Thursday, 28 June 2007

Cardhenge progress slows due to workload...

Not much news recently as Soo and I have been at meetings, or on training, or on trips to London to see how real heritage organisations work etc. Work, eh?

Today is the first day for a while that we have had a proper lunchbreak, so up goes stone 22, a sarsen on the west side of the outer circle, which fell down in 1900 taking its lintel with it.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Product unavailable shock

Two more stones - 21 and 16 - make the transformation from flat cardboard potentiality to 3D cardboard reality. More importantly, however, English Heritage's Customer Services people have replied to my request to get them to sell this fantastic model in their online shop:

Unfortunately the product is now discontinued, we're glad you are enjoying it so much though and thanks for supporting English Heritage.

Wh-aaaat?? They're NOT selling cardboard Stonehenge anymore?? How rubbish is that!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

The dawn of a new day

Sunrise this morning, Thursday 21 June 2007, shone clear and bright across our cardboard Stonehenge, witnessed only by our Lego watchmen. From tomorrow the summer sunrise will start to track slowly back across the eastern horizon, rising further and further towards the south, passing due east in September - the equinox - until it reaches due south east in December, at which point the apparent motion of the sun will reverse and the location of the dawnlight will dance back northwards. And so the celestial cycle carries ever on.

In our modern business world of linear time, we have deadlines and schedules and completion dates. But neolithic communities lived in a world of cyclic time; what goes around, comes around. We have not been able to finish Cardhenge for this particular summer solstice, but what does it matter? The heavens turn, and another celestial event will come.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

The crowds gather

When I came into the office this morning the Lego people were lined up in anticipation of the forthcoming solstice. The policeman is attempting to keep order but I fear the tape will be down by the end of the day.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

The summer solstice draws near

The summer solstice occurs later this week, and the time has come for many of Stonehenge's ancient rituals to be carried out.

One of the most ancient and mysterious traditions is the ceremony in which Wiltshire Constabulary tape off the centre of Stonehenge with the sacred yellow and black chevron tape. Many illegal ravers, hippies and regional TV news crews often visit Stonehenge just to watch the police carry out this ceremony. Here the police have taped off Cardhenge in preparation for Thursday's sunrise.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Beautiful curves

Soo has made stone 56, a wonderfully sinuous stone which seems to curve inwards near its top. The nipple you can see at the very top of the stone is a stone tenon joint - Stonehenge's builders were inexperienced in the use of stone as a building material, so they used carpentry techniques, including mortise and tenon joints. It could also be said that modern office workers are equally inexperienced in the use of cardboard, to judge from the amount of glue which ends up on our fingertips.

The real stone is about 30 feet high, of which about nine feet is hidden in the ground. It was leaning over precariously until 1901 when it was straightened up. Excavations conducted at its base in that year showed that it had been originally lowered down a ramp into a hole dug with antler picks and flint tools, then levered upright, and its hole filled up with stone wedges and chalk rubble.

Monday, 11 June 2007

An artist at work

As you can see, my fingers are much fatter and monkeylike than Soo's. This is a shot of stone 152 being folded into shape before it gets put in place as a lintel in the inner horsehoe.

Friday, 8 June 2007

The Mycenaean axes ARE there!

Yes they are! Today Soo has made stone 34, which is a dinky wee little thing, and I've made stone 53, which was the first stone discovered to have carvings of axe designs, way back in 1953 by RJC Atkinson, when late afternoon summer sunshine shone obliquely across the face of stone 53, throwing the images into clear relief. And a close examination of the cardboard version under bleak office lighting reveals the same thing! Here I have circled the area containing the tiny axe designs:

The discovery of these axes forms a major new contribution to the field of Cardhenge studies, as it unequivocally dates the formation of the cardboard to the Mediterranean Bronze Age.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

The Eastern Front

Yes! - stone 30 has now been slotted into place, which pretty much completes the whole of the eastern side, as far as the uprights go. (We still need to put most of the lintels on top.)

It's between stone 30 and its neighbour, stone 101, that you get to see the midsummer sunrise on June 21, so stone 30 is one that appears on lots of photos. Our Lego men cannot wait for the real sunrise to take place - certainly they will be the only people in the office at dawn on June 21 - I suspect sunrise is a wee bit too early for Soo and me to make an appearance at work. We will set the cardboard model up in the correct orientation on the afternoon of June 20, and place the Lego men in the best viewing positions.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007


Our colleagues come in regularly to see how the henge is progressing. Here are some of the comments we have had so far: "What's that?", "Why do you want to do that?", "It's fantastic", "You can really see the sinewiness of the stones", "I think you have a bit of an issue with the scale" and "It's so realistic."

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

The Fall

Today we have added stones 1 and 23. Stoneheads will recall that stone 1 was leaning over at a scary angle until the restoration of 1920, when it was straightened up. Stone 23 is famous because it actually fell over in March 1963, after which it was re-erected into a concrete base. In our cardboard reconstruction the concrete has been expertly modelled in Copydex.

We still have 40+ stones to make so it's now looking like we're not going to make our informal Summer Solstice deadline, but we'll try to get most of it up by 21 June.