Druid protest at Stonehenge display plans

King Arthur Pendragon

King Arthur Pendragon

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A SENIOR Druid is campaigning against plans by English Heritage to display human remains at the new Stonehenge visitor centre.

King Arthur Pendragon says that remains excavated from the world heritage site should be re-buried, and models and replicas put on public display instead.

The £27million visitor centre at Airman’s Corner is due to open later this year with a large exhibition space aiming to give visitors a better understanding of the history of Stonehenge and its significance.

Part of the display will focus on archaeological discoveries near the stone circle but plans to display human remains have angered Druids.

“It is with sadness and regret that I recently learned of English Heritage’s plans to put on display in their new visitor centre ancient skeletal and cremated human remains excavated from the environs of the world heritage site,” said Mr Pendragon.

“This is out of step with the feelings of many of the people and groups I represent, who would rather the ancient dead were reburied and left to rest in peace and, where appropriate, samples kept for research and copies put on display.

“Also it is surely against the driving cultural principles of a UNESCO world heritage site.”

Mr Pendragon, who staged a year-long sit in protest at Stonehenge over the issues of roads and access to the stones in 2008, says he will consider taking similar action again.

“English Heritage has missed an opportunity to be world leaders in this field but instead have opted to display the ancestral remains in such a macabre manner,” he said.

“We shall not take this development lightly and will oppose any such intention by English Heritage at Stonehenge.

“I cannot rule out non-violent direct action against the proposals.”

A spokesman for English Heritage said: “The remains of three human burials found in the landscape will be displayed with ample explanation along with archaeological objects, providing visitors with a direct connection to the people who lived and worked there.

“We believe they have a rightful place in the exhibition and their presentation, treatment and storage will follow strict guidelines set out by the UK Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Visitors will also be made aware of the display before they enter the exhibition.

"Visitor research also shows that the vast majority of museum visitors are comfortable with, and often expect to see, human remains as part of displays.”

Comments (13)

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10:18am Wed 8 May 13

Bettybadger says...

the druid is right the remains should be re buried out of respect for our ancestors. there is nothing wrong with replacing replicas and people will still connect with the people who once lived there
the druid is right the remains should be re buried out of respect for our ancestors. there is nothing wrong with replacing replicas and people will still connect with the people who once lived there Bettybadger
  • Score: 0

4:35pm Wed 8 May 13

Neoman says...

They are my ancestors too and I have no objections to remains being displayed. It helps visitors to understand the context of the stones as a burial area. At least the remains will be closer to Stonehenge than they are now!
They are my ancestors too and I have no objections to remains being displayed. It helps visitors to understand the context of the stones as a burial area. At least the remains will be closer to Stonehenge than they are now! Neoman
  • Score: 0

5:47pm Wed 8 May 13

beastiethebeast says...

...English Heritage are also responsible for the quarrying at Hamdon Hill hill fort. Please support this campaign....https://
www.facebook.com/pag
es/Protect-Hamdon-Hi
ll/452242868177245
...English Heritage are also responsible for the quarrying at Hamdon Hill hill fort. Please support this campaign....https:// www.facebook.com/pag es/Protect-Hamdon-Hi ll/452242868177245 beastiethebeast
  • Score: 0

10:08pm Wed 8 May 13

Battlechieftain says...

English Heritage are claiming that it is in line with 'best practice' of Museums throughout the world. Stonehenge however is NOT a museum. It is a World Heritage site, a living, working Temple,a Solar Clock, a monument to the Dead. It is many things, but a Museum it is NOT, Blessings from Stonehenge /|\
English Heritage are claiming that it is in line with 'best practice' of Museums throughout the world. Stonehenge however is NOT a museum. It is a World Heritage site, a living, working Temple,a Solar Clock, a monument to the Dead. It is many things, but a Museum it is NOT, Blessings from Stonehenge /|\ Battlechieftain
  • Score: 0

8:03am Thu 9 May 13

willers wallers says...

Remains of people who are dead should be given appropriate respect. ~How would you feel if someone dug up your grannies body and put her bones in a display case and charged people to come and look ? If people consent to having thier remains on display after they have passed or donate to science that is acceptable morally. These deceased folk have had no say in the fact that their remains are being profitted off .
Remains of people who are dead should be given appropriate respect. ~How would you feel if someone dug up your grannies body and put her bones in a display case and charged people to come and look ? If people consent to having thier remains on display after they have passed or donate to science that is acceptable morally. These deceased folk have had no say in the fact that their remains are being profitted off . willers wallers
  • Score: 0

5:58pm Thu 9 May 13

ChristopherBlackwell says...

Gee if they are so gun ho to have a body to exhibit, I will volunteer mine as I expect I won't need it in a few years. Why display someone who had no say so in the matter?

