Monthly Archives: August 2011
Following Arthurs high court request for a Judicial Review over the ancestors, being declined, Mike Pitts (editor of Archaeology Magazine, advisor to EH and member of the Riverside Project) has made comment on his Blog.
Please note that he claims that under new guidelines he may be able to keep the Stonehenge Ancestors ‘indefinitely’.
Is this evidence of more backroom dealings without any public consultation to appease the archaeological lobby?
It might surprise you to learn that many Druids, and I include myself in this, share your disgust at people climbing the stones and leaving the site a mess after solstice. I could add that for a minority, alcohol or drug abuse and bad behaviour add to a sense of violation of the sacred space. The Druids have to work within boundaries set for us by English Heritage and have no special means by which to police the behaviour of visitors to Solstice who pretty much can trample all over us also. We who go for genuine spiritual reasons do our best to keep some dignity and to serve others in such capacity as we are able.
If we had no other reason at all to challenge the validity public benefit and morality of these digs, the very fact that tax payers money has been spent on them gives us that right. Solstice celebrations are paid from a very small fraction of the revenue generated by Stonehenge each year, and so does not cost the tax payer directly.
I believe that you have in common with Arthur a strong desire to be associated with Stonehenge, you wish to speak as a representative of the archaeological cause and he speaks for his own interpretation of the Druid cause. You are both media aware and articulate people, but where the Druids stand at a distinct disadvantage in this debate is that the archaeological world has people in positions of considerable influence placed within the public bodies who should be regulating your activities and independently finding the point of reasonable balance between points of view.
Archaeology has the resources of commercial archaeology companies, funded organisations and Royal Societies with political influence. You have money, lawyers, full time helpers and access directly to advise the authorities and guide policy. The advantage is yours. It is so to such an extent that the fervor with which you have campaigned to mitigate the very slight risk that just this once you should have to compromise with those outside of this elite club in my opinion almost amounts to bullying.
You say that we have been consulted. We were not informed that the policy of interpretation of the Burial Act 1857 is now to give archaeologists unlimited access to our ancestors. That you now suggest you might be able to keep these Stonehenge ancestors from reburial indefinitely fully vindicates Arthur and myself for disbelieving EH three years ago when they told us not to worry, we would get our ancestors returned last year, or Mike Parker Pearson when he informed us that his research would complete on time, or the archaeological community who would like to be seen to be honourable.
In your book Hengeworld you tell the story of Archaeology at Stonehenge and of the reckless damage, loss of information, loss of finds, failure to document that 100 years of trusting the ‘experts’ has wrought on this precious place. It has a great value in illuminating our prehistoric capabilities only matched by its continuing worth as a sacred place of the ancestors and those today who revere them. A balance should be found between these two, and we have sought throughout to find compromise only to discover that leading lights like yourself have presented this as being the end of your livelihoods.
Arthur likes to give the impression that he is the one leading opposition to this violation against truth, but there are others not so encumbered by the need to grandstand who if it takes a further hundred years will undo this wrong. Archaeologists have missed a great opportunity in your haste to mock the Druids and escape legal constraints. The real reason that so much harm has been done to Stonehenge by archaeology has been that projects are not being adequately funded and once granted licence have not been properly regulated.
We would support the riverside project in this research being completed quickly and recorded properly, two years of study would have been more than adequate had they been funded only to provide one part time student to study these remains. We want them reburied, in sealed containers that would preserve them for future research if justified but also achieve their return to the Earth at Stonehenge.
We have never suggested that no research should take place.
If you dare to question the common assumption that Druids have a start date 1600 years after Stonehenge was constructed, and therefore having no connection with it, then you might discover that it is not at all as well supported by the actual evidence as it is convenient as an argument to isolate people with Druidical beliefs of today from being granted any legitimacy which they might use to challenge the exploitation of Stonehenge. The evidence contrary to this ‘disconnection theory’ comes from the world of science and points now to Druids having been established long before they were written about by classical observers and who’s beliefs were founded upon a blend of Celtic and Pre Celtic perspectives.
A judicial review would have benefitted all sides in this debate, and would have been very much in the public interest.
It would have allowed the reburial / spiritual community an opportunity to present the reasons why a balance between the needs of science and the needs of the spiritual community could be made to work without harm to ethers position, and might even lead towards better understanding and cooperation. We have throughout our campaign been generous in our general praise of Mike Parker Pearson for the quality of his work and our regard for the potential benefits of his archaeology. We would have contrasted this with the harm done by under funding and the lack of central recording of evidence available to the public in who’s interests it should serve.
