Because of Kari Kola’s brilliant Snowhenge we’ve been thinking a lot more about Finland lately. (We can’t really say this is Finland’s day in the sun. We believe that day is in June. Haha. Sorry.) Sadly the wonderful Snowhenge can’t be added to our List of Large Permanent Replicas since before long it will melt, but that doesn’t mean Finland doesn’t make our list at all! Near the border between Finland and Sweden on the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia in a park in the city of Kemi stands a granite sculpture modeled after Stonehenge, entitled Stone Age. It was designed by artist and poet Keijo Nevaranta and donated to the city in 1998.
Built roughly on a 1/2 scale of Stonehenge itself, it is oriented to the same directions as the original so that it marks “the sunrise of the summer solstice, the sunrise of the winter solstice, [and] the northernmost and southernmost of the moon” according to Mr. Nevaranta’s blog. He states, “Like Stonehenge, the original idea of ”Stone Age” has been to move something from the spiritual tradition of mankind over time to the end of the second millennium and the following centuries, from the dawn of mankind to perhaps the twilight of mankind.” (A bit ominous but, it must be said, not inappropriate.)
We were curious about how firmly the stones are set into the ground, and we find the artist says, “When I designed the work and applied for a building permit from the City of Kemi, the city representatives were promised a 2,000-year warranty on the work. Yes, it will remain upright in this place for at least as long as Stonehenge, which is at the base of nature. This is better established.” Turns out it has concrete bases for the stones.
From what we have read, the artist devoted 18 months to the design and creation of the work. It was paid for by Ahti Mäntylä, owner of a granite mine who wanted a monument to the Finnish mining industry and to the Elijärvi mine, Finland’s largest mine, not far north of Kemi.
Stone Age stands in a park in Kemi. At one time the park, Ruutinpuisto, was threatened by development, but that threat seems to have passed for now, as some photos of the sculpture are pretty recent.
As for the monument from our point of view, it looks good but a bit in the mode of the Rolla, Missouri Stonehenge, small, without bluestones, and with very straight and even shapes for the stones. The artist says the reason for the straight lines is to create a visual conversation with the city buildings nearby. The inner trilithon horseshoe does face the three-lintel stretch, always a sign that someone’s paying attention. We’re convinced Mr. Nevaranta was paying close attention to Stonehenge as he conceived and created the work.
We were delighted to find this Stonehenge replica in far away Lapland! We first saw it on Twitter in June, in a video posted by @kaukamieli which can be seen here. The caption says, “”Mooooommmm! Let’s go see Stonehenge!” “We have Stonehenge at home.” Stonehenge at home:” He is obviously unimpressed. 😂
We will add Mr. Nevaranta’s excellent sculpture to our list of large permanent replicas and hope that no one talks the city council into letting them develop the park and destroy it. We would love to find our way to Finland one day and see it in person! There is one more Stonehenge-ish structure in Finland beside this and the ephemeral Snowhenge. We’ll have to tell you about that one some time!
Have a great weekend, friends, and until next time, happy henging!