Poort van de Zon, or Gate of the Sun, Arnhem, Nederland

photo by Bert Boerma, used with permission

Okay, okay, we know it has been a while since we posted. The truth is, we came within a hair’s breadth of getting a life recently. But fear not, it has passed and we are back, kinda, sorta, at least long enough to add this admirable photo to our blog and this admirable sculpture to our list of large permanent replicas.

Created or at least placed in 1980, it is located in Immerloo Park in South Arnhem, in the Netherlands. The artist is Marius van Beek, a prominent Dutch sculptor. You can see its location and another picture of it here on Panoramio.

As far as we can make out by using internet translators on the Dutch pages, the two standing stones mark sun positions in spring and fall. The function of the red stone set on a tilt is less clear.

While it is a trilithon and resembles Stonehenge in its sun connection, this sculpture also echoes the Bolivian ruin also called the Gate of the Sun. Mr. van Beek may have had both ancient monuments in mind. A scan of his webpage will show that he has a fascination with standing stones and variations on the trilithon form. Our kind of guy! (Except he works hard and has talent.)

Score: 5½ druids. We like the sun alignments and the pleasing form of the gate. Every city should have something like this!

By the way, this is not Arnhem’s only Stonehenge replica ever. Check this out:

This 4 meter by 4 meter replica was built for a special exhibition called The Fascinating World of Stonehenge at the Municipal Museum of Arnhem in 1988=1989. Apparently a similar model of the Newgrange Passage Tomb was also built, although regrettably we have no photo of that. This is a very nice model and would probably rate 7 or 8 druids depending on a closer look. Perhaps Stonehenges come in twos!

We don’t have many replicas lined up to post, but we did hear there’s a town in Australia that has plans for one. We’ll post on that sometime soon.  Meanwhile, send in your homemade and newly discovered henges. The summer henging season is nearly upon us!

Happy henging!

(You didn’t expect this to be funny, did you? Everybody knows there’s nothing funny about the Dutch.)

Columcille–Megaliths and Dreams

our own photos

Okay, so we’re low on Stonehenge replicas right now, except those we’ve been tweeting about (we may just do a post on that remarkable cheesehenge from last week, whether or not we hear back from the one who posted it.), so here’s a place we’ve kept back for just such an occasion: Columcille Megalith Park on the side of the mountain outside Bangor, Pennsylvania.

There is no Stonehenge replica there, but there is at least one trilithon, stone circles and an imitation long barrow. You could describe it as a replica of a sacred landscape (a funny term–as if all landscape isn’t sacred!) There’s also a dolmen, many standing stones (note the young red tail hawk on the stone in the picture on the left), some of them quite large, and a chapel.

We have studiedly avoided posting the many modern megaliths in Great Britain,  across the States, and around the world because our focus is Stonehenge replicas only, but there is something special about this one: it is near enough to us for us to visit.

It’s a funny thing, this modern megalith phenomenon. It seems to be all tied up with something in the common psyche, and it has to do with spiritual things, nature, poetry, dreams and, of course, druids and Celtic peoples. You can tell people that the Celts were over a millennium too late to have erected any of the standing stones in Great Britain and they don’t want to hear it, even though all it means is that someone else , probably equally connected to the earth, the landscape and the magic and mystery of it all. put up the stones they admire so much.

It’s true, visiting a modern megalithic site like this is a little like going to a Renaissance Fair, but it also reminds us of something modern people tend to forget. There is magic in the earth, in the stones, in the landscape. We arose from it, we still depend on it and one day we’ll be part of it again.

So we recommend finding your local modern megalithic site and visiting it this spring if there’s one near you. Walk around, allow yourself some reverie and dreaming. Maybe the heart of the place will touch your heart somehow. It doesn’t have to be in England, you know. Every inch of the earth is as old as Stonehenge–in fact much, much older!

Let yourself be awed by that once in a while.

