Happy Solstice! A Long Post for the Longest Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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in the drawer, a Henry Browne model

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

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

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resin model by Michael Postins, here held by Director Dawson

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

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

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

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

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Henge Man, by Matt Rich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matt: My first real henge was Cheesehenge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH: Anything else?

Matt: I need to tell the henge story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stonehenge—Warning: NOT A REPLICA!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stonehenge of chocolate trilithons by @SchPrehistory on Twitter

Stonehenge of chocolate trilithons by @SchPrehistory on Twitter

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

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

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

Until next time, gentle readers, happy henging!

Happy Solstice, Welcome Yule, and All That!

photo from this post of 4 years ago

photo by Jill Warvel from this post of 4 years ago

Just a quick post to thank all of our readers and to wish you the very best in the year to come! May the winter solstice and all of the holiday season bring you many delights and few aggravations, and may the year to come bring you many many henges!

And of course, much happy henging. Now party on, and you know what to do with the extra cheese!

The Fabulous Stonehenge Marbles: Perfect Gift for that Friend Who Blogs about Stonehenge Replicas!

Stonehenge marbles by Chris Inchaos Schiano

Stonehenge marbles by Chris Inchaos Schiano

We’ve all heard of the remarkable, historic, and controversial Elgin marbles, and lately they’ve been back in the news. But here on the Clonehenge blog we have something far more desirable to show you: the fabulous Stonehenge marbles by Chris Inchaos Schiano! Here is the Stonehenge marbles website. Basically we are going to spam you with photos, quote the artist, and end with a suggestion. Mr. Schiano says of his work:

“Stonehenge Marbles are unique pieces of contemporary art. I hand draw each stone out of glass and encase them to create a permanent miniature replica of the sacred sites. Each marble is a labor of love, which I harness to capture the spirit of the megaliths and the people who envisioned them thousands of years ago.”

A Stonehenge marble, yes, at Stonehenge!

A Stonehenge marble, yes, at Stonehenge!

Every day I learn something new about the stone circle that I try to relay into the glass.

more marbles

more marbles

And although these beautiful creations are more than enough, he doesn’t stop at Stonehenge.

Stonehenge and more, trapped in marbles

Stonehenge and more, trapped in marbles

Above we see: “Stonehenge Past and Present, Avebury, Stones of Stenness, Carnac, The Great Wall of China, Egyptian and Aztec Pyramids, the Parthenon, and [not sure whether to say “sadly” or “of course”!—CH] a Moai.” He has even done a Stonehenge marble with an Easter Island moai hidden in the glass at the bottom, in a fine (?) tradition long established among Stonehenge replica creators! Stonehenge marbles may show the monument either as it currently exists or as it is thought to have been originally.

Stonehenge marble with sunset

Stonehenge marble with sunset

Be sure to have a look at this video of a marble that was auctioned off just recently!

*wipes drool from corners of mouth* Heh. Excuse us. That video, tho. There seriously are not enough druids in the world to award for these things.

In closing, we hardly need point out that winter solstice and the Christmas holiday are almost upon us, and we know you’re all wondering what to buy for that hard-to-please but much adored Stonehenge replica blogger on your holiday gift lists. Let us make it easy. Why not order a custom Stonehenge marble (no moai necessary!)? We guarantee it’s bound to please, and think of the satisfaction you will gain from supporting an original artist instead of spending the hundreds you were planning to spend on bric-a-brac.😉 Everyone wins!

We heartily wish a very happy solstice to all of our readers, and a happy holiday season to everyone. Until the next time, very close and very generous friends, happy henging!

Chip Henges: They’re the Latest Thing!

Stonehenge with chips and mushy peas, by Prudence Stait

Stonehenge with chips and mushy peas, by Prudence Staite

This won’t be a long post. We just want to keep you informed, Gentle Readers!Lately friends have drawn our attention to a couple of chip henges, or as the crasser parts of the globe might say, French fry henges. And we want to share them with you here, to enjoy with a fine ale and perhaps some fried fish (or, if you must, a burger).

