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!

Why All the Stonehenges, South Korea?

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miniature Stonehenge at Aiins World in South Korea, posted with permission from Saranghae Korea

Thought we might put up a quick post for old times’ sake. We passed our seventh anniversary earlier this month, and in those seven years the world has become ever more filled with Stonehenge replicas, some might say to an alarming degree. Here on the official blog we have not kept up, but posts continue on the Clonehenge group and a related group for and by hengers themselves called the Will It Henge group on Facebook. We hope to feature an interview with a crazed dedicated henger from that group in the near future!

Today, however, we feature a new permanent henge, large enough, we think, to make our large permanent replica list, in South Korea. It is part of the Aiins World miniature park, another of those parks that feature miniature models of famous landmarks from around the world. We can’t tell from this picture just how miniature this is, but it appears to be a few feet high, and that’s good enough for us. We hereby declare it large and permanent! Our thanks to Saranghae Korea for permission to post the photo.

But now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about South Korea for a moment. We posted the Paju City Stonehenge at a pretend English town in South Korea on this blog years ago. We have heard rumours of a Stonehenge in the centre of the hotel complex at Del Pino Golf and Resort in Goseong-gun. That one looks very nice, but no explanation has been forthcoming.

And there is another, well, actually just a trilithon, but Stonehenge-like enough to satisfy us, in Gang-hwa goindolgun (photo at link). Gang-hwa goindolgun has other megalithic replicas, including an alignment like Carnac. We would definitely visit this place! This makes four Stonehenges in South Korea, that we know of! Is there something going on over there that we should know about??? Why all the Stonehenges, South Korea? This makes it the Stonehenge capital of Asia, much as Germany is for Europe. Well done, we must say!

We’re sure there are Stonehenge replicas and models we have yet to learn about. Not everyone in the world has been alerted to the importance and supremacy of the Clonehenge blog when it comes to reporting Stonehenge sightings. Please help us out by telling people to submit their information and pictures to us on the Clonehenge Twitter and/or the Clonehenge Facebook Group! We can’t emphasise to you enough just how important this is!*

Meanwhile, South Korea has quietly been doing its part. Let yourself be inspired to take up the banner. What could there be but peace and respect in a world full of Stonehenge replicas?

*because, to be honest, it is actually not all that important.

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!

Wiltshire Museum Models: Replicas for Learning (and for Tourists!)

Stonehenge model, photo by Pete Glastonbury, used with permission

Stonehenge model, photo by Pete Glastonbury, used with permission

One of the things that have become apparent in the last ALMOST FIVE YEARS that we have been posting on the Clonehenge blog is that there are many different categories of Stonehenge replicas—many reasons for making them, many sizes, many materials, many styles, many places where they are made and where they end up. Generally, each replica falls into several categories, for example: small, carrot, before-it-was-ruined, just-for-fun; large, metal, partial, sculpture/art, or full-sized, edible, citrus, trilithon, parade float (with druid).

There are several kinds of museums that may have Stonehenge replicas (large or small), as we have shown in posts over the years. A clock museum may depict Stonehenge as an early time piece. Astronomical museums often have replicas as examples of how even our distant ancestors were fascinated by the movement of the sun, stars. and planets. Archaeological and historical museums, of course, depict and talk about Stonehenge and the light it sheds on the lives and thoughts of early civilisations.

The Wiltshire Museum, in Devizes, Wiltshire, UK (formerly known as the Wiltshire Heritage Museum), falls more or less into the last category. We’ve shown you some of their Stonehenge and Avebury (and West Kennet Long Barrow and Marden Henge) models before, as well as their stunning and unique “Celtic” Cabinet, all courtesy of friend of the blog and fine photographer of ancient sites, Pete Glastonbury.

Avebury model, photo by Pete Glastonbury, used with permission

Avebury model, photo by Pete Glastonbury, used with permission

Well, HERE ARE MORE! More model, more label, more learning, more fun! The photo at the top is a labeled model of Stonehenge as it may have looked at its height, including station stones, the slaughter stone, and the ditch and bank that (almost) make Stonehenge officially a henge. (Technically it isn’t, quite, but you can look that up yourself.) We don’t know what the model is made of or who made it, but as you can see, this is a very good model.

The lower photo is of Avebury as it may have been at its height in the Bronze Age, with the South and North Circles, including the Cove, and beginnings of the avenues that lead to the Longstones at Beckhampton, and to West Kennet Long Barrow. Nice!

While things like the shapes of individual stones seem not to be addressed (do we even know what shapes the stones were thousands of years ago?), these are about as close as we get to definitive models. The anonymous model makers would probably be offended by our units of reward, but we nevertheless give these models a 7 druids score! Very good score, considering their size.

Models like this aren’t as whimsical or exciting as many of the others we’ve posted, but they are still Stonehenge replicas and our blog would be incomplete without them, and that, friends, cannot be allowed.