Building Stonehenge at Stonehenge, A Trilithon Model

photos are stills from Pete Glastonbury’s Youtube clip, used with permission

Here is one for the record books. Only once before, during the first month Clonehenge existed, did we post a replica that was actually at Stonehenge (Straw echo henge–wow,our posts were short back then!) Here is another one, this time, in keeping with our film and movie theme of late, from a CBS TV special made in 1964 called (like so many other things) The Mystery of Stonehenge.

It happens that a contributor to that TV special, Gerald Hawkins, author of the well-known book Stonehenge Decoded (one of those books that has been on our shelves for so long that we couldn’t say when we bought it!), was an acquaintance of our friend and frequent contributor Mr. Pete Glastonbury. Mr. Glastonbury uncovered a copy of the film in Mr. Hawkins’ archives and sent us the link to this delightful bit at Stonehenge in which Professor Richard Atkinson explains to a CBS reporter how he thinks the monument was built, putting a trilithon replica together in the process. (In the smaller photo here you can see a real sarsen upright in the background.)

What can we say? For the Stonehenge replica nerd, this is about as good as it gets–a renowned Stonehenge scholar putting together a Stonehenge replica at Stonehenge–on film. Score: 7½ druids! It’s great, true, but that’s as high as we can go for what is only a miniature trilithon.

This probably won’t be the last of these old-ish films. We’ve read that Hawkins was filmed explaining his theories using a plastic Stonehenge model and some lighting to simulate the sun shining into the monument at different times of year. If we can find it, we’ll post that, too.

Meanwhile, if all this academia is making you homesick for good old Spinal Tap, here is our post on that. We don’t want to stay too serious about Stonehenge replicas, dudes and dudettes. They are inherently silly things.

Happy henging!

Note added later: Oddly, completely by coincidence, Stonehenge Collectables’ latest addition to their site is a press release and TV Guide listing about a rerun of this CBS special in 1973. You can see it here.

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Stonehenge Apocalypse: And We’re Back to Hollywood

photo totally nicked from Misha Collins’ Twitpics, which we’re pretty sure are meant as promotional pics

The movies–the good, the bad, the indifferent, and in this case, the never-yet-aired. This movie is Stonehenge Apocalypse. The plot on IMDB reads like this: “When a group of archaeologists dig up a human skeleton near the historical monument of STONEHENGE, an ancient piece of machinery hidden beneath the bedrock is discovered. Not knowing what it could be the workers accidentally trigger the mechanism and start a chain of events that may very well end the world as we know it.

The world as we know it? Man, it is long gone at this point. Who says that anymore? But we’re not the ad copy police. (They won’t let us carry handcuffs!) So let’s look at this Stonehenge replica. We think it’s a pretty good trilithon. You can see other shots of it here and here. Score: 7½ druids. Good lichens, but it is just a trilithon.

So you may ask, why does Doctor Who get to film at the real Stonehenge while this film didn’t? Well, people, that’s why they call him The Doctor, innit? It helps to be a beloved national institution!

Meanwhile, here’s a synopsis of Stonehenge Apocalypse from the New York Times: “Stonehenge mystically begins rearranging itself causing massive unexplained natural destruction around the world.” No one seems to know just when it will air, but when it does we doubt it will reach Doctor Who audience levels. But we would love it if it surprised us. Any movie with a Stonehenge replica is one we’d watch!

Happy henging!

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More Stonehenge Movie Goodness

a poor quality still from a Youtube clip of King Arthur (Yes, I’m afraid we really are THAT lame!)

A quick posting of a few more movies with Stonehenge connections, starting with the rather amusing one in the 2004 movie King Arthur with Clive Owen and, the reason a lot of people went to see it, Keira Knightley as a rather scantily clad warrior maid. At the end of the movie they get married at a construction that a lot of people think is Stonehenge, although it is by the sea near Tintagel in Cornwall, some way from the real Stonehenge in Wiltshire. It is a nonexistent Stonehenge-ish thing made for the movie. Some video-ish shots of it can be seen here.

