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!

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!

The Eternal and the Momentary—the Trilithon Fountain of Lanjaron, Spain!

trilithon fountain,  photo from the Lanjaron website

trilithon fountain, photo from the Lanjaron website

There are a few Stonehenge-like sculptures and fountains scattered around the cities of the world, but we hadn’t heard of this one until Mr. Dean Travchav Phillips posted it in the Clonehenge Facebook group. Nice find, we must say! Happily, this brings us to 80 large permanent replicas, and you know what that means, right? It means you live on a planet with an incredible number of Stonehenge-obsessed maniacs! What could be more fun??

We know little about this fountain except that it’s in the center square of Lanjaron in southern Spain, and the name of the sculptor is Ramiro Megías. There is a page about the inauguration of the sculpture/fountain here. Its title is something like Living Fountain, or Fountain of Life, and it is meant to bring together the timelessness of the stone with the moving waters and figures of children, along with the old couple who seem to exemplify lasting love. See a photo from another angle here.

The timeless and the momentary—that’s what we’re all about here at the Clonehenge blog: the timelessness of Stonehenge and the fleeting moment of enjoying that Stonehenge cake; the eternity it takes us to get around to doing a new post and the seconds it takes you to read it and forget it. It’s the balance of life.

Trilithons in a way represent balance, the two sides supporting the lintel evenly to create a structure that has an impact greater than its parts. Maybe that’s part of why people all over the world build Stonehenge replicas. We have records of large permanent Stonehenge replicas on every continent. Wherever modern man goes, Stonehenges follow. It’s a strange phenomenon. Someone should write about it!

We did discover one distressing thing, however. We were looking at available emoji for our iPad keyboard and what did we discover but—AN EASTER ISLAND HEAD!!! No Stonehenge emoji, but they have an Easter Island head (aka moai)? Who ARE these people? We have to find some way to demonstrate that Stonehenge replicas are way more prevalent around the world and in the human psyche than moai. And also get a Stonehenge emoji added to the lexicon, so to speak. Whom do we contact? This needs to happen, and soon!

Luckily, we never lose our focus and wander off topic.

So, until next time, then, henge nerds, happy henging!  (And hang onto your henging hats—because some unprecedented and really fun henging news could be in the offing, taking henging to a whole new level! Stay tuned.)

Wine Rack Henge

Posted by Simon

It is the curse of the henger.  I was building a new wine rack for the hall closet and the nicely shaped maple pieces suddenly started talking to me.  And what they were saying was “we are a henge.”

And they became a henge.

Then the spirits intervened (it is a wine rack after all) and the sunlight reflected of the car window shone directly through the southern trilithon.

A clear message that the Mayans were wrong and the world will go on after the winter solstice.

This is my first entry in the Clonehenge End of the World Festival contest as announced on October 23, 2012.  Life is Good.

Thank you Nancy for letting me “guest blog” on Clonehenge.  I feel like I am typing on sacred ground.  Well not exactly “sacred ground” maybe “sacred pixels.”

You can see more of my hengish contributions here.

How Can You Bring Stonehenge into Your Life? Let Us Help.

photo from daddytypes.com

So many people wonder (apparently), “How can I bring Stonehenge into my life?” Luckily for them, there are so many ways! Above you see Muji’s Mysteries in a Bag, a small wooden set that includes not just Stonehenge but a pyramid, the Sphinx, the Parthenon, Nessie, one o the Nazca line drawings, and, oh yes!, Easter Island heads or moai. Moai, despite coming from the other side of the world, are associated with Stonehenge replicas with alarming frequency.

We quote daddytypes.com‘s comments, “Forget Stonehenges in danger of being crushed by a dwarf; now you can have a Stonehenge in danger of being swallowed by a toddler. [And yeah, it’s worth noting that all these things have small-to-tiny pieces. Personally, I worry less about easy-to-swallow than I do about choke hazard, but either way, heads up.]” We see the tiresome crushed by a dwarf reference all the time, this fellow used it well, in our (not so) humble opinion.

Another way to acquire a Stonehenge for your home or business can be found on Amazon (what can’t?). This piece is advertised as a “StoneHenge 180cms Lifesize Cardboard Cutout” but, let’s face it, 180 cm is not half the height of the shortest sarsens and this is just a trilithon. (StoneHenge–capitalisation of that H grates a little, doesn’t it?) The most striking thing about this Stonehenge is the £34.99 price for cardboard, even if it is “photo-quality” and has a “fold-out strut to the rear, which means its entirely self supporting”. Not everyone who has a strut to the rear is entirely self supporting…

This is another children’s Stonehenge, this time produced with the help of someone who actually knows something about Stonehenge, Mr. Julian Richards (We’ve mentioned him before, here. This is a clever book with good information to help you introduce your child, or someone else’s, to Stonehenge. (It almost hurts us when something is too good to make fun of.)

And this is a resin Stonehenge trilithon replica, 8 cm high and painted to look, not like stone, but, curiously, like metal. We spotted it on ebay some time ago, but its time has since expired. Striking looking.