Our deep gratitude once again to Mr. Pete Glastonbury! Remember, as Christmas approaches and you need something unusual for your discerning family members and friends, Pete’s unique photographs of Stonehenge, Avebury, and Silbury Hill make great gifts! And if you’re truly interested in knowing more about Stonehenge and the surrounding ancient landscape, AND you have iBooks, you’ll enjoy the unusually broad spectrum of knowledge in his Stonehenge Guide. [Spoiler: he actually admits he knows us!]

We don’t make any money from those promotions, but when you buy something because we said so, it gives us a false feeling of power and importance. We need that gratification, people!

Thank you for reading, and until next time (when we have a new large permanent replica to share), happy henging!

A Gerald Hawkins Model, Long Before Spinal Tap!

Model built for Gerald Hawkins at Boston University

Model built for Gerald Hawkins at Boston University

First off, let us say:

If, before reading this, you already had an opinion about Stone Number 11 at Stonehenge, or even if you have just thought of arguments against someone else’s opinion on the subject, then even if we never get to meet you, you are one of our favourite people in the world! Clonehenge loves you and henceforth wants to make itself a better blog for you.

As part of that effort, today we offer you some Stonehenge model history.  For those who are not familiar with his name, Gerald Stanley Hawkins was a British archaeoastronomer best known for his 1963 (1965? sources differ) book, Stonehenge Decoded, in which he advanced the now well-known ideas about Stonehenge being a precise astronomical observatory. We won’t go on more about that, but if you’re curious, Google or Bing or DuckDuckGo can help you out!

Shot of the model showing stone shapes

Shot of the model showing stone shapes

Dr. Hawkins was chairman of the Department of Astronomy at Boston University in the States from 1957 to 1969, and during that time he had the above model built for him to use in teaching undergraduate university students and for use in documentary films and television shows. The model is now at Boston University and we show it here by the kind permission of Quinn Sykes, the very generous help of Vance Tiede, and of course, the inspiration and tireless work of Hengefinder General Extraordinaire Mr. Pete Glastonbury (Is that the brilliant Wiltshire photographer and author of the must-have Stonehenge Guide ebook, you ask? Yes, friend, none other than!) . Clonehenge thanks you, dear sirs!

It is clear that this is a brilliant model of a sort very rarely built any more. These days archaeoastronomers prefer computer models for their demonstrations of how light would shine on ancient sites and what stars were visible where at various times of year. But back then, something like this was the only option. The description, by Mr. Vance Tiede, is as follows:

The model appears made of plaster and each quadrant measures roughly a 24″ on a side or 16 feet square in total area. The detail is very good, even with individual post holes to the NW of the Heelstone. Stone 57* is missing, as the model was made before the hole for a Stone 57 was discovered. Stone 11 is two times too big and the lintels should be removed.

And there it is:  Stone 11. Stop everything! What is he talking about?

Well, Gentle Reader, we thought you would never ask! It turns out that there is a controversy about Stone 11. Mr. Tiede, when we asked him about it, answered:

“…the two lintels shown above Stone 11 should be removed, as Atkinson pointed out, Stone 11 is one-half the width and height of the other 29 uprights of the Sarsen Circle. The is a highly significant astro-architectural detail as the total number of uprights is literally 29.5 stones, i.e., one stone for every day of the Moon’s Synodic Period of 29.53 days. Similarly, Stonehenge’s 30 Y-Holes and 29 Z-Holes together represent the Double Month (later used in Athens, ca. 500 BC) of alternating 30 and 29 Days (and still used in the Jewish Liturgical Calendar) also producing an average of 29.5 days.

So there is a short stone in the outer circle, Stone Number Eleven, and Mr. Tiede thinks it never had lintels. Another opinion we have run across is that Stone 11 was short on purpose, as Mr. Tiede says, but that it still had lintels, and may even show the marks where they would have fit. Meanwhile, Sue Greaney, Senior Properties Historian with English Heritage, says that recent laser survey analysis suggests the stone is short because it is broken, and therefore may have been just as large as the others at the start.

Who’s to say? But it’s something to keep in mind when you make a replica. Find a chart showing where each numbered stone is at Stonehenge and make number 11 short if you want.

Before ending the post we should add  that there is reason to suspect that this model had another part. Another model we have seen Gerald Hawkins use on a television show had an alternate center circle in which the stones stood pretty much as they stand today, a ruined Stonehenge that could be switched in and back out again to show differences between how it looks now and how it may have looked in its heyday. This may have included something similar.

Score? Because of its historic association with Dr. Hawkins, and the detail such as good stone shapes, the Aubrey holes and outlier stones being included, we award this miniature Stonehenge 8 druids! Well done, indeed!

One more thing to consider. Someone recently told us that the outer sarsens were once uniform in size and shape, and only the wear of thousands of years has given each its idiosyncratic shape. To us it is hard to believe that the beautiful oddities of Stonehenge were not a part of it in its youth, but who knows? Many little mysteries: Stonehenge continues to guard its secrets.

