We’ve been doing essential research this weekend on henges. Sacrilege, the Cultural Olympiad’s life-size bouncy Stonehenge replica, came to Frenchwood Rec in Preston on Sunday as part of the Preston Guild. As a Neolithic specialist I felt honour bound to give it a go.
Note for non-Prestonians, the Preston Guild is week and a half long civic and public party thrown every 20 years since medieval times to re-affirm the city’s charter borough status. Quite why and how this works I’m not exactly clear (‘its not really my period’ as archaeologists always say when asked awkward questions about the past). Floats and processions feature a lot: also Wallace and Gromit.
Stonehenge was fab. It was free of course, which always appeals to the Yorkshire father in me. And, although we had to queue for about half an hour for our go this was in plain site of the henge itself and what you could see showed you it was going to be worth every minute of the wait. An outer ring of fibreglass stones doubled as Aubrey Holes and Avenue for crowd control purposes. Once we were through these we took our shoes off and, along with about eighty other people, went absolutely berserk for fifteen minutes: bouncing off the trilithons and racing around like four year olds on the bouncy castle at a wedding. Given that it is all squishy PVC it is surprisingly convincing. I went in intending to check whether the level of detail included the carvings of axes on some of the uprights but somehow, once I was bouncing, I forgot to look.
Sunday was Sacriledge’s last outing of the year. I’ve no idea what is planned for it next but I feel it would make a great semi-permanent fixture in the actual Stonehenge Car Park. Imagine if your admission money included not only an awestruck shuffle around the roped off real thing but then 15 minutes zinging about on Sacriledge.