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Druid protest at Stonehenge display plans
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.”
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