The Quick 10: 10 Stonehenge Substitutes
Is Stonehenge on your list of places to visit someday? If "someday" means more like "in 20 years" as opposed to "in October," you can get your Stonehenge fix elsewhere until you're able to make it to Wiltshire County, England. Here are 10 other Stonehenge-like places "“ some that are just as impressive as the real thing and a couple that are slightly tongue-in-cheek.
1. Ale's Stones can be found in southern Sweden. Made up of 59 huge sandstone boulders, Ale's Stones is a formation of rocks that have been arranged to vaguely resemble the shape of a ship. These stone ships aren't uncommon, but most of the time graves have been found at the center of them. That's not the case here. Although some charred human bones were found in a pot within the ship, it's not been determined that they were placed there during the same timeframe the stones were (attempts to carbon date have produced varying results).
2. The Rollright Stones. Dating back as far as 4000 BC, the Rollright Stones are actually three separate sites: The King's Men, the King Stone, and the Whispering Knights. The King's Men are the ones that most resemble Stonehenge "“ they're 77 stones placed in a circle with a marked entrance to the circle. The newest of the bunch, the King Stone is just one huge monolith that stands by itself"¦ although at a date of 1500 BC, he's still pretty old. Finally, the Whispering Knights date back to nearly 4000 BC and are thought to be what's left of an ancient burial chamber. There are all kinds of legends about the stones "“ they come to life at night, it's unlucky to touch them, they have the power to make you the King of England.
3. Callanish Stones. The Callanish Stones are apparently what happened long ago when the giants who lived on the Scottish isle of Lewis refused to convert to Christianity: they denied the religion and were turned into great lumps of stone. In reality, the site was erected sometime around 2900-2600 BC. It's not yet known if the stones were meant to be a burial tribute, a calendar, or both. Human remains have been found there, but the alignment of the stones also seem to correspond with positions of the moon.
4. Woodhenge can be found at the Cahokia Mounds in Illinois. At its peak in 1250 AD or so, Cahokia was the biggest city north of Mexico. And an advanced city at that "“ there's evidence that the cedar posts found in a circular pattern at the site were used to mark solstices and equinoxes. There's a Woodhenge just two miles away from the real Stonehenge as well.
5. Carnac Stones. The Carnac Stones (there are thousands of them) of Brittany, France, have a legend similar to that of the Callanish Stones "“a bunch of pagan soldiers were chasing Pope Cornelius (he was Pope from 251-253 AD) when he grew tired of their antics and turned them to stone. Theories as to the stones' actual use range from the usual calendar theory, to the idea that they made have been early seismic instruments, to the thought that Druids used them for religious and ceremonial purposes.
6. Standing Stones of Stenness. Although it stood for nearly 5000 years, one farmer single-handedly destroyed one of the Standing Stones of Stenness in 1814 because he was irritated with people trespassing on his property. Although most of these Scottish stones looked like the ones in the picture "“ straight, unadorned slabs "“ one of them, dubbed the Odin Stone, had a perfectly circular hole in the bottom of it. Couples apparently used to make the trek to the Odin Stone to hold hands through the hold to "cement" their engagement. Sick of the attention and the destruction to his fields, the farmer started by smashing the famous Odin Stone and had toppled another when locals demanded that he stop destroying ancient history.
7. Amazon Stonehenge. Just a few years ago, 127 granite blocks of varying sizes (there's one that's nine feet tall) were found rather strategically arranged along an Amazonian hilltop. After some research, scientists discovered that the shadow of one of the blocks just happens to disappear entirely on the shortest day of the year. Although locals have known about it for years, scientists and archaeologists are just beginning to study it. They think it may be up to 2,000 years old and could be "the remnants of a sophisticated culture," according to one archaeologist.
8. Manhattanhenge. Around May 28 and July 12, the sun sets almost exactly on the grid of the streets of Manhattan, New York. And around December 5 and January 8, it rises with the grid. Unlike its ancient stone counterparts, Manhattanhenge isn't evidence of our clever ancestors trying to turn the city into a giant timepiece or calendar "“ the "phenomenon" can be observed in most cities with a uniform street grid. Toronto and Chicago have observed a similar occurrence.
9. Foamhenge. Stonehenge wasn't built in a day"¦ but Foamhenge was. In Natural Bridge, Virginia, a man named Mark Cline decided to erect his own personal homage to the English curiosity. Rather than waste a lot of time and effort carving the whole thing out of rock, he decided that foam would do just as well. His first attempt was too light and the whole thing was carried off in the wind after just three months. Cline has since found a heavier substitute and claims that his creation might last longer than the real thing since Styrofoam is nonbiodegradable.
10. Fridgehenge/Stonefridge. You can probably guess what Fridgehenge is. And if not, I'll let this masterpiece speak for itself:
Should you feel inclined to visit this appliance Mecca, it's located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Have you been to any of these? Or is there a Stonehenge-esque phenomenon near you? Let us know in the comments!