You would have also had the opportunity to speak about the benefits of archaeological work, of the need for proper funding, and to have shown sensitivity to the legitimate spiritual concerns held by so many people of so many faiths regarding this issue. Instead you seem to be gloating over your ability to do as you wish answering to no-one. You are showing the world that the attitude of British Archaeology today has not advanced so very far from that of the treasure hunters of bygone times who travelled the world taking whatever they wished.
How will history and more enlightened generations look at you?
This is an email to let you know that a decision has now been reached in this matter.
Careful thought has been given to the arguments put forward by all parties. While Druid representatives have set out clearly the reasons why they believe the remains should be re-buried without delay, the significance of the remains from what is a World Heritage Site was also taken into account.
Permission for the original excavation was only granted after very careful consideration, and the interests of stakeholders including Druids and Pagans were considered. While it is unfortunate that the time needed to undertake the research work was underestimated, it is not considered right to curtail the work that has been carried out so far.
The decision has therefore been made to grant an extension to the re-burial condition for five years, in accordance with the application made on behalf of the Stonehenge Riverside Project.
Instructions for the licence to be amended have therefore been given. However, it is proposed that once the work has been completed the religious views of the Pagans and Druids will be respected and the remains reinterred.”
It is bad news that our ancestors remains will be withheld until 2015, but a definite step forwards that the MoJ propose that we will have these remains reinterred.
You can read the 37 page argument that we presented to the MoJ that led to this response below.
What could be done to challenge the length of the extension granted?
To have the ancient human remains returned to Stonehenge earlier than 2015 recommended by the Ministry of Justice we would need a Judicial review.
Update 23rd August 2011.
Mr Pendragon, or ‘Arthur Rex’ as he allegedly signed his name in court, bungled the filling in of the Judicial review application form by not giving adequate reason for such a review being necessary. All was not lost at this point, there was still an opportunity to speak before the judge in person to make a case about why a judicial review is justified.
To be fair to Mr Pendragon the odds were stacked against him from the outset, and he gave it a go when many others couldn’t be bothered or didn’t have the bottle. All credit to him for that much. However there are perhaps lessons to be learned from this failed appeal and the way in which the pro reburial position was represented.
We mustn’t continue to lose important tests of morality and faith in the courts. These losses eat away at the justice in our land, and to do less than our best is to fail those who would see justice done.
We will continue to work towards the reburial of these ancestors at Stonehenge on or before 2015. This is a commitment that we have already achieved from the MoJ through our own efforts and we will be watchfull for any move to break from this pledge.
We will be working independently from Mr Pendragon in this regard.
A riot of confusion
Fires burned in London and other Cities in England for four days as youths rioted, taking the opportunity as they did so to loot and terrorise. The Police were caught unprepared and citizens found themselves undefended by the law enforcers who seemed either reluctant or unable to restore order and public safety. After these events, our political leaders flounder around trying to explain the causes of this situation to a very angry and disillusioned British Public.
People have thankfully not pointed the finger at race as the cause, in fact, it was groups that have a strong sense of community like the Sikhs standing side by side ready to defend their neighbours that stands out strongly as a model example of good citizenship. People lost their lives defending their families and businesses, including three young men from the Muslim community. Once again we saw greatness shine when the grieving father of one of these boys insisted that people calm down and restore peace.
England is blessed with a clement climate, strong agriculture, and a culture that prides itself on tolerance and democracy. We provide a free education, social security and medical care to all regardless of ethnicity, gender or social standing. We have equal opportunity laws in the work place, and ensure that everyone has at least an acceptable minimum wage and a safe working environment. Given all of this people from around the world watched and listened to the news this week and asked ‘What possible cause would people in Britain have to riot?’.
Some commentators, politicians and ‘experts’ have suggested that this is down to youth gang culture. Others have pointed out that there is a wealth divide between those that are on the basic state support and jobless and those who have great wealth. It has been suggested that it is because our politicians do not listen to the young people.
An interesting counter argument has come from many of the people who were victims of the situation and from the rioters themselves. The former blaming years of removing the rights of parents and schools to discipline unruly young people, and the courts for handing out very light punishments to convicted offenders. Asked why he was rioting, one man replied ‘because I can’.
