Jörg Sorge’s Concrete Stonehenge in Magdeburg: “Inside I Am a Celt”!

Photo copyright Dennis Kotzian, used with permission


A translation from German of the original caption of this photo reads:

Stonehenge in Magdeburg

During a walk around the Salbker Lake, you can see a replica of Stonehenge, which is the stone circle cult site of the Celts in southern England.

Stone mason Jörg Sorge from Magdeburg has built this on his property.”

There is so much to unpack here.

For one thing, a little research makes it clear that although he is a stone mason, Sorge has fashioned these ‘stones’ out of concrete, texturing and painting them to resemble stone. A lot of time and creativity, and so presumably love and enthusiasm, has gone into this.

And then of course there is the whole Celtic thing, which we learn more about in another article, where Sorge, who plays the bagpipe and sometimes wears a kilt, asserts that “inside i am a Celt”. In one article, featuring a picture of him in said kilt, standing in his Stonehenge, we read:

The culture of the rugged Scottish highlands has fascinated Jörg Sorge for years. He has long felt like a Celt, last summer he also fulfilled the dream of Stonehenge. Now the replica of the Bronze Age stone circle stands in his garden and serves as a backdrop to the Celtic Fire Festival.

Copyright Dennis Kotzian, used with permission

Well, we’ll allow them the Bronze Age bit. Stonehenge was started and much work was done long before that, but the stone circle the replica depicts does seem to have been completed in the Bronze Age. Certainly the dagger art on the stones dates to that time.

But by all accounts, whether ‘Celtic’ culture (no, we’re not going to enter the discussion of whether the term Celtic itself is so broad as to be almost meaningless, an attempt to lump together too many diverse smaller groupings–such discussions are for serious people and we just ain’t one of them, thank whatever gods there be!) washed in like a tide over peoples already in Britain or if it arrived along with new groups of people landing on the island from the continent, it had not yet arrived when Stonehenge was completed. Of that we can be sure. There is certainly no evidence of kilts and bagpipes in any burial in the area of Stonehenge, then or since!

But luckily, Stonehenge replicas are just for fun, and far be it from us to discourage people from championing their inner Celt, whatever they fancy that means, or their inner Viking, or their inner Elf or Ent for that matter. It is useful to explore what has meaning for you, however outlandish it might seem to others. We may find real hidden parts of ourselves by starting with fanciful things we’re drawn to. We at Clonehenge have seen it happen.

This replica that Sorge has built from his inner inspiration and by the work of his own hands has already brought delight to other people, like those who attended the Celtic Fire Festival, and it is certainly worthy of inclusion on our list of large permanent replicas. Well done,sir, say we!

Let this be a lesson to us all, Gentle Readers, and let us not fear to pursue or more whimsical inclinations, regardless of what others think of them. They may turn out to be a way to enhance not only our lives but the lives of others, and encourage them to be more free as well.

So until next time (which may well be after the official Clonehenge trip to Stonehenge and environs!*), dear friends, happy henging!

*if you are at Stonehenge equinox access on the morning of the 23rd, we may see you there!

German Stonehenge on Beacon Hill, Ermingen

photo by Philipp Thom, with permission

For our 57th large permanent replica, we go back to Germany, southern Germany in the state of Baden-Württemberg, near the city of Ulm, to the town of Ermingen, where there is a longstanding, possibly ancient tradition of beacon burning on the first Sunday of Lent. Since this site, on a prominence with a clear view in all directions, needs to be kept clear for the beacon, someone came up with the idea of placing stones to track the movement of the sun.

And once you bring up the concept of tracking the sun with stones set in the ground, it’s never long before someone mentions Stonehenge. Hence this rather nice if odd trilithon. That lintel looks like a little cap, doesn’t it?

We don’t know much about this one–who did the planning and building, what kind of stone was used, how it was assembled. Did they use mortice-and-tenon construction as at Stonehenge? All we know is what we found at this link from Stadt Ulm Online’s Ermingen page (a couple of good pictures there, too). [Note: the term translated there as radio beacon would be better translated as relay or broadcast beacon. Funken doesn’t mean radio on this context.]

Herr Thom has posted a nice video of the stone circle and a walk through the trilithon. Click here to see it. Nicely done! Translation of the caption there includes this: “On the days of the summer solstice and the winter sun turn within the stone circle determined points are illuminated by the stone gate through of the sun.” At certain times of the year the sun shines through the trilithon onto special points within the circle.

Ermingen, by the way, is known among fossil buffs as the site of the Turritellenplatte, a unique outcropping of rock rich with fossils of Turritella, a kind of mollusk shell. We don’t know whether any of that rock was used for this structure, but if it was, we would approve. That fossil/megalith connection is in need of strengthening.

Ermingen is also surrounded by many ancient sites, including a cave, Hohle Fels, that is thought to have been inhabited as early as 30,000 years ago. Found there so far were a Venus figurine and bone and ivory flutes, the earliest musical instruments ever found. Brilliant stuff! Let’s go visit!

Score: 6 druids. We like the site, we like the beacon, a very old way of communicating, and we like the fact that there’s a circle rather than just a trilithon. Now we wonder what new large permanent replica will pop up next!

Deutsches Museum, Stonehenge Model

german-museumphoto from the Deutsches Museum website

Not much info on this one. Like many or most astronomical museums, planetaria and observatories, the astronomical section of the Deutsches Museum in Munich includes a Stonehenge model. It appears to include at least some of the sarsens with lintels in the circle, the horseshoe of trilithons, and bluestones, plus a rather nice lighting effect simulating a sunrise or sunset.

Unfortunately we know little else about it–materials, who built it or even its size. When you’re in Munich in September or early Oktober, how about stumbling in there before you get completely blind and getting us some information? We’d appreciate it and you might take home memories of something other than bier. Naah, who are we kidding? You won’t remember it. So email with the info while you’re there, please!

Score: 7 druids. Nicely done from what we can see.  We’re still looking for a photo of the replica at the Granada Science Park in Andalucia. If you know anyone near there or going there, bribe them for us, please! We’re still looking for our first Spanish-speaking Stonehenge.