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October 3, 2009 11:41 PM   Subscribe

A companion to one of Europe's most eminent prehistoric monuments has been discovered just a mile away. Bluehenge has the same rough configuration as its sister site, Stonehenge, but with 27 stones instead of 56. It is speculated that the stones of Bluehenge may have been moved to aid in the making of Stonehenge.

Bluehenge was discovered by Professor Michael Parker Pearson of Sheffield University, who also discovered evidence of housing near Stonehenge a few years back. The news may have leaked out early.
posted by Hardcore Poser (43 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
No one knows who they were, or what they were doing...
posted by gc at 11:54 PM on October 3, 2009 [16 favorites]


Happy Day!
posted by adipocere at 12:02 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bluehenge was put up 5,000 years ago - around the same time as work began on Stonehenge - and appears to have been a miniature version of it.

So miniature it was in danger of being crushed... by a dwarf.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:03 AM on October 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


If it's exactly 18 inches high, I'll be amazed.
posted by allen.spaulding at 12:13 AM on October 4, 2009


You can't let your attention flag, even for a few dozen millennia, or you'll miss something. That's why I keep checking back here.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:17 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fantastic! Building a henge, are we?
posted by Rhomboid at 1:11 AM on October 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


5$ says Dan Brown is already hard at work on a new white-knuckle page turner called Blackhenge
posted by mannequito at 1:20 AM on October 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


I don't get the illustration in the first link. What is that super-stinky looking hippie with the double marshmallow roaster doing there?
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:23 AM on October 4, 2009


Fantastic! Building a henge, are we?

Heave, everyone, heave, well done everyone. You're doing very well. You'll love it when you see it, I've seen some of the drawings already, it's very special.
posted by greycap at 1:23 AM on October 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Call me a philistine, if you must, but I'm more fascinated by Carhenge!
posted by crossoverman at 1:27 AM on October 4, 2009


crossoverman, Carhenge is great. I can't explain why, but it shares Stonehenge's sense of wonder. Maybe it's because they went to the effort to get the proportions right.
posted by shetterly at 1:39 AM on October 4, 2009


I particularly like the idea of the Woodhenge-Avon-Bluehenge-Stonehenge journey.
I wouldn't mind a trip like that when my time comes.
posted by ...possums at 1:54 AM on October 4, 2009


Folks interested in henges shouldn't neglect Avebury. It's much larger than Stonehenge, so you can't experience it all at once. As you walk it, its majesty sneaks up on you.
posted by shetterly at 2:14 AM on October 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


As you walk it, its majesty sneaks up on you.

That's Her Majesty, and she's really not down there often, so I don't think people should let her frighten them away from the place. Anyway, you can usually hear her stuff tinkling and jangling long before she gets to you.
posted by pracowity at 2:30 AM on October 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


What Shatterly said. Avebury is fantastic. I always tell friends visiting the UK to skip Stonehenge and see Avebury instead.
posted by schwa at 4:29 AM on October 4, 2009


Folks interested in henges shouldn't neglect Avebury.

The best thing about Avebury is that the authorities don't bother keeping the 'henge worshippers' (for lack of a better term) away from the stones. Just walking through you can get caught up in some pretty wacky celebrations.
posted by dotdotdotdotdot at 6:02 AM on October 4, 2009


This seems pretty amazing until you realize that there are henges everywhere on the British Isles. Not just henges, either. Cairns. Dolmens. Menhirs. What have you. When I lived in the west country of England, I couldn't walk across the street without tripping over a last half a dozen ancient stone structures. And our headmistress was a stone structure -- Miss Bandishanks, who was made of a pile of heelstone that had a mortarboard propped up atop it. She was a ruthless disciplinarian, and if children misbehaved, she'll fall over on them. The house I lived in was a henge that jut happened to resemble a typical countryside house -- I swear, you wouldn't know the difference until you go inside and thought to yourself, why, this house has an unusual amount of lichen growing inside it, and what are these Druidic carvings on the wall, and why are all these hippies sitting around and chanting? Henges are so common, in fact, that its recently been determined that Ireland itself is just one giant henge, built by the ancient Irish off the coast of England, from where the Irish taunted the English, throwing clods off mud at them and claiming to have invented things like the kilt and curry, both of which, of course, were actually invented by vikings to torture the Irish with.

So I can see why Bluehenge would have been overlooked. It was probably being used as picnic table, and nobody thought anything of it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:32 AM on October 4, 2009 [22 favorites]


You can't keep people away from the stones. People live there.

My favourite Avebury moment was in the shop. I was buying a copy of Julian Cope's marvellous The Modern Antiquarian, and noticed there was a small paper sign that had been attached to the display with blu-tack but that had fallen off. It said "Signed by the author." I asked about it at the counter. She turned to a particular page where he usually signed it, but it was unmarked. From what she said, I got the impression that it wasn't a promotional thing, but that sometimes Cope (who was living in the village at that time) would wander into the shop and sign the copies on display, and that this was an eccentricity the shop indulged.

Or at least that's what I prefer to believe.
posted by Grangousier at 6:34 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Take your pick. Fridgehenge has gone.
posted by adamvasco at 6:54 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


At last - an answer to the riddle of what rhymes with orange!
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:24 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Interesting etymology: the word "henge" is a backformation from "Stonehenge", which itself is thought to mean something like "stone hang" - i.e. it's the place where stones hang in the air. However:

The word "henge" has nothing to do with stones, let alone hanging stones, despite the fact that it came from "Stonehenge". It means a particular type of earthworks - a large, flat, circular or oval area with a bank as its external boundary, and a ditch just inside the bank. Henges might have stone circles in them (and/or other things), but a stone circle is not a henge, nor is it what makes a henge a henge, nor is it even necessarily within a henge. Moreover:

Stonehenge itself is a large, flat, circular or oval area with a ditch as its external boundary, and a bank just inside the ditch. That is:

Stonehenge is not a henge. Despite the word "henge" coming from the word "Stonehenge".