Many of those rioting had jobs, and had travelled far to join in with the looting.
This has greatly shocked the law abiding people of this land, people of every race and religion, who are all outraged by the lack of morality displayed by these young people. We ask:
What has gone wrong?
Could we have prevented this?
How can we ensure that it does not happen again?
I believe that whatever the initial causes of the first riot in London, that it presented itself as an opportunity to defy authority and to steel. People genuinely believe that they will achieve happiness through material gain and through the domination of others. This is a condition that to a greater or lesser degree effects everyone in the land. Our communities and traditions have been systematically and deliberately disassembled in a vast social experiment.
We are taught to think of ourselves as individuals. We compete for the wealth that will bring us a bigger home or even a second and third home. We think that money will buy us things and that it is things that will make us happy. The wealthy are as caught up in this myth as are the poor, a through this striving to achieve happiness through money we have let the real thing slip away from us all.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, stated the situation correctly when he said ‘Britain is sick’.
Yes sir, it is.
It has been sick ever since we turned our back on our parents and on our families, putting the individual first. Since we ceased to belong to villages, towns, counties and regions as we had to mobilise to find work. Since we abandoned the influence of Grove, Church, synagogue and Mosque to the new gods of greed and envy which are the biggest drivers of our consumer economy.
The consequence has been misery, loss of hope, broken marriages, feral children, laziness and criminality. We are never happy even when we have every reason to be so.
The Bolivian Aymara people are trying to teach the world from their ancient wisdom, to strive to ‘live well’ not to ‘live better’. Living better requires money and can never be achieved. To live better we must always seek more and so never be satisfied. To live well does not require an excess of money.
Consider what someone might need in order to live better: everyone else must have less. This creates huge inequalities and as everyone strives to be better than the next, we destroy our community and the planet also.
Consider what someone might need to live well: to belong to something bigger than oneself, to have a way of serving that greater cause, to be loved and to love. Also to have food, water, shelter and the freedom to be oneself without fear.
All of the great religions of the world today, and the most ancient of the wise traditions belonging to our ancestors teach that seeking to outdo each other would become our downfall.
We have as a society become the victims of a machine that has leapt beyond the control of morality and common sense, as everything we do is now driven by a search for profit. You have profit when you take out more than you put in. This simple equation when applied by the worlds biggest organisations pays for our media to bombard us with images that lie.
The lie is that if you buy this product, you will be better, you will be happier, you will be more.
To believe that extreme greed can function as a driver for mankind is delusional. The evidence that this is foolhardy is in plain sight. Our richest nations are beset with social and economic problems, the earth is over populated with people, food, water, space and fuel are running out, and the climate and ecosystems are on the verge of collapse and we are still unhappy!
The ancestors and wise people, the prophets and seers of every people throughout human existence have spoken and told us how to live if we are to be fulfilled and happy.
It can be summed up as
‘Love and be loved’, ‘Give as generously as you receive’, ‘Respect yourself and equally, all others’, ‘Be truthful and honourable’, ‘Do not take what rightfully belongs to others’, ‘Strive to live in harmony with all beings and in balance with the earth’.
I wonder how many of the rioters are now looking at their stolen goods with a hollow feeling inside. Deep down they know that happiness still evades them and the ‘joy’ of possession is tainted by the method of acquisition. It will live on in their nightmares once the euphoria of the power trip fades from memory. As they beat up the helpless and burned down the businesses of their neighbours, they became less than they were before.
Although the rioters caused fear and provided a very visual spectacle of society breaking down, the damage caused by their greed and lack of responsibility pails into insignificance beside the damage done to us all by investment bankers lending money that they knew could not be repaid in order to get their personal huge bonuses, or the damage caused by politicians sending our armies into needless wars, or the damage to our environment by a policy of growth that cannot be sustained. The people in suits somehow get away without a prison sentence and condemnation yet are just as guilty of letting selfish greed destroy the best assets we once had to share.
So trillions are wiped off of of world markets and great nations go bankrupt because a collection of yuppies wanted more…
If we are to solve these issues in a balanced way then we have to recognise the true evil in all this is a selfish lust for money and possessions no matter that others pay the cost. We need to return to spiritual values, whether Aymara, Druid, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish or what ever and stop this madness that puts ‘having more’ above being happy.