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.

Bananahenge: Foodhenge Done Right!

bananahenge by petrija dos santos

bananahenge by petrija dos santos

Greetings! Long time no post. The Clonehenge staff have returned from our journey to the wilds of Salisbury Plain, among other similarly exotic spots, and have pictures and thoughts to share. In the meantime, however, we received this remarkable foodhenge photo from the artist, Toronto food photographer, Petrija Dos Santos, and decided you need to see it.

What a work! Let us tell you some of the ways in which this was done right. For this we need to post an aerial view of the Real Thing, which you can see below. Looking at it, we think it’s possible the artist herself may have gone by this picture when setting up the bananas.

Note how the inner trilithon horseshoe faces the longest lintelled stretch of the outer circle. Note how even fallen stones are, for the most part, represented. Note the care in stone/banana placement. Note how the sunset light is mimicked so as to create relatively accurate shadows of the banana stones! The henge and photograph were created by someone who was Paying Attention. Well done. (And of course the most important course of action this henger took was to SEND THE PHOTO TO THE CLONEHENGE BLOG!!! No henge is complete without this final step. You can find us on Twitter and Facebook.) The absolute ridiculousness of making a Stonehenge from cut bananas is cancelled out by the seriousness with which the project has been approached.

Well, almost.

At any rate, we give this henge 7 druids out of ten! Dos Santos has set the bar for those who would build the foodhenges of the future!!

We have pictures of a number of Stonehenge replicas of various sizes in store for you, mostly from the Stonehenge gift shop, so new posts may actually happen in the next month, well, next few months. Okay, maybe by winter solstice. But for now we thank you for reading, and wish all of you some very happy henging! And be sure to send us pictures!!

aerial view of Stonehenge

aerial view of Stonehenge

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!

Equinox Henge Sampler or, Good News—People are Still Strange!

knitted Stonehenge by Toogood Knits

knitted Stonehenge by Toogood Knits

Hello, friends! Yes, it’s vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere already and we haven’t posted on this blog since New Year’s. Go ahead, tell us how YOU’VE done everything YOU should have done since then. What’s that? We’re listening, but we can’t hear you? Okay, then.

At any rate, our absence here does not mean that nothing has been happening in the glamourous world of Stonehenge replicas. Au contraire! (See? Glamourous!) On Twitter and Facebook, many Stonehenge replicas, new and old, have been posted and admired. We thought we would post a few recent favourites here for those who still actually read blogs. Nostalgic for when people used to read, are you? The Clonehenge staff admires your old-school dedication!*

So behold: a wooden henge in a Liverpool park, made by John Merrill and John Ayling.

wooden henge in Liverpool's Princes Park

wooden henge in Liverpool’s Princes Park

A food-safe Stonehenge mold on Etsy, for fondant, chocolate, or candy henges, made by Michele B. Brosseau!

Stonehenge food-safe silicone mold

Stonehenge food-safe silicone mold from Etsy

An icehenge, built on a frozen lake in the northern U.S. by Drew McHenry, Kevin Lehner, Quinn Williams, Alec Niedringhaus and Patrick Shields.

Rock Lake Icehenge, in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, USA

Rock Lake Icehenge, in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, USA, photo by Eli Wedel

And then, of course, there are the many foodhenges, of which this melon henge is but an example. We’ve seen cakehenges, a beefhenge, and others including that old favourite, the sconehenge.

melonhenge from the blog Keep It Up, David

melonhenge from the blog Keep It Up, David

So, although our blog posts are sporadic, the world’s bizarre obsession with making Stonehenge replicas has not abated, and reports of them are still pouring in! If you can’t be at Stonehenge itself for the equinox/eclipse celebration this year, we suggest making your own Stonehenge and celebrating with friends. It’s the same earth, the same sun as they’ll have at Stonehenge, with less crowding, less noise, and less trash. And you know where to send the pictures!

Our thanks to all who have posted Stonehenge replicas where we could see them or who sent us emails or messages alerting us to them. A very happy equinox to all and until next time (and the Stones only know when that will be) we wish everyone out there some very happy henging!

*(We realise that you’ve given up reading and gone on to another blog by now, but it’s the thought that counts!)

Big News: BBC Replica Trilithon Rediscovered—Just in Time for Clonehenge’s Sixth Birthday!

