BBC News

Stonehenge bones: King Arthur Pendragon leads remains-protest

image captionKing Arthur Pendragon (centre right) said the protest was "just a taster"

Dozens of druids have staged a protest over the displaying of human bones at Stonehenge's new £27m visitor centre.

Senior druid King Arthur Pendragon, who led the demonstration at the opening of the centre, had threatened "the biggest protest in Europe" over the exhibit.

The new centre houses three sets of human remains excavated near the site, along with a shop and café.

English Heritage said it was using real bones as it believed authenticity was important to tell England's story.

A spokesman for the organisation said the idea of replica bones had been "very carefully considered".

"We use real objects and artefacts because we believe they are the best way for people to come close to history.

"Research shows that the vast majority of museum visitors are comfortable with, and often expect to see, human remains as part of displays."

'Shot across the bows'

Mr Pendragon said that until the bones were taken off display and reburied, he would continue a campaign that will cost English Heritage money and turn the public against them.

He has claimed the bones discovered in 2008 are the remains of members of the royal line and wants them reinterred.

"Today was just a shot across the bows - it was just a taster," he said.

"I don't want to give all my tactics away but next year's campaign will be based around the slogan 'don't pay, walk away', and encouraging people to make 2014 the year they did not come to Stonehenge."

King Arthur Pendragon describes himself as the Battle Chieftain of the Council of British Druid Orders and Titular Head and Chosen Chief of the Loyal Arthurian Warband Druid order.

About 60 druids gathered for the protest, which saw them march on the centre banging drums and singing songs about their ancestors.

image captionThree sets of human remains are on display in the new visitors centre

Hundreds of visitors moved past the colourful demonstration to be among the first to visit the new centre.

Bron Marie, 55, from Australia, was the first through the door and said seeing Stonehenge was "a big tick on my bucket list".

"People will get emotionally involved about things and have a right to have their opinions but that shouldn't stop other people fulfilling their goals and dreams either," she said.

"In the 21st century, you have to have things that appeal to people who want to get a connection with history.

"It gives a real opportunity for a lot of people to experience and understand history."

More on this story

  • New £27m Stonehenge visitor centre to open

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.