Another fun one is a less-known film called Merlin: The Return for which a Stonehenge replica was reportedly built in Africa where it was filmed. Alas, we have no picture of that one, but we’ve read that it situated Stonehenge in the woods, much as in this montage: Stonehenge as a Woodland Site.

Less fun and not actually involving Stonehenge replicas were the Tess movies over the years, various versions of the Thomas Hardy novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles. A scene in the novel takes place at Stonehenge and some have filmed at the site.

That includes the 2008 version made by BBC television and the 1979 version made by the infamous Roman Polanski with Nastassia Kinski in the lead role.

And last, and for a change also least, we may as well mention the movie Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Why? “Silver Shamrock, a mass-producer of Halloween masks, plan to kill millions of innocent people worldwide by placing pieces of a stolen boulder from Stonehenge into small tags and attaching them to the masks.” And from another webpage we learn why: “See, Stonehenge was a sacrificial altar and wields enormous power, that will make their heads explode and burst forth with crickets and snakes.” How cool is that!?

Eventually people do die, but we think they turn out to be robots or something. But there may be more–we confess we haven’t seen it. We just found the concept of destroying people using bits of Stonehenge as somehow amusing. Who comes up with this stuff?

Well, there are some more Stonehenge-related movies for you. We have at least one more to mention and we’ll get to that after an unrelated post or two. If you know of some we may have missed, please post a comment or email us at the email in the side bar. What a Stonehenge world this is!

Fake Dog Poop Henge, Because This Town Has Class!

photos and henge by Kris Sebring, aka thepapierboy, with permission

Let us introduce you to our town!

Like so many of our readers, we are real people (and/or person) who actually live somewhere–having so far been unsuccessful in our attempts to move completely onto the internet (all the online apartments that accept cats seem to be full up!). In our case, that somewhere is the–ahem–quaint town of Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Yes, sadly, we do not live in Wiltshire where we could be having fun making crop circles of a summer night!

From time to time, in fact, we have done some moonlighting, writing for a blog called Weird Nazareth about the odder tales and tidbits of this corner of the whirling world. Well, as a gesture in kind, the proprietor of the Weird Nazareth blog has sent us this picture of a homemade henge, which he calls Dog Poop Henge. We must hasten to assert that we are Certain that he could not Possibly be making an Editorial Comment expressing his Opinion of the Clonehenge blog by his choice of henging materials!

Having established that point up front, let us have a look at what he, or some creature or other, has produced. My, it looks juicy! It’s just a trilithon and a turd, that is to say, bluestone, but what impresses us most is what appears to be–yes!–a ditch and bank surrounding the, uh, construction. By our conventions he gets at least an extra druid for that.

Now, faithful readers will recall that we have featured a suspiciously dog poop-like henge before, albeit those lintels and uprights resembled a rather more dried and whitish stage of the duration of excremental existence. And the claim in that case was that it was clay. Well, this gleaming example of former food is in fact not at all what it seems but turns out to have been made of paper pulp, as described in this post of the blog maker diaries, another blog extruded from the mind of the previously mentioned Señor Sebring.

Oh, yes, as long as we’re looking at photos of our Moravian Church-founded town, allow us to give you a tour. In the top picture from left to right we see a former church, then we don’t see, just behind some trees, a large manor house originally built in the 1750s for the famous or, to some, infamous Count Zinzendorf. The next visible building, the light-colored one, is called the Sisters’ House, where the unmarried women of that community lived, and then over on the right is the current Nazareth Moravian Church. In the distance between there, sighting through the trilithon, is the circle at the center of town. You might say this town contains a s**t-load of history! Or you might not.

