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Rescue, the British Archaeological Trust, a body that is neither lapdog nor mouthpiece, has written to all the political parties with some questions that a lapdog or mouthpiece wouldn’t embarrass them with. Good. This one about Stonehenge will elicit some tricky wording no doubt (maybe even some classics of the politicians’ art if we’re lucky):

“Does your party support the short bored tunnel as proposed by the present Government which, if implemented, would contravene Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention? Do you have any objection to investigating the full range of options, including the long bored tunnel as proposed by the Stonehenge Alliance and supported by RESCUE and other heritage organisations?”


Oh dear, so what’s a poor political spokesperson to do?

Say they DO support the short tunnel as it won’t contravene the World Heritage Convention?
No, can’t do that because it does!

Say they DON’T object to investigating other options?
No, can’t do that as two of the parties have already ruled the other options out!

Say they DO object to investigating other options
..and thus go down in history as part of a here-today and gone-tomorrow vote-chasing gang who signed off on damaging a World Heritage Site for electoral advantage?

Well yes, that’ll be it, though not in such brutally honest terms. In fact we can anticipate some sidesteppy or reassuring responses, something like …. “We support the short tunnel providing any adverse impacts can be minimised”. Any bets? That has to be how it’ll be as it involves supporting the short tunnel in a “safe” way and thus gaining loads of votes with no risk of being accused of supporting destruction and no absolute proof that talk of minimising the harm is nonsense. Which it certainly is,  for the landscape there is so full of archaeology that the damage caused by gouging a dual carriageway-sized trench through it to create access to the tunnel will be so massive that it will still be massive after it has been minimised! If you hear anyone saying otherwise (and you probably won’t, only subtly implying it) they’ll be politicians. Or lapdogs. Or mouthpieces.

Mike Pitts blog: Bluehenge is an oval not a circle…

BluehengeHere’s an interesting thing that raises all sorts of questions about the Stonehenge Riverside Project’s discovery of a stone circle by the river Avon in 2009. Henry Rothwell told me about his attempt to put digital megaliths in excavated empty pits of the ring – and thereby he and Adam Stanford realised they seem to be on an oval, not a circle. Which, as he says, echoes the layout of the bluestone oval at Stonehenge – or, perhaps more significant… Read More

via Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper

stonehenge“It is our aim to conduct the traditional rites, such that we all may play a part without conflict or competition as is our way, and as best serves the public and respects the spirit of the place.”

One of the many things to come to the fore in this modern age is the rise of Paganism. It follows many paths and has many adherents, and is almost impossible to classify as a religion, or that it conforms to certain rituals.

But it exists filling in that space between Christian faith and the creeping secularism that is part of our British culture, and though I am not laying aside all the other religions that exist in our multi-layered society, it is Paganism that I would like to focus the attention on.

For it is this ‘way of thought’ that has over the last few years defined a relationship with our old megalithic stones. In particular, the great stone circles, Stonehenge and Avebury. The history that has accrued round these famous monuments has brought a lot of discussion out into the open, issues such as reburial, access to the stones, offerings at sites, and ceremonies at certain times of the year. English Heritage has met this challenge and now consults with the Druidical sect that has official sanctioning at Stonehenge for some of its Celtic ceremonies.

The internet has many leads to the different viewpoints in the Pagan world, far too numerous to go into discussion about. But one organisation strikes a very sensible note –

Frank Somer’s website offers a middle path of acceptance, a tolerance that is inspiring for those of us who do not choose a path of a particular religious bent, his words…

“Stonehenge in its spiritual and inspirational context belongs to the people of the world, with very special significance to those who follow the Celtic Pagan traditions and systems of faith, and among those, naturally, the Druids.”

It is a reasonable approach, the argument that all religious belief does,  is bring strife in on its tail is true but unavoidable,  faith belongs to the individual, society has to be tolerant.


Article by Moss


June 2023

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