Hell I even visited Stonehenge back in 1968. Now, I know beyond that I have no historical ties to the area, but a body is a body and at least you will at least have my permission.

I don't know how you could say that about any of the bodies found there. You would not want them haunting the site would you?
Gee if they are so gun ho to have a body to exhibit, I will volunteer mine as I expect I won't need it in a few years. Why display someone who had no say so in the matter? Hell I even visited Stonehenge back in 1968. Now, I know beyond that I have no historical ties to the area, but a body is a body and at least you will at least have my permission. I don't know how you could say that about any of the bodies found there. You would not want them haunting the site would you? ChristopherBlackwell
  • Score: 0

11:57am Fri 10 May 13

Shadowmoon says...

These are our Ancestors, they were "Laid to Rest", and should be returned to their resting place. I have no problem with displays of other items found in the ground, but to display someone's remains, is,in my mind, just not on. It would be like digging up your Father or Mother in a few years time & shoving them in a glass box for all to stare at....disrespectful and totally wrong!
These are our Ancestors, they were "Laid to Rest", and should be returned to their resting place. I have no problem with displays of other items found in the ground, but to display someone's remains, is,in my mind, just not on. It would be like digging up your Father or Mother in a few years time & shoving them in a glass box for all to stare at....disrespectful and totally wrong! Shadowmoon
  • Score: 0

4:57pm Fri 10 May 13

Dr S Brule says...

yeah but its not your mother and father, its skeletons hundreds and hundreds of years old. Not the same at all.

Besides, given the mongrel nature of our isles "ancestor" seems a bit tenuous.
yeah but its not your mother and father, its skeletons hundreds and hundreds of years old. Not the same at all. Besides, given the mongrel nature of our isles "ancestor" seems a bit tenuous. Dr S Brule
  • Score: 0

8:26am Sat 11 May 13

Battlechieftain says...

RESPECT

My Father and I had a good relationship while he was alive, and we talked of most things, including death.

I would joke about his slight stature (5’2” wet through) as he himself referred to his size. I would say that upon his demise that I would have him stuffed and stand him in the corner of the hallway as a hat stand, to which he quite understandably took offence. He, referring to my o
riginals (dirty old Levi’s) would say that he, “would not be seen dead in them” to which I would reply; “Don’t bet on it, who do you think is going to bury you?” He was not amused.

Needless to say, I didn’t have him stuffed, nor was he buried wearing my jeans. He was (after, twenty seven years service, man and boy) buried in Aldershot Military Cemetery and after the ceremony a corporal of the parachute regiment, wearing his (No 2’s) dress uniform, played last post over the graveside.

My Mother whose cremated remains were later interred along side him commented at the time, on how proud she believed he would have been at his ‘send off’ as did the rest of the family. It was generally agreed, by all present that ‘I had done him proud’, as had the British Army.

How do you think he, she or I would feel if in some time in the distant future his skeletal remains were to be found behind glass and ogled at by the general public in some future museum with a plaque that read something along the lines of ‘Aldershot Rifleman’ not unlike that which reads ‘Amesbury Archer’. Or her cremated remains were to be placed in a cardboard box catalogued and numbered and allowed to gather dust in some storage unit, sub-contracted out by some future museum facility? Likened to the plans for those taken from Aubrey hole seven at Stonehenge.

I knew him, and I knew her and I surely know myself. And do you not also know the answer, the answer, as any one reading this, who still has a heart, may surmise as to what his, her or my reaction might be?

So why then, do we allow the desecration of our Ancient Ancestors Graves? No, let those we lay to Rest-Stay to Rest.

Return ‘our’ Ancestors to what should have been their final resting place. King Arthur Pendragon /|\
RESPECT My Father and I had a good relationship while he was alive, and we talked of most things, including death. I would joke about his slight stature (5’2” wet through) as he himself referred to his size. I would say that upon his demise that I would have him stuffed and stand him in the corner of the hallway as a hat stand, to which he quite understandably took offence. He, referring to my o riginals (dirty old Levi’s) would say that he, “would not be seen dead in them” to which I would reply; “Don’t bet on it, who do you think is going to bury you?” He was not amused. Needless to say, I didn’t have him stuffed, nor was he buried wearing my jeans. He was (after, twenty seven years service, man and boy) buried in Aldershot Military Cemetery and after the ceremony a corporal of the parachute regiment, wearing his (No 2’s) dress uniform, played last post over the graveside. My Mother whose cremated remains were later interred along side him commented at the time, on how proud she believed he would have been at his ‘send off’ as did the rest of the family. It was generally agreed, by all present that ‘I had done him proud’, as had the British Army. How do you think he, she or I would feel if in some time in the distant future his skeletal remains were to be found behind glass and ogled at by the general public in some future museum with a plaque that read something along the lines of ‘Aldershot Rifleman’ not unlike that which reads ‘Amesbury Archer’. Or her cremated remains were to be placed in a cardboard box catalogued and numbered and allowed to gather dust in some storage unit, sub-contracted out by some future museum facility? Likened to the plans for those taken from Aubrey hole seven at Stonehenge. I knew him, and I knew her and I surely know myself. And do you not also know the answer, the answer, as any one reading this, who still has a heart, may surmise as to what his, her or my reaction might be? So why then, do we allow the desecration of our Ancient Ancestors Graves? No, let those we lay to Rest-Stay to Rest. Return ‘our’ Ancestors to what should have been their final resting place. King Arthur Pendragon /|\ Battlechieftain
  • Score: 0

