Plans are afoot to build a “21st century monument” in Wiltshire, based upon an interpretation of Stonehenge.
The project is being organised by Colin Shearing, of Preseli Bluestones Limited, who has stated
“We don’t want to replicate Stonehenge as it stands today but rather as how it would have looked when completed about 4000 years ago.”
The new monument will be built from stone shipped from Colin’s quarry in Preseli, Wales, which will be used to build the inner circle. Other types of stone sourced from around the world to complete the trilithons and other circles.
The project aims to use modern and traditional methods to raise the stones, and community involvement will be a big part of it. The stone circle will be aligned with the equinoxes and solstices, and hopes to be a “living laboratory for academics as well as an educational visitor attraction”.
As well as a large stone circle, there will also be a visitors centre on the site, which will take the form of a very large Neolithic burial chamber, possibly not unlike that of Newgrange in Ireland. We are reassured that “guides will not be dressed as druids”!
Interestingly, Colin Shearing describes the monument as “…primarily a landmark architectural heritage sculpture”, which draws influence from the appearance from Stonehenge, rather than trying to faithfully to recreate it.
There will undoubtedly be a fair bit of scorn from archaeologists, so this project won’t be without argument and controversy. Many will claim that it’s just plain wrong, as there is no evidence to suggest that the “X and Y” holes (the two concentric rings of holes just outside the outer circle of trilithons) ever contained stones, let alone in the shapes suggested by this project. And that’s just one example…
However, so long as authenticity isn’t made a big issue by the organisers, I think that a piece of sculpture that mimics Stonehenge, but does its own thing at the same time is a great idea. I have no doubt, after visiting the polystyrene replica made last year, that visiting this new monument will be rather awe-inspiring, be it a solstice or not.
Read what the BBC have to say about the project.
And please, please, no Spinal Tap comments please! These are going to be real stones 😉