Stonehenge – Darvill and Wainwright Dig – 2008

Location: Stonehenge
Era: Stone Age
Status: Completed Project
Tradition: Druid
Objective: Other Heritage Action


Many of you will have heard about a dig that took place earlier in 2008. The dig, being the first allowed for decades at this sacred circle hoped to establish when the first bluestone circle was constructed, and what happened to it.

How did Pagans get involved?

Dave Batchelor of English Heritage informed the Round Table (Stonehenge Liaison Community) that several applications for digs in the Stonehenge area had been received and some are expected to get the green light. He asked for volunteers to communicate with, from the group, and two of us stepped forward.

The archaeologists, Professors Darvill and Wainwright, came early to Stonehenge to meet the Pagan team. There were only five present that first day, and it was very clear that the archaeological team were delighted that we had come. The other thing that was immediately obvious to us was that their passion for the place was equal to our own.

You can watch a clip of our short rite at
We called the attention of the ancestors, told them plainly what was about to happen and asked for their consent for we need their wisdom in our time, and gave a gift of a song ‘summerland’ written to honour spirits of those who have gone before us.

Yesterday (Sunday 13 April), as the dig came to its end, eight of us returned to ensure the land was being restored with care, and to say thank you to the sacred land and our ancestors for the gifts they have shared. Again we called for their attention, told them simply we were grateful, placed a gift of flowers into the ground and offered prayer and song in gratitude.

Our small team of eight: Emma Restall Orr and Angela Grant (HAD), Rollo Maughling (CoBDO), Tony, Ceri and Chris (Dolmen Grove), myself and Bex.

When it works, it works really well …

  • The authorities notified us of what was about to happen before they started, imagine if they hadn’t!
  • The archaeologists were open minded and respectful towards us, and even commented on how moving our presence and simple rite had been for them.
  • We responded, without fuss, asked intelligent questions and retained dignity for our traditions in the way we honoured the place simply and sincerely
  • The Stones themselves, the energy within Stonehenge, seem unstressed and balanced.

We hope that the future relationship between the scientific and Pagan communities, respecting each others ways and quests for truth can build upon this positive example.

English Heritage have promised to notify our community of any future digs and immediately should any human remains be found.

Frank Somers

Contact: HAD Office