The one pictured above was created by artist Prudence Staite, not to be confused with Firefly‘s wonderful Jewel Staite. Ms. Staite also created a cheesehenge a couple of years ago. Perhaps we should interview her on the blog! To quote the article that featured the photo, “Ms Staite’s edible art was commissioned to celebrate Chip Week 2014, which is organised by the Potato Council.” It reached our attention via Visit Wiltshire and the revered friend of the blog Rian Edwards, and very nearly by author Mike Williams as well. Thank you to them all!

Perhaps Chip Week was equally the inspiration for the other henge we’re featuring in this post:

Chip henge from the BBC's Room 101

Chip henge from the BBC’s Room 101

Not having seen the piece from which this chip henge was extracted, we don’t have any context for it. But it was sent to us by alert friend of the blog Ms. Emma Evans. Thank you, Emma!

They are similar and of similar quality, but we would be amiss not to draw your attention to the lemon sunrise in the photo at the top. A definitive touch! The mushy peas are, of course, definitively British as well.

We will keep you no longer. You are dismissed to go on to more weighty matters, like trying out the Megabits beta, or, well, eating chips and drinking heavily. Chip henges are not worth spending too much time on. They just show how Stonehenge replicas are an integral part of the Zeitgeist. As Clonehenge should be!

Don’t be afraid to make a chip henge or French fry henge part of your Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Not that Stonehenge has ANYTHING to do with Ireland or Celtic people, but chips are very good when you’re drinking too much. So, whether in your cups or suffering with hangovers, dear friends, happy henging!

Happy Winter Solstice to All!

a bronze display model of Stonehenge in the new Visitor Centre

a bronze display model of Stonehenge in the new Visitor Centre

There is much to celebrate for Stonehenge lovers this week! Winter solstice is upon us, arguably the date for which Stonehenge was built, and the date of its great early festivals, AND this week marked the opening, at long last, of the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre. No more parking in the car park near Stonehenge and going through a dodgy underpass. Now you pay lots of money , er, we mean, get to go into a world class visitor centre and…

Visitors will be collected by Land Rovers drawing surprisingly elegant little carriages—English Heritage staff have been using them as quiet, comfortable meeting rooms to escape the building site—and taken to the stones.

The nice bit is:

The shuttles will stop halfway at a little wood – one of the myriad abandoned alternative sites for the centre – offering visitors the option of walking across fields to the monument, or continuing on to be dropped a short stroll from the stones. Although English Heritage cares for the monument, thousands of surrounding acres belong to the National Trust, and new signboards are being installed in the fields explaining the barrows, avenues and mounds which speckle the landscape.

a panorama at the Centre permits the experience of solstice sunrise all year long

a panorama at the Centre permits the experience of solstice sunrise all year long

But the Visitor Centre itself is packed with goodies, and an esteemed Friend of the Blog who went in and did reconnaissance for us, says that there are numerous Stonehenge models to be seen there (like the bronze one at the top of this post, with the solstice line marked on it plainly), as well as the panorama/virtual Stonehenge experience, seen above, that allows it to be solstice sunrise all day every day!

The gift shop offers Stonehenge models of various sizes: infant, toddler, child, and teen, from what we can see—the seeds of Stonehenge to be carried far and wide, where people will see them and—voilà!—want to make more Stonehenges! The contagion spreads, while also becoming more concentrated, ever more Stonehenges in the world What is the Stonehenge saturation point? Only time will tell.

And time is what the solstice is all about (see how we crudely and artlessly brought this post back to its subject? Oh, yes we did, uhuh, uhuh!). May your solstice (and whatever other holidays may be scattered in its general vicinity) be lovely and happy and fun and wonderful! Enjoy life while you can still walk around without stepping on Stonehenges. Mark our words: if things continue as they’ve been going, that may not last much longer!

And until next time, Gentle Friends, we wish you and yours happy henging!