Tensions at the Stone Circles

The Western Daily Press reports on the tensions and difficulties of balancing the needs and desires of various groups at the world-famous Avebury henge and stone circle. While not as instantly famous as Stonehenge some twenty miles away, the site has become a popular alternative gathering point with Pagans, travelers, and tourists for solstice and equinox observances. The National Trust, which owns much of the village, has found itself caught in the middle of several different interest groups: English Heritage wants to preserve the stones, the council wants to keep roads open, the police want to stop anti-social behaviour, the pagans want to uphold their right to their religious observances and residents want the three-day ‘invasion’ kept to a minimum. For now local residents have decided to continue allowing limited camping near the site, not so much for selfless reasons, but because they are genuinely afraid of “significant problems” if they outright ban camping at the site. Many still recall with dread observances from 2005 and 2006 when disorder and chaos ruled the day and seek to avoid a repeat if they can.

British Secularists Slam Druid Reburial Demands

The National Secular Society has released a response to the The National Trust and English Heritage holding a public consultation on the proposed reburial of a neolithic skeleton found at Avebury that has been dubbed “Charlie”. An issue raised by The Council of British Druid Orders (and a CoBDO splinter group) on the grounds that these remains represent their spiritual and genetic ancestors, and that it is ‘disrespectful’ to treat them differently from exhumed Christian remains. Unsurprisingly, the NSS takes a dim view of these demands, and the deference shown to them by The National Trust. The NSS believes that the National Trust and English Heritage have abdicated their clear responsibility to the nation to turn down the requests from the Council of British Druid Orders (CoBDO), an unelected and unaccountable group, for the reburial of ancient human remains at the Alexander Keiller Museum in Avebury. It is important that the demands of one small group are not allowed to overwhelm those of the general public and interested groups, including those of scientists seeking to understand and to spread understanding of the lives of our ancestors in prehistory.