1996 concrete trilithon replica

1996 concrete trilithon replica

We are [please choose one: surprised/confused/incredulous/amused/shocked/spannered] to announce that today is the sixth anniversary of the founding of the Clonehenge blog!

Timothy Daw, BBC Wiltshire's Karen Gardner, and Julian Richards with the concrete uprights

Timothy Daw, BBC Wiltshire’s Karen Gardner, and Julian Richards with the concrete uprights

And to celebrate it, recently renowned Wiltshire farmer and long barrow builder Mr. Timothy Daw, along with well known television presenter and Stonehenge scholar, Mr. Julian Richards, have inaugurated a new and historic project: the resurrection of a 1990s BBC concrete replica Stonehenge trilithon! You can see the original completed concrete trilithon in the photo above.

Truth time: something in the above paragraph is not strictly true. Can you guess?  Okay, yes, it is the assertion that the project had anything at all to do with Clonehenge’s anniversary. It did not. However, it is such a lovely fantasy that we wanted to see it in print. [insert unicorn emoji]

But back to the truth. In the words of the increasingly famous Stonehenge caretaker Tim Daw,

“Twenty years ago Julian Richards led a programme where they dragged and erect a full size replica of the Great Trilithon of Stonehenge. The concrete stones were recently discovered to be in danger of being destroyed and so we have saved them and they are now at All Cannings Cross near the Long Barrow. Next year we hope to remake the programme using neolithic methods to raise it again, and leave it standing.”

The finding and transporting of the pieces of this trilithon has been such an event that BBC Wiltshire actually posted a set of pictures called Replica Stonehenge (!!!) showing the concrete “stones” being moved and transported with crane and lorries. The text reads:

the trilithon pieces at Cannings Cross Farm

the trilithon pieces at Cannings Cross Farm, photo by Andy Burns

A replica Stonehenge has been moved across Wiltshire. The giant concrete stones have been transported to Canning Cross Farm near Devizes. Farmer Tim Daw will use them to test the different theories on how the Neolithic monument was put together 4,000 years ago.

Only a few times in the six years of its existence has the Clonehenge blog covered actual Stonehenge replica news. There was the story of the pink Granite Stonehenge in West Australia, its stones being left at the quarry when the man who commissioned it ran out of money, and its subsequent acquisition by the Beales and installation on their cattle farm; and then of course there was, and remarkably still is, the only full-sized illegal guerilla henge, Achill Henge on Achill Island in County Mayo, Ireland. That one was supposed to be taken down immediately, but three years later is still standing!

And now we have this romantic story of the concrete trilithon lying in pieces in a car park since the 1990s, only to be discovered, claimed, and transported, with plans for its resurrection—on the Wiltshire farm of the discoverer of the missing Stonehenge stone parch marks, Stonehenge caretaker, and long barrow builder, the budding megalithic superstar himself, Mister Timothy Daw. (Is it true that he was asked to search for his ancestors on Who Do You Think You Are, where he hoped to discover that he was directly descended from the people who ordered the original Stonehenge built back in the Neolithic, but was dismayed to learn that in fact their most direct living descendant was one Simon Banton, who was of course far too modest and self-effacing to appear on television? Inquiring minds want to know!)

We are looking forward to next year, watching the progress as various transport methods are used to move the concrete stones, and the trials are filmed for television. (By then no doubt Mr. Daw will be forced to stop every few moments to give autographs, which could slow things down a bit. Haha, we certainly hope he is a good sport.) This is a wonderful project, and we thank all involved, for photos, information, and for giving our whole staff here at Clonehenge something to crow about as we complete our sixth year of nonsense. The smiles you see on all three people in the picture above are the smiles that Stonehenge replicas create wherever they are found. We have loved recording them and being party to this odd corner of human nature for so many years! We see no sign that henge building is slowing down or going out of style.

We know we haven’t been posting much here on the blog lately. Some people tell us they no longer have time to read blog posts and they now only track their Stonehenge replica news on our Facebook group, Facebook page, or on Twitter. Of the three, we would have to recommend the Clonehenge Facebook group, because the most action and up-to-the-minute reports take place there. But once in a while we’ll return here to record something special.

And until the next time comes, dear friends, we wish you some very 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!