WILTSHIRE, England – Arguably the UK’s most famous monument, Stonehenge has undergone a roller coaster century since it passed into public ownership in 1918. With a controversial new visitor centre and an even more controversial plan for the surrounding landscape, the henge is rarely out of South Western news at the moment. Let’s take an overview of the project to date. In 1915, a barrister named Cecil Chubb attended an auction in Salisbury, allegedly planning to bid for a pair of curtains. He came out of the auction with Stonehenge, having paid £6,600 for it (around £474K in sterling today).
Salisbury, UK. Stonehenge has been back in the news recently with the arrest of three pagan women who are said to have breached access restrictions to the sacred site. Maryam Halcrow and Angela Grace, identifying as witches, and Lisa Mead, identifying as a Druid, were found guilty of entering the site without reasonable excuse. All have received 6-month conditional discharges. Grace and Halcrow are from Swindon; Mead is from Aberdeenshire.
An archaeological dig at the Tintagel heritage site in Cornwall, South West England, has uncovered a complex of well-constructed buildings dating to the 5th or 6th century that could have been a royal palace – fuelling age-old speculation that the area was the seat of King Arthur. In Britain’s first significant find from the Dark Ages, the team unearthed one structure with walls a metre-thick and artefacts that indicate a high and widespread level of trade. Analysis of artefacts shows the inhabitants enjoyed olive oil from the Greek Aegean and wine from Western Turkey. They ate off of plates and bowls that came from what is now Tunisia in North Africa. These details suggest that the inhabitants were of high status. Whoever lived there is thought to have been the ruler of the Dunmonnia tribe, which occupied the entire South West region of England at the time, including Cornwall.
From July 25th through August 3rd the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is meeting in Brazil to consider additions to the list of World Heritage sites. In countries with limited resources or political will, having a site put on the World Heritage list can mean the difference between preservation and destruction (it can also mean welcome tourist dollars). Many of the sites that modern Pagans make pilgrimage to, or think of as their spiritual and religious heritage, the Acropolis, Delphi, Stonehenge, Avebury, and Bath, are all Heritage sites. This year Ireland’s government is nominating the Hill of Tara, along with several other sites, for consideration. In anticipation of this, they’ve debuted a new website featuring the already-listed and “tentative” Heritage sites.