No scores in this post. We’re just biding our time until our reader in New Jersey sends us the photograph we’re waiting for. We also have a nice pinhole picture Stonehenge model, complete with parking lot, in the works. People are making Stonehenge replicas much faster than we can post them.

Other ways to bring Stonehenge into your life, of course, many of which we have posted here in the past, include pre-made and make-it-yourself models, jewellery, cakes, small garden henges, photographs and more, including, of course, subscribing to Clonehenge or following it on Twitter or Facebook. When we remember we post a foodhenge to Twitter on Fridays.

There you have it. We managed to cop out and strike 4 items off our lengthening list at one blow. Someone recently told us that they think numbers of Stonehenge replicas will increase faster as we approach December 2011.  We need a young padawan. Does anyone want to send us their child to have him or her learn the Stonehenge-replica-posting trade? Calling for a Clonehenge apprentice! We promise to pay as much as we pay ourselves.

The New Jersey photo has just come in. Look for it next week. Until then, as always, happy henging!

H is For Henge: The Salisbury Hospital Trilithon

photo by Matt Penny, aka @Salisbury_Matt (but heartlessly cropped and altered by evil Clonehenge elves)

When we receive an email with the subject line, “Does this count?” it appeals to our considerable megalomaniacal tendencies. That is correct, minions! It is completely up to us. We alone decide what is henge-sufficient and what is not. Ha. And this time friend of the blog Mr. Matt Penny, knowing our weakness for flattery, played on it in order to be given the prestigious name of Discoverer of a Large Permanent Replica. Well  done, sir!

What and where is it, you ask? Mr. Penny (yes, alert reader, that same young Mr. Penney we have mentioned before as the creator and sovereign of the website Salisbury and Stonehenge.net) says it is “a tri-lithon style ‘H’ which stands at the entrance to Salisbury District Hospital (usually known as Odstock)”  He goes on to say, “My feeling is that this is at least possibly a clonehenge rather than a simple stone ‘H‘ because of its elevation on a vaguely tumulus or tor shaped mound, and because of it’s relative proximity to the stones themselves (or clonehenge v0.1, as I’m starting to think of them).”

Although we prefer to think of ourselves as the only truly clever people,  we grudgingly admit that it was perceptive of Mr. Penny to look at this sculpture and realise that it is indeed a reference to that great grey heap of stones out on Salisbury plain. Proof that his hunch was correct can be seen on the sculptor’s website where it tells us the piece was “Commissioned by Salisbury Health Authority : H FOR HOSPITAL, a 6 tonne trilithon of Chilmark stone to mark the entrance to a new hospital. Click HERE to view.” [H IS FOR HOSPITAL–nice title but I think all of us here know what H is actually for!]

That word trilithon is the clincher. Put the word trilithon into Google along with the name Salisbury and one topic dominates the results–Stonehenge. Therefore this stone H fits solidly into the category of Stonehenge sculptures. In an odd twist, the notch method of inserting the third stone actually makes the sculpture more like the famous Tongan stone trilithon than like any of the trilithons at Stonehenge. But we are not ones to nit-pick (Much. Heh.).

More from Salisbury Matt, because he says it so well (or is it because we’re too lazy to write it ourselves? Surely not.): “The other quite nice aspect is that it’s made of Chilmark stone, which I *think* is the the stone that was used to build the Cathedral (I’ve never really been much into ley-lines etc, but Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge kind of go together – somebody like Dr Johnson said something like they are the ‘first essay and the last perfection of architecture’).

Wikipedia notes that Chilmark stone appears to have been used to pack around the base of at least one of the uprights at Stonehenge. This sculpture certainly ties in nicely. Curiously, when a hospital near to Clonehenge headquarters, far from Wilts, tried to call a huge H on their premises a sculpture, authorities judged it to be a commercial sign, denying them privileges or tax breaks. Maybe they should have made it of crude stone and called it a Stonehenge replica. Psh! And people say that our topic has no practical applications!

As for a score, we’re charmed by the connection of the Wiltshire Chilmark stone, the placement of it on a mound, and even the connection to healing, rumoured to be one of the functions of Stonehenge itself. We give it 5½ druids, not a bad score for a mere trilithon. And we give to Matt Penny that most coveted of titles–official Clonehenge Finder of a large permanent replica. Please, Monsieur Penny , we don’t want to hear about all the free drinks and action (wink, wink) you get as a result. Meanwhile don’t forget, other readers, if you want that kind of glory, make or find a Stonehenge replica and send us pictures! Your life will change in ways you can only imagine!

And to everyone, happy henging!

Does This Even Qualify? Philly Flower Show Henge!

photo by Michael L. Lahr

A quick news post. This was spotted in the Visit Ireland exhibit at the prestigious Philadelphia Flower Show, this trilithon is probably meant to be a dolmen rather than a Stonehenge replica, but we’re especially entertained by megalithic replicas at flower shows. We’ve posted some before, here (South African orchid show) and here (Salisbury Community Show).

This one is nicely done, with fake stones that pretty much look like stone, and moss drapes gracefully like a sort of full-body toupee. No score because if it’s in the Ireland exhibit, it can’t be Stonehenge. Just wanted to give it a mention. You people just can’t help yourselves, can you?

Happy henging!