More than two dozen Stonehenge replicas dot the American landscape, and Ray Ewing has photographed 18 of them — so far.

Crisscrossing the country by car, Mr. Ewing also has aimed his lens at pyramids, Parthenons and dozens of other inspirations from antiquity that have taken physical form in the United States.

An Island native and Gazette photojournalist who teaches at the College of the Desert in southern California’s Coachella Valley, Mr. Ewing is seven years into his mission to document the persistence of prehistoric and classical architecture in the New World.

His black and white photographs of these landmarks, in all their kitschy grandeur, are on display through Thursday at the Chilmark library.

Ray Ewing and Kate Lizotte at art reception held at the Chilmark Library. — Jeanna Shepard

Going far beyond the obvious — the Luxor and Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Greek-revival tombs in California — to destinations like The Center of the World, a.k.a. The Museum of History in Granite, not far from Yuma, Ariz., Mr. Ewing estimates he’s spent more than $100,000 on gas to discover and map a country’s worth of monuments, temples and ruins.

“In America, we have created our own versions of spiritual pilgrimage,” he writes in his new photographic guidebook, The Ancient World in America, Vol. I. “We want our grand tour, to see the wonders of the world, but we want them connected by interstates and with fast food restaurants in between. This beautiful escapism and its astounding willful ignorance is fascinating.”

Mr. Ewing’s guidebook, slim enough to fit into a pocket, includes a master map, travel and photography tips and three driving tours, complete with directions: Roman Holiday, following Greco-Roman replicas across the country; Pyramids in the Desert, which begins with the shining Bass Pro Shops pyramid in Memphis; and, of course, Stonehenges.

“It’s both a critical approach to architecture and a fun, tangible tool for people who are doing road trips,” said Mr. Ewing, who includes his favorite places to eat along each route. The last three pages of the guide are blank so travelers can add their own notes as they follow his tours.

As a writer, Mr. Ewing is a funny and perceptive traveling companion, sharing his insights with enthusiasm.

The Loveland Castle on Loveland, Ohio. — Ray Ewing

Las Vegas, “easily my favorite place in this world,” is America’s Rome, he writes. “It is the purest example of both U.S. and capitalist values, it is the destination of our holy pilgrimages (Chihuly at the Bellagio is our Sistine Chapel ceiling), and it is our secret national capital. . . You can see all the wonders of the world without even leaving the city, without even stepping off the moving walkway!”

Reno, Mr. Ewing continues, is 43 A.D. Londinium to Las Vegas’s Rome: “Smaller, weirder, close to the northern border of the empire and its scary barbarians (people from Oregon).”

Mr. Ewing began his cross-country drives while earning a master’s degree in fine art at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. One day, a road closure forced him to change his route through Virgina and by sheer chance, he discovered Foamhenge — a Styrofoam replica of Stonehenge — rising mysteriously above a hill.

“I was instantly blown away,” he writes. “The scene is dramatically completed by the 10-foot-tall statue of Merlin and the grumpy caretaker mowing the lawn in the background.”

An obsession was born. Mr. Ewing began searching out Stonehenge replicas and found them in state after state. “Just as when you buy a new car and start to see that model everywhere, they seemed to pop up all around me,” he writes.

Why do Americans love to create replicas of ancient standing stones, temples and pyramids? Mr. Ewing believes it has to do with the vastness of the continent.

“As with a lot of our roadside replicas, we simply want a series of repeating bookmarks to measure the emptiness of the landscape,” he writes. “Like stacked cairns on a path through the wilderness, these structures reassure us that others like us have indeed come this way before.”

On his website, Mr. Ewing has created an interactive map with even more tours and photographs. Fans of medieval architecture and Game of Thrones can find 15 castles and towers. The Biblical tour includes God’s Ark of Safety in Frostburg, Md. and Desert Christ Park in Yucca Valley, Calif.

See them all at