Everyone with even the slightest interest in sacred site architecture will be familiar with Stonehenge, the circular neolithic complex located on Salisbury Plain in England. An Alta-Vista search for the keyword "Stonehenge" discloses more than 400 web sites on which it is mentioned. (The striking picture above was lifted from one of the better of these pages, The Buckingham Gate Events site.) The subject of many, many books (among them good ones by Chippendale, Hawkins, and Meaden, all listed in the Sacred Landscape Bibliography) the site has been described as everything from an archaeoastronomical observatory to a landing place for extra-terrestrial aliens.

What is less well known is that Stonehenge has given rise to many replicas and "metaphorms" (variations in which its form is used as a metaphor) in the United States of America. In discussions of these "clones" in usenet groups and in the e-list, some British subscribers have commented on how "tacky" such replicas are, or how they cannot possibly contain or transmit the "spiritual" energy of a long-hallowed sacred site. Be that as it may, Stonehenge and other megalithic facsimilies, parodies, clones, and metaphorms are the subject of sincere sacred site tourism in the United States. Four of these places -- the Maryhill Stonehenge in Washington, Stonehenge II in Texas, Carhenge in Nebraska, and the Georgia Guidestones in Georgia -- are reputably said to be used as sites for pagan gatherings and ceremonies.

Here is a handy list of Stonehenge clones and other neo-neolithic metaphorms in North America, with illustrated web sites noted (and web-authors credited in parentheses).

  • Georgia: The Georgia Guidestones
    This neo-megalithic site is an intricate and well-designed astronomical observatory built of granite in 1979 near the small town of Elberton under the direction of the pseudonymous "R. C. Christian," who presumeably named himself after "Christian Rosenkreutz," the pseudonymous 17th century author of "The Chemical Wedding." In addition to astro-calendrical features, it also boasts didactic New Age messages of the "ten commandments" type in numerous languages. The link given here is not to a page on the Georgia Guidestones themselves (i haven't found one so far) but rather to the very useful University of Missuori-Rolla pages on "The Missouri Megalith," which lists and depicts a few other neo-retro-archaeoastronomical sites -- including this one -- for the purposes of comparison. (Dr. David Summers; Matthew Roberts)

    The picture shown here a crummy reduced thumbnail of one of several b&w photos of the Georgia Guidestones which can be viewed in larger format at the UMR web site.

  • Missouri: The Missouri Megalith
    This is a modified scale model of Stonehenge carved in granite by faculty and students at the University of Missouri-Rolla, and dedicated in 1984 by a British Druid priest. "The Missouri Megalith" is smaller than the original Stonehenge but contains added features (including an analemma and a north pole sighting window) that make it highly accurate as an astrocalendrical device. Note that the UMR pages come in both a text version with links to the numerous pictures and in a very slow loading format with thumbnails included. I have used both versions and recommend the text-only version, which allows you to click on the picture-links. (Dr. David Summers; Matthew Roberts)

    The picture shown here is a badly reduced jpeg of one of dozens of colour photos depicting The Missouri Megalith which can be viewed in larger format at the UMR web site.

  • Nebraska: The Alliance Carhenge web site
    This wacky Stonehenge replica was designed by an engineer named Jim Reinders and built by six local families out of used Amercan cars near Alliance, Nebraska in 1987. The cars depict Stonehenge in its present ruined form and all are painted grey. The henge is said to be used by local druids for Solstice ceremonies; it has become a major tourist attraction. There is no text at the first site, just a dim but viewable gif; the second site has a better picture and quite a bit of information. (Nebraska Travel and Tourism; Travel Nebraska)

    The picture shown here is a half-size jpeg of the gif at the Nebraska Travel and Tourism web site.

  • New Hampshire: America's Stonehenge
    This is the home page for the controversial New Hampshire site which its owners claim is a 4,000 year old archaeoastronomical observatory -- and scholars declare to be an elaborate hoax. Formerly known as Mystery Hill, it makes a pretty nice roadside attraction -- and does not resemble Stonehenge in any way. (America's Stonehenge)

  • Texas: Cadillac Ranch
    Cadillac Ranch is a neo-neolithic straight row alignment of 10 Cadillac cars, dating between 1949 and 1963, "planted" in the ground, fins up, at a 45 degree angle. It stands on land owned by Stanley Marsh III, an Amarillo helium tycoon (see The Helium Monument). The web site linked here is actually about Cadillacs and contains little about the Cadillac Ranch per se. (Rick Gruwez)

    The picture i have selected to show is not from Gruwez's site but is instead a reproduction of a commercial postcard, lifted from a defunt web site created by my friend Ledia Pearl Carroll.

  • Texas: Stonehenge II
    At this URL you will find explanatory text and numerous clear pictures of Stonehenge II, a half-size replica of the English neolithic site, designed by Al Shepperd and constructed by Doug Hill in rural Hunt, Texas. The web page, maintained by Shepperd's nephew, also named Al Shepperd, includes a road map and an explanation of how this unusual sacred site -- complete with two reduced-size replicas of the famous stone heads from Easter Island -- came to be.

    The picture here is from "The Barbarian's" web site, no longer online.

  • I no longer have an URL for the Carhenge built in Whitby, Ontario, Canada, by a sculptor named Bill Lishman. Unlike the Nebraska Carhenge, which consists of whole cars painted grey, Lishman's henge is made of "partially crushed cars...the size of the stones in the original Stonehenge."

    This picture is a reduced version of the one formerly found at the UMR web site.

  • I no longer have an URL for the full-scale concrete replica of Stonehenge built shortly after World War One by Sam Hill in Klickitat County, Washington. Former web pages cited its remarkable astronomical alignment. Like several other Stonehenge replicas, this one is home to local Pagan Solstice ceremonies.

    The picture is a reduced image formerly found at the UMR web site.


    The above listing of Stonehenge metaphorms only covers North America. I know of one such structure -- alas, a temporary art installation now demolished -- built in New Zealand. This was Fridgehenge, created entirely from discarded refrigerators.

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