May 3, 2004 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Stonehenge Aotearoa will be a full-scale working adaptation of Stonehenge in Wairarapa, New Zealand, intended to inspire interest in ancient technologies and basic astronomy.
posted by homunculus (8 comments total)
No word yet on whether this henge is a boy or a girl.
posted by homunculus at 1:19 PM on May 3, 2004

Some of the various Stonehenges of the United States.
posted by malocchio at 1:32 PM on May 3, 2004

Cool, but I hope they don't confuse the "inches" and "feet" like Spinal Tap
posted by briank at 1:46 PM on May 3, 2004

In Larry Niven's World of Ptavvs and other Known Space universe stories, at some point in the 21st century the world woke up one morning to find that someone -- pranksters? aliens? -- had created a duplicate Stonehenge.

Alas, in the Known Space timeline, mostly written in the sixties, GPS was never invented -- so not even the surveyors and archaeologists could ever determine which one was the original. Or maybe they were just paid off. It was that kind of world.
posted by dhartung at 7:39 PM on May 3, 2004

working, in the sense that it stands still and doesn't do anything just like the original?
posted by hob at 9:22 PM on May 3, 2004

I really like Carhenge. It's very ugly.

Reinhold Niebuhr once wrote:
"Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love."

I like the quote, despite the fact that it is obviously more rhetoric more than dialectic, because it attempts to approach an understanding of the value of cultures and civilisation. I don’t agree with Reinhold’s statements in an individual, absolute sense, but he does have a certain point that there are ventures that can only be accomplished by large groups of humans who can somehow agree to work together, despite their differences, to produce something amazing.
posted by snarfodox at 9:26 PM on May 3, 2004

dhartung: tt turns out to have been Jack Brennan, in Protector.

This is not the first henge in New Zealand, however.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:08 PM on May 3, 2004

The assumption is that building such an edifice, like the pyramids, was terribly difficult. But about 20 years ago, The Smithsonian magazine published a simple, low-tech solution that would use a fraction of the labor and time.

Picture a square (one side of your block of stone). Now get four timbers, and round the length of one side of each until it is convex. Place the flat side of each timber against a side of the stone, then wooden pin the ends of the timbers together. Bingo, you have turned a square into a circle, with even less technology than it takes to make a complete wheel.
If you use a total of eight timbers, you have made a two wheeled "axle" out of the stone.

There, a stone that could have taken 100 men or more to move can be rolled by 10! Further, faster, and with less chance for damage. For real long distances, like from a quarry, use a boat.

The last stage is simple--dirt ramps. It is easier to imagine with a pyramid, dirt being piled higher until the pyramid is done, almost covered in dirt by that time; then carry the dirt away. All you need are baskets to carry the dirt, some tamping, and maybe some supports. (The Romans were *very* skilled with dirt ramps by their time, even building an enormous one to attack Masada. This suggests a long history of "dirt ramp tech", possibly inherited from the Egyptians.)

The most notable construction evidence about Stonehenge might be the crude carving of the stones. Compare their roughness to the Egyptian or ancient pre-Incan. Smoothing was usually done by hand, with sand. Simple stuff, but not done. Why?
posted by kablam at 5:45 PM on May 4, 2004

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