skip to primary navigationskip to content

Building Human Henge

When Oct 24, 2019
from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM
Where McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge
Contact Name
Add event to calendar vCal

Cambridge Heritage Research Seminar


Building Human Henge


Prof. Tim Darvill
Professor of Archaeology and Director of the Centre for Archaeology and Anthropology, Bournemouth University


Seminar Room, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Downing Street, Cambridge


Human Henge was a project undertaken to explore how archaeological sites could be used to help people with their mental health well-being. It was built from two key ideas. First, that Stonehenge, and many other prehistoric and later sites like it, were originally places of healing. And second, that ancient sites can and should have a wide range of societally relevant uses in the modern world. Both ideas are explored here in order to highlight key themes that were woven together in the development of Human Henge’s cultural heritage therapy. This used the iconic sites of Stonehenge and Avebury and their surrounding landscapes as arenas within which participants could be creative while safely exploring places in unfamiliar ways. Through programmes of participant-led activities, local people living with mental health problems came together for fun and therapeutic adventures, assisted by experts, carers, support workers, and contributors from a range of different cultures. By journeying through the World Heritage Site, spending time at a selection of the monuments, thinking, talking, singing, dancing, and making music, it became possible for them to connect with the landscape, the skyscape, the archaeology, and, most importantly, to re-connect with themselves and with other participants.

Human Henge

Timothy Darvill is Professor of Archaeology in Bournemouth University and has research interested focused on the Neolithic of northwest Europe and archaeological resource management. He has excavated widely, