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Druid bid to have remains re-buried fails
A DRUID leader has lost his High Court bidto force the re-interment of ancient bones dug up by archaeologists at Stonehenge.
King Arthur Pendragon, the Titular Head and Chosen Chief of the Loyal Arthurian Warband Druid Order, wants the cremated remains of more than 40 bodies, thought to be at least 5,000 years old, removed from a burial site at the ancient stone circle five years ago, put back in the ground.
Mr Pendragon, of St Lawrence Close, Stratford-sub-Castle, says it is an offence to the Pagan religion for the Government to have permitted the remains of those Druids call The Guardians to have been dug up for display.
He claims the bones were the remains of members of the "royal line" or "priest caste" who could have been the "founding fathers of this great nation."
In 2011, King Arthur lost a previous High Court bid to have bones, unearthed in 2008, reburied. On Wednesday, Mr Justice Ouseley at London's High Court heard his application for a judicial review of the decision.
Mr Pendragon complained of "duplicity" by government officials, who he says promised the bones would be returned to the soil. He showed the court an email from a government official promising that, "the religious views of Pagans and Druids will be respected and the remains re-interred."
He told the judge: "The general public and groups I represent feel that, because of the ramifications of this duplicity, judicial review is wholly appropriate and desirable."
English Heritage said in their reply that "not all Pagans and Druids want the bones re-interred" and the Government's decision was the correct.
After a brief hearing, Mr Justice Ousely blocked the Druid case at the first hurdle, refusing Mr Pendragon permission to mount a full judicial review challenge.
However, Mr Pendragon said he could "not rule out non-violent direct action against the proposals”, should his fight in the courts fail.
In a statement after the hearing, an English Heritage spokesman said that Mr Pendragon's case concerned human remains excavated by Professor Mike Parker Pearson from one of the Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge in 2008, which are not due to be displayed at the new visitor centre when it opens this December.
Three other sets of ancient remains are due to go on public display at the visitor centre, which is also opposed by Mr Pendragon and his followers.
The spokesman said: "We believe the three sets of human remains have a rightful place in the exhibition. Real objects and primary evidence are what museums and archaeological exhibitions are about, and there is no substitute for people getting close to history.”
"The presentation, treatment and storage of the human remains will follow strict guidelines set out by the UK government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport.”
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