success, we may have a bigger one next year. We’ll do a follow-up post here after the fact. Many thanks to Liz Wyant, Austin James, Lori Bernardo, Eric Ferguson, Bryan Youpa, Clear Spring Farms, who are providing the hay, and Baarda Farms, who are providing many of the veggies for the henging!
We are now, in our official capacity as Clonehenge, declaring the 21st of September as International Henging Day! Wherever you are, make a henge out of any material you want. Turn your back on the news for a while, and do something ridiculous. Send us a picture if you want! That’s firstname.lastname@example.org .
So to all of you out there in Internet Land, we wish you some very happy henging, and a great autumn! Despite how everything seems, it’s a great world to be alive in.
*It will be almost equinox, and at equinox in the town of Nazareth, the rising sun shines right down Center Street to the circle where the even will be held, so it’s all perfect! Nazareth-henge!
We are finally posting our interview with historian Brian Edwards, Visiting Research Fellow at University of the West of England, Bristol. Even if he were connected with Clonehenge in no other way, the fabulous Stonehenge replica above would cement his fame on this blog! We have never seen one with this level of detail: the bus, the Visitor Centre, the ice cream truck (!), little replicas of replica round houses (we always love little metas!), Stonehenge landscape mounds, and much more, including the bustard we saw when we were hosted at Stonehenge by Mr. Edwards three years ago, and, underneath, the much-dreaded tunnel! This Stonehenge replica is absolutely brilliant.
But there is more to this gentleman than this unique and wonderful replica. He is a historian whose broad area of interest contains within it the phenomenon of Stonehenge replicas and their history—perhaps the only such historian in the world! His article called ‘Mr Toagis’s Stonehenge: An exploration of an uncelebrated benchmark in replica henge monuments to mark the tenth anniversary of Clonehenge’, published in an academic journal, actually mentions us, and once he mentioned Clonehenge on the radio during an interview. Truly a friend of the blog!
That said, we found it advisable, due to the academic style of writing, to append a [tl;dr] at the end of his answer to the first question, for those who find it a bit intimidating. After that, the academic language eases up a bit and you’re on your own. The answers to questions 2 and 5 are particularly good, but if you are interested in Clonehenge and Stonehenge replicas, do read it all. And at the end we’ve posted a link to that Clonehenge mug you’ve all been meaning to buy. Solstice giving time is approaching!
Clonehenge: What do you do, and how does it tie in with Stonehenge replicas?
I am the author of ‘Mr Toagis’s Stonehenge: An exploration of an uncelebrated benchmark in replica henge monuments to mark the tenth anniversary of Clonehenge’ (The Regional Historian, Annual Journal of the Regional History Centre, New Series No 1, 2018, pp. 26-31). Although not central to what I do, Stonehenge replicas offer entertainingly informative examples that illustrate my focus as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Regional History Centre, at the University of the West of England. My field is public history and historiography in relation to monuments. My research involves highlighting and interpreting contemporary and historical impressions of the past in the public domain, in comparison to what academic and professional historians discuss through learned journals and scholarly tomes. Having in excess of a three hundred year history of expressing consciousness of a prehistoric original, Stonehenge replicas highlight that throughout history monuments have been increasingly adopted, interpreted and reproduced in a variety of forms through layer upon layer of lay public interest irrespective of, and sometimes in contrast to, learned analysis and official sanction. Stonehenge replicas are not just fun, they are an important route through which anyone and everyone can join in. Moreover, as ‘Mr Toagis’ illustrates, replicas and their individual and collective histories offer various routes to studying.
[tl;dr: Part of what he studies is the public’s impressions of historic monuments, including Stonehenge. Also, as we said, he mentioned Clonehenge and it’s 10th anniversary in an article he wrote that was published in an academic journal!]
Clonehenge: What and when was the earliest Stonehenge replica you know of?
It is commonly believed that the earliest known Stonehenge replica was produced in 1714 by the great antiquary William Stukeley (1687- 1765): a model of the stones “as is” that he put on display in London in 1751. Between these times a Stonehenge replica in the form of a stage set appeared in a pantomime, and Stukeley advised on a large scale “as was” replica of Stonehenge that was to be erected in nearby Wilton in Wiltshire. However, the earliest replica is potentially an item of very early eighteenth century jewellery, later recorded as being acquired for a royal collection in Europe. If confirmed, it would predate Stukeley’s model by between seven and twelve years. Even that may not be the earliest example in recorded history, and of course for all that is known a replica may have existed in prehistory.
Clonehenge: When did you first get interested in Stonehenge replicas? When and how did you first learn about Clonehenge?
From memory Clonehenge almost immediately started to feature in conversations, it was topically discussed online by Wiltshire based enthusiasts, so I imagine I was aware through archaeological forum chatter quite early on. My personal introduction probably dates to encounters as a child, but I don’t recall any specific examples before the experience of witnessing the original from the A303. This was a typical stimulating encounter as experienced on journeys to and from the West Country for hundreds of years of course. That first time, in my case as a nine or ten year old, stands out because it fosters interest and makes one alert to other potential opportunities. Around the same time, I inherited an old unused sepia postcard of a Stonehenge model ‘in origin’ (early twentieth century San Bride postcard) that had been used as a bookmark inside a 1950s copy of Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki Expedition. This was among several books passed on by a friend of my mother, whose sons had reached adulthood and flown the nest. From the same family I received an ostrich egg, a boomerang, and a pair of Indian clubs.
