Authentically Inauthentic and Real Fakes: An Archaeology of Contemporary Stonehenge Replicas

Author(s): Rebecca Younger; Kenneth Brophy

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Stonehenge (UK) has inspired replicas on every inhabited continent, with nearly 30 in North America alone. Few could – nor are intended to - be mistaken for the real thing. We explore several contemporary Stonehenges, illustrating the range of forms, materials and motivations associated with such replicas. We focus on artworks - Deller’s inflatable Sacrilege, the now-dismantled Stonefridge/Fridgehenge, New Mexico, and 1990s Scottish protest sculpture Carhenge; memorials such as Maryhill Stonehenge, Washington; and tourist attractions Stonehenge Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Esperance Stonehenge (Australia). In a digital age, analogue Stonehenges continue to be built and we argue that the most appropriate way to interrogate this phenomenon is to treat replicas as archaeological sites in their own right. The disciplinary concerns of archaeologists leave us well-placed to analyse the corpus of replica Stonehenges and interpret the materiality, use and meaning of these monuments, and the value placed on the material over the virtual. More broadly, the examples discussed suggest that regarding replicas as archaeological sites has cultural value, viewing contemporary monuments as expressions of societal values. At a time when we are increasingly being challenged to differentiate between real and fake, archaeology has an opportunity to contribute to wider socio-political discourse.

Cite this Record

Authentically Inauthentic and Real Fakes: An Archaeology of Contemporary Stonehenge Replicas. Rebecca Younger, Kenneth Brophy. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450261)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25568