At any rate, we need a score here. Hmmm . . . trilithons are usually 5 druids, but this one has a ditch and bank, so we award the fake poop henge 6 druids! Which somehow seems too high, but then we want to do our part to contribute to the pride the Papier Boy’s infant daughter will someday feel at this, his fine accomplishment! Thank you, sir.

P.S.: Although this may be a tacky context in which to say it, we wish a blessed Imbolc to all those who celebrate it!

Chicago Planetarium Stonehenge(s): All About the Sky

photo from  Prashanth Sriram’s photostream on Flickr

The website of  Chicago’s Adler Planetarium says, “As visitors approach the exhibition, they are greeted by a full-size replica of a familiar giant stone monolith from Stonehenge.” Do we forgive them for using the word monolith where trilithon is the correct term? We’ll think about it.

But they do have this rather nice depiction of a piece of that ancient megalithic circle we all know and love. We don’t know what it’s made of, but we’re guessing fiberglass. It  looks a little like a movie set Stonehenge.

Plenty of planetariums have some form of Stonehenge replica (remember Kuala Lumpur?), but we’ve had our eye on Chicago for a while because of the structure on the left, entitled America’s Courtyard, an outdoor stone spiral that some people refer to as Stonehenge. (Photo by Mike Boehmer) You can read more about this public sculpture here at the sculptors’ page. (Please forgive them their typos. They are Brazilian, and English is not their first language.) Here’s another page about it, and a photo of it in the snow.

We’ve always liked that sculpture and couldn’t work it in (not hengy enough!)  until we found the photo at the top. Of course, Chicago is better known for its remarkable sculpture Cloud Gate. If you visit, we recommend seeing both!

But back to the trilithon, which now seems rather mundane. We’re giving it 5½ druids. We’re glad the planetarium is helping to keep people Stonehenge conscious. It’s as if trilithons were big staples for stapling the sky to the landscape. Oh, those ancients–they worked in big cubicles!

A Little Stonehenge, a Cucumber, and Eleven

photos by Somara aka snarkygurl, with permission

[Strictly speaking this is not a Stonehenge replica, but a replica of a Stonehenge replica. The rare clonehenge clone!]

What a movie! What a cake! The movie This Is Spinäl Tap made the Stonehenge replica a household idea. We’ve often wondered what percentage of the 250 and counting posts we’ve put up would be here if it weren’t for Spinal Tap. Well, there is no doubt about today’s entry!

The baker/artist and photographer writes: “A friend of ours wanted to surprise her husband with a Spinal Tap cake for his birthday. She didn’t care what it looked like, so I had free reign to do what I wanted. I like it, other than the part where I accidentally made the strap too long, and where I lost the wrestling match with the white frosting.

Well, we think she did an excellent job. Even got that cucumber-wrapped-in-tinfoil in there although much reduced in size!

And, speaking of reduced in size, our focus is, of course, the little Stonehenge replica, a trilithon, actually. We like the way the colouring on it is marbled to make it look like stone. It is very nicely done. Plus, it looks delicious. We hope it was.

Please note that the dials on the amp do say 11. That’s one higher! By the way, you can see our other posts concerning Spinal Tap here and here.

Score: 5 druids. It’s not much smaller than the one in the movie, after all. And we’re guessing Somara had a lot less money to work with. It’s not easy to get this kind of likeness in an edible replica. Nicely done!

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German Stonehenge on Beacon Hill, Ermingen

photo by Philipp Thom, with permission

For our 57th large permanent replica, we go back to Germany, southern Germany in the state of Baden-Württemberg, near the city of Ulm, to the town of Ermingen, where there is a longstanding, possibly ancient tradition of beacon burning on the first Sunday of Lent. Since this site, on a prominence with a clear view in all directions, needs to be kept clear for the beacon, someone came up with the idea of placing stones to track the movement of the sun.

And once you bring up the concept of tracking the sun with stones set in the ground, it’s never long before someone mentions Stonehenge. Hence this rather nice if odd trilithon. That lintel looks like a little cap, doesn’t it?