And there is your Stonehenge history lesson for the day! There is a lot to learn about this little pile of stones. Until next time, friends, Happy Henging!!

*As to the comment about Stone 57, see the correction in the comment below, by Mr. Simon Banton, who knows Stonehenge well.

Brazilian White Quartzite Stonehenge on Live Moss, from Brazil: Small but Fine!

Sergio Greif, henge, and curious dogs

Sergio Greif, henge, and curious dogs

Olá! We greet you from Brasil, como Brasileiros! Yes, it is literally true that we are in Brazil, given the modern usage of the word literally! Poor word, it has a bad case of inflation. But—back to the henge! (Great titles for a book, there: Back to the Henge. You’re welcome.) The miniature Stonehenge in the picture above was sent to us by charming reader Sergio Greif of somewhere in Brazil. We have been meaning to post it since February, but, well, we didn’t, so now we are. (Is it just us, or do those dogs look like they are eager to celebrate the solstice?)

This is not our first henge from Brazil, not even our second. Very early on, we posted the beautiful mosaic fruit jelly henge:

fruit jelly stonehenge

And about a year and a half ago we posted our first South American permanent replica in São Paulo, Brazil at the Center for the Study of the Universe (!!). So Brazil appears to be a pretty happening place, hengewise.

Quartzite henge on moss

Quartzite henge on moss, another view, with fewer distractions😉

As some of you may know, we had two email apocalypses, and unfortunately the original email from Mr. Greif has been lost, but part of it was preserved on the Clonehenge Facebook group and read as follows:

Here is a Brazilian Stonehenge, made in white quartzite and natural live moss specifically at December 23, 2012. Hope you like it.

 all the best, Sergio Greif

As you can see, we don’t actually know much about this henge, the why of it, especially, but it is lovely, and we’re curious about the source of the quartzite. Did Mr. Greif somehow cut those pieces to size? Were they left over from some other project? The live moss is certainly a nice touch, bringing it close to falling into the miniature garden category that has become so popular.

Score? We give it 6 druids! That might seem a little high to some, but this thing has a charm about it, and we like the presentation, with the flower petals in one picture and such cuteness in the other (referring to the dogs, of course. Well, mostly… ) Thank you, sir. Some very nice henging going on in your country!

While we’re on the topic of smaller Stonehenge replicas, the Henge Collective is still hard at work, and posted a set of pictures depicting Fimohenge, a small henge of a kind of modeling clay. Eventually, we are told, this model will be the basis of an animated Henge Collective movie! The planet holds its breath in anticipation. In the future, all art will be henge art.

That is literally true!

Keep sending in your pictures, or posting them on the Clonehenge group or page on Facebook. You can even find us at @Clonehenge on Twitter. We haven’t made the move to App.net, but we will if people start switching over! We go where you go, to bring you the henges you need, when you need them!

Until next time, friends, happy henging!

Stonehenge Replica on Mars!!! (not really, but who could resist that title?)

#PewPew!

That is how the fateful tweet from @MarsCuriosity started. It continued:  See the tiny cluster of rocks, aka “Stonehenge,” I’ve been investigating with my laser.

And here at Clonehenge headquarters, the whole office said in chorus, “Say what?!” Everyone went for the View Media button at once to see the video (above), and watched fascinated as the brilliant and lovely Nina Lanza gave her talk (transcribed here). We saw the tiny stone and the weathering under it that made it look as if it were set on little uprights, like a tiny row of sarsens topped with lintels, ON MARS!!!* And we heard how the Curiosity Rover zapped it with its lasers nine times.

We were laughing and exchanging looks of bemused joy when, well, as they say, s#!* got real. Miss Lanza went on to say, In addition to composition, we’ve also been able to make a three-dimensional model of the surface of this target using images from the Remote Micro-Imager part of ChemCam. (see model below)

Yes, we know this is just a computer model. As far as we know, they didn’t do a three dimensional print of it. Yet… As far as we know…

Mars Stonehenge–one inch long

So, I guess we all know what this means. No? Not All? What about Giorgio Tsoukalos? We think he’d know what to say. Yes, that’s right, gentle readers, apparently Mars people must be very very small! And we just zapped their pagan ritual site! We believe they are planning their revenge.

But here at Clonehenge, we say, “What? Us worry?” We’re too thrilled to see Stonehenge, however dubious the connection, and a model of it, mentioned in connection with space! We still hope someday to learn of a Stonehenge replica being made on the International Space Station, but until then, this is making us pretty darned happy! Thank you, Curiosity Rover! Thank you, Nina Lanza! Thank you, other NASA dudes and dudettes!

And until next time, we wish all of you, including the NASA computers, happy henging!!

*Try adding that to every fortune cookie you open!