(at least, according to Wikipedia)
posted by Flunkie at 8:07 AM on October 4, 2009


Avesbury is fascinating. Never heard of it before.

Is it possible to see the structures from an aerial view (maybe with Google Earth)? I'm having trouble picturing the entire layout in the abstract.
posted by misha at 8:31 AM on October 4, 2009


Here you go misha.
posted by adamvasco at 8:35 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Clonehenges.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:44 AM on October 4, 2009


Is it possible to see the structures from an aerial view (maybe with Google Earth)? I'm having trouble picturing the entire layout in the abstract.
Stonehenge

Avebury

Bluehenge is approximately here, but I don't think you're going to see anything (I didn't), since at this point it's apparently just some holes in the ground.

Carhenge
posted by Flunkie at 8:45 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Call me a philistine, if you must, but I'm more fascinated by Carhenge!
posted by crossoverman at 3:27 AM on October 4 [+] [!]


Carhenge
posted by Flunkie at 10:45 AM on October 4 [+] [!]


Eponypropriate!
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:52 AM on October 4, 2009


Carhenge
posted by Flunkie at 10:45 AM on October 4 [+] [!]
Eponypropriate!
I hadn't had enough sleep when I picked my username. To the best of my recollection, here's how I picked it:

(1) "Uh...."

(2) "Fuh...?"

(3) "Fluh...?"

(4) "Flun...?"

(5) "Flunk...?"

(6) "Flunkie?"

(7) "Flunkie!"

Only after I clicked the button to lock me into that choice did I remember that it had a meaning. Doh!
posted by Flunkie at 8:58 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]




13 Awesome Stone Circles
posted by homunculus at 9:00 AM on October 4, 2009


Flagged for Pepsi Bluehenge.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:04 AM on October 4, 2009


"Researchers have called it 'Bluehenge' after the colour of the 27 giant Welsh stones it once incorporated - but are now missing."

Crushed by a dwarf.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:09 AM on October 4, 2009


I got a chuckle out of this - a splendid monument, except it's not there any more.
posted by Quietgal at 9:30 AM on October 4, 2009


Thank you to all for the aerial views! Avebury is splendid.
posted by misha at 9:41 AM on October 4, 2009


So they've found a stone circle, but with all the stones removed. Err...that's called a field, right?
posted by w0mbat at 11:01 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Help you push the stones along? Okay, it's not far, is it? (later) 200 miles in this day and age?! I don't even know where I live anymore!
posted by Davenhill at 11:22 AM on October 4, 2009


Researchers have called it 'Bluehenge' after the colour of the 27 giant Welsh stones it once incorporated

Did, perhaps, whales take them back to Wales?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:03 PM on October 4, 2009


One day, perhaps 3,000 years from now, archaeologists will uncover the remains of some ridiculously labor-intensive symbolic boondoggle in North Korea, and from then on, the far-future equivalent of Wiccans will wallow in romanticized notions of what that magical realm must have been like.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:38 PM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


For jealous Americans, there are quite a few fake stonehenges besides Carhenge, including the one I know in Goldendale WA. It's apparently astronomically accurate, built by eccentric railroad millionaire "What In the " Sam Hill in 1918 as a token of his love for Queen Marie of Romania.
posted by msalt at 12:00 AM on October 5, 2009


Check out picture 79 here a complete stone circle in the Yasin valley
posted by adamvasco at 12:25 AM on October 5, 2009


Poo on Stonehenge, it's all been re-arranged in modern times.

Christopher Chippindale, curator at the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Anthropology, and author of Stonehenge Complete, admits: 'Nearly all the stones have been moved in some way and are standing in concrete.'


Somebody will have to tell Gerald Hawkins, it's not going to be me, bloody hell.
posted by Twang at 2:40 AM on October 5, 2009




It annoys me a bit that that prettymuch the only information on these discoveries is in the breathless gee-whizz prose of the tabloids. Hell, it took a bit of digging to even find the university news release that evidently touched this off.

That said, I love these comments:

One day, perhaps 3,000 years from now, archaeologists will uncover the remains of some ridiculously labor-intensive symbolic boondoggle in North Korea, and from then on, the far-future equivalent of Wiccans will wallow in romanticized notions of what that magical realm must have been like.


and

Christopher Chippindale, curator at the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Anthropology, and author of Stonehenge Complete, admits: 'Nearly all the stones have been moved in some way and are standing in concrete.'

As one professor said about the competing theories on what Stonehenge was used for (temple complex, funerary site, healing complex, observatory, etc.), a site that's been in use for thousands of years has undoubtedly been used for far more than one purpose. It's important to remember that the people who finished Stonehenge were millennia removed from the people who originally shaped the site. Looked in that context, one can argue that Stonehenge is still in use, and not just by Druids and Wiccans, though once again its purpose has changed. One has to wonder what the archaeologists of the 50th century will make of the remains of beer bottles and packets of crisps.
posted by happyroach at 11:38 AM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


With the leak coming out an the Daily Mail printing its breathless article, the Stonehenge Riverside Project has now posted a response, which also shows that many of the details posted by the Mail are not correct:

Nine stone holes were identified, part of a circle of probably
twenty-five standing stones. Only the northeast quadrant of the circle,
and a small past of its west side, were excavated.


More details here, including comments from the project directors (The Daily Mail did not bother to contact any of them).

[disclosure: Josh Pollard, one of the project directors, was one of my lecturers this past year]
posted by ursus_comiter at 3:08 AM on October 6, 2009


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