Clonehenge: How many Stonehenge replicas or models do you own?
Anything Stonehenge or Avebury related that I acquire, I tend to donate to a Wiltshire archive or museum sooner rather than later. The only example of a replica still in my possession is a large glass topped coffee table housing a model of Avebury henge, destined for Wiltshire Heritage Museum at some point.
Clonehenge: How many Stonehenge replicas have you made? Would you describe one? We understand English Heritage is in possession of one that was of your making. How did that come about?
Earlier this year I built a replica from cheese puffs in order to photograph easy to follow stages for a competition. This was in connection with the Stonehenge Chubb Centenary Day, a village celebration of Cecil and Mary Chubb donating Stonehenge to the nation and us all one hundred years ago. Obliged to build a further replica for the same competition, but determined to be disqualified, I chose to make a model that was in excess of the size limit of 300 mm diameter. Supplemented by glue and paint, the materials were nearly all from what had been set aside for recycling. The basic idea started to expand as more and more of the contemporary dynamics that surround the original Stonehenge got included, and it grew into a three-tier construction.
The stones, visitors and official coaches formed the top layer, which also included some examples of the homes of some of the residents living on Byway 12, sometimes referred to as ‘The Drove’. A Great Bustard also features, in homage to the actual bird witnessed by the founder of Clonehenge when visiting Stonehenge. Complete with Perspex entrance kiosks and some of the replica huts seen at the actual site, the middle layer was a model of the visitor centre made from medicine boxes and water damaged cocktail sticks. The bottom layer included a replica of the Winterbourne Stoke barrow group, the other flanks featured the visitor centre car and coach parks, and on a corner a Speed-watch volunteer stood amidst road signage of the nearby village of Shrewton, the birthplace of Sir Cecil Chubb.
This section also included the proposed introduction of an A303 road tunnel, posed as a mock battle between skeletons and traffic within the World Heritage site. This idea of a tug-o-war between awakening skellies and the tunnel was prompted in particular by local traffic activists summarising contemporary traffic woes as the ‘living versus the dead’: this was the theme of a paper I presented at a post-medieval archaeology conference earlier in the year (“Slogans coined, songs written, rumours circulated,” … the withdrawal of post-medieval Stonehenge?) and is the basis of a forthcoming publication (The Living and the Dead: Public Engagement with Archaeology and the A303 at Stonehenge).
Clonehenge: Are there any particular things you like to see in a Stonehenge replica? Of those made by others, do you have any favourites?
Outside of competitions and such as predetermined school projects I am not keen on fixed rules, lest any sort of regulation would chicane imagination. Whilst broadly following a trend a replica doesn’t have to contain anything specific and doesn’t have to resemble the original, it merely requires thought and where possible an original idea or element. In my opinion it is counterproductive to adopt a stiff view about accuracy: to do so even in passing in connection with a painting or a model of Stonehenge, isn’t in the best interests of encouragement and so is not doing our collective experience, and therefore knowledge and understanding, any favours.
Among those of us tending to appreciate anything built in replication and model form, there is always an added element of admiration for anything created by lay individuals, with domestic, mundane and recycled materials, and of course by children. Of those smaller versions I have seen Doe-henge (created for the Stonehenge Chubb Centenary Day) was particularly inspired, but surely we all love the cakes and relate to the food-henges. As regards a full size Stonehenge, my favourite replica is the original, it is not after all a time-honoured ruin but reconstructed with available parts and propped up with concrete.
Clonehenge: What thoughts do you have about the worldwide phenomenon of Stonehenge replicas and the fact that so many people spontaneously make Stonehenges? What do you think it says about public perceptions of Stonehenge?
The worldwide phenomenon of Stonehenge replicas illustrates the extent to which people are not only fascinated by the mysteries posed by the original, but seek to join in and enjoy developing tactile ways of experimenting. What this says to me about public perceptions of Stonehenge, is that those that care for and manage the original have no chance whatsoever of keeping up with public ideas, trends and demands, so expensively fixing on and committing to any given interpretation or presentation will inevitably find it outmoded and frustrating to elements of the wider public by the time it is enacted.
Clonehenge: Are there any further points you would like to make in connection with Stonehenge or the replicas? Do you expect them to become more popular in the future?
There will be replicas as long as there are schools and museums that recognise that every new generation can benefit from a fun way of engaging with the prehistoric original.
There you have it, friends—Stonehenge replicas, Clonehenges, if you will, will be always with us, so as long as we at Clonehenge live forever—and we have every reason to believe that we will—there will always be a Clonehenge blog here, mostly not being posted to. We certainly have many new henges to post, and more are appearing all the time. We have at least three more Large Permanent Replicas to do posts about, so we hope to post more soon. To see frequent henges in the meantime, follow us on Twitter and the Facebook Group and/or Page to see more that are popping up everywhere all the time!
As promised, here is the link to where you can buy a Clonehenge mug, a unique gift for your megalith-loving friends!
(If anyone in the UK would prefer the silver-tone rimmed enamel mugs below, much like the ones we gave to friends and people we admire in the UK, leave a message in the comments or email us at email@example.com. They are £10.10 per mug, shipping included. Shipping costs make it impractical to sell that model outside Europe.)
And so, until next time, Gentle Readers, we wish you happy Halloween*, joyous Samhain, and of course, happy henging!