We don’t know much about this one–who did the planning and building, what kind of stone was used, how it was assembled. Did they use mortice-and-tenon construction as at Stonehenge? All we know is what we found at this link from Stadt Ulm Online’s Ermingen page (a couple of good pictures there, too). [Note: the term translated there as radio beacon would be better translated as relay or broadcast beacon. Funken doesn’t mean radio on this context.]

Herr Thom has posted a nice video of the stone circle and a walk through the trilithon. Click here to see it. Nicely done! Translation of the caption there includes this: “On the days of the summer solstice and the winter sun turn within the stone circle determined points are illuminated by the stone gate through of the sun.” At certain times of the year the sun shines through the trilithon onto special points within the circle.

Ermingen, by the way, is known among fossil buffs as the site of the Turritellenplatte, a unique outcropping of rock rich with fossils of Turritella, a kind of mollusk shell. We don’t know whether any of that rock was used for this structure, but if it was, we would approve. That fossil/megalith connection is in need of strengthening.

Ermingen is also surrounded by many ancient sites, including a cave, Hohle Fels, that is thought to have been inhabited as early as 30,000 years ago. Found there so far were a Venus figurine and bone and ivory flutes, the earliest musical instruments ever found. Brilliant stuff! Let’s go visit!

Score: 6 druids. We like the site, we like the beacon, a very old way of communicating, and we like the fact that there’s a circle rather than just a trilithon. Now we wonder what new large permanent replica will pop up next!

Mountain View, California–It’s a Mystery!

photos by Ghostly Penguin Display (aka Khoi), with permission

We said we weren’t going to post any more but we can’t stand knowing of large permanent replicas and not posting them! People count on us for their Stonehenge replica information. Well, in our dreams, anyway!

We actually knew there was some kind of little Stonehenge in Mountain View, California, but until now we had never seen a picture of it. Then one day recently we were idly searching the interwebular thing-a-majiger and, voilá! Here is this odd little sculpture/replica trilithon/circle in a park. With photos by a fellow of the excellent name Ghostly Penguin Display. (No, sorry, we don’t know why either.) Well, obviously we have to post it.

But what is it? We have stared at these pictures for a while, before and after doig searches to see if there’s any info online about this. We found nothing Perfect! That leaves us free to make up whatever we want.

The most alarming thing about this one is that grate under the trilithon. We had to reject out of hand (so to speak!) the theory that it might be an outdoor urinal. Even California is not that funky. And then there’s that strange screen between the uprights, with the pattern of holes in it. Astronomical sighting holes, lining up with sunrises and sets? Stars? The moon? Unlikely with that configuration, although it’s likely that at least one of them will line up with something.

No, the conclusion we have come to, and we plan to stick to it even if the designer or someone points out that we’re wrong (which is not unlikely), is that this piece, although dry now, was designed as a fountain.

Which makes it our third Stonehenge fountain–fourth if you count one built on an old fountain. There was the Falling Water Designs replica, the Warwick University replica (small and temporary), and, of course, the first replica that caused us to use the word lameness in a post, the Waterfall Stonehenge, for sale now. There’s actually another, since one of the trilithons at Caelum Moor in Texas is a fountain, too, although most photos don’t show it running.

Clearly there’s a pattern here, and we think this is the best explanation for this odd yet charming construction. We like the circle of low stones around it, suitable for people to sit on and listen to the falling water while reading or just thinking, or trying not to think. We want one of these in our town’s park!

Score: 6 druids. We may have been influenced by the nice light captured by our Ghostly Penguin friend. We admit we’re a little mysified, too, by that tree or trees just behind it. A young flowering tree with supports? A small grove with some young white birches? We can’t quite figure it out, but that’s okay. Stonehenge is supposed to be a mystery.

And, yes, we have a couple more to come including a nice German one we had somehow missed. See you soon. Happy Thanksgiving to our Stateside readers!