10:24am Wed 15 May 13

AuraTodd says...

Bit macabre displaying human remains in a window, bones should be given respect and laid to rest.

Bit like Tombstone where they displayed the bodies of the Clanton brothers in the funeral window for people to gawp at!
Bit macabre displaying human remains in a window, bones should be given respect and laid to rest. Bit like Tombstone where they displayed the bodies of the Clanton brothers in the funeral window for people to gawp at! AuraTodd
  • Score: 0

3:40pm Thu 16 May 13

MacRurie says...

I'm a Celtic scholar, and an anthropologist/ethno
grapher in America. Displaying real bodies is not preferred or best-practice in museums all around the world, at least not in the U.S. Legislation past several decades ago changed that, and forced museums to be more sensitive to human values of respect for the dead. So, I agree with Arthur, in this much as a scientist and a respectful human being. The caretakers of the bodies should, after thorough study, take small samples to be preserved for future scientific study, but then return the bodies to the general area where they were found and re-intern them respectfully. Then quality displays of the original burials and bodies should be created for a museum attached to Stonehenge.

But I do not know if there is a museum attached to Stonehenge. There should be as a world heritage site, and any such facility should be as unobtrusive to the Salisbury Plain as possible. I would vote for a location a good walk from the henge, and also for a facility that is either partially underground (sod roofed at near ground level) or screened by trees. Nothing should be built that visually impairs the natural setting of the ancient monuments. My two cents on it.
I'm a Celtic scholar, and an anthropologist/ethno grapher in America. Displaying real bodies is not preferred or best-practice in museums all around the world, at least not in the U.S. Legislation past several decades ago changed that, and forced museums to be more sensitive to human values of respect for the dead. So, I agree with Arthur, in this much as a scientist and a respectful human being. The caretakers of the bodies should, after thorough study, take small samples to be preserved for future scientific study, but then return the bodies to the general area where they were found and re-intern them respectfully. Then quality displays of the original burials and bodies should be created for a museum attached to Stonehenge. But I do not know if there is a museum attached to Stonehenge. There should be as a world heritage site, and any such facility should be as unobtrusive to the Salisbury Plain as possible. I would vote for a location a good walk from the henge, and also for a facility that is either partially underground (sod roofed at near ground level) or screened by trees. Nothing should be built that visually impairs the natural setting of the ancient monuments. My two cents on it. MacRurie
  • Score: 0

3:48pm Thu 16 May 13

MacRurie says...

And in an added response to comments left here, remember that the purpose of displaying representations of the graves at Stonehenge is to connect us to our ancient dead. Today there is no question that many people in Britain, and around the world, literally do still carry the DNA of those ancient dead. The point is to realize that they are someone's ancestors, possibly your own. This is just as much an issue about who we are, as it is about who they were.
And in an added response to comments left here, remember that the purpose of displaying representations of the graves at Stonehenge is to connect us to our ancient dead. Today there is no question that many people in Britain, and around the world, literally do still carry the DNA of those ancient dead. The point is to realize that they are someone's ancestors, possibly your own. This is just as much an issue about who we are, as it is about who they were. MacRurie
  • Score: 0

9:18am Sat 18 May 13

alysraven says...

Throughout man's time on Earth, funerary practices have been carried out, and the expectation would have been was those that were buried by family or friends would remain at peace. In fact, most cultures went to great lengths to make sure that was so.
English Heritage could have been trailblazers and chosen to display models at their new visitor centre. Not every prospective visitor will feel comfortable in viewing real human remains, so why should they be excluded from the entire "Stonehenge Experience" on offer?
Throughout man's time on Earth, funerary practices have been carried out, and the expectation would have been was those that were buried by family or friends would remain at peace. In fact, most cultures went to great lengths to make sure that was so. English Heritage could have been trailblazers and chosen to display models at their new visitor centre. Not every prospective visitor will feel comfortable in viewing real human remains, so why should they be excluded from the entire "Stonehenge Experience" on offer? alysraven
  • Score: 0

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