Sacrilege in Marlborough

Here’s something you don’t see every day: Stonehenge swaying in the wind. This is artist Jeremy Deller’s Sacrilege, and today it’s in Marlborough, home of the sarsens (who needs bluestones anyway?). As it was being set up, the weather was pretty dire, windy and wet. But around 10 it cleared, and now it’s windy and periodically sunny. Stonehenge will be in Marlborough until 6pm, and it’s free (just take your shoes off).

Sacrilege, in case you’ve missed it, is a full scale Stonehenge bouncy castle (all the upright sarsens), launched in April at the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts, and now on tour. There aren’t many venues, so we’re very pleased to have it here for the day (you can find the tour list by Googling, or visit my blog; all archaeologists, of course, will have read my interview with the artist in British Archaeology for May/Jun this year, when Sacrilege was still embargoed).

It’s quite wonderful. It’s huge fun – you don’t see a glum face anywhere near it, and of course kids love it. It’s a focus, if you want it, for discussions about heritage values and meanings. And it’s a an “engagement” project that really works. You get to bounce around in the parts that most people never see in the real thing, if they see it at all, and it’s so huge and realistic that the curious are often going to want to know more. I asked a group of swaying primary school children this morning how old they thought the real thing is? We narrowed it down to between a million years and 30 years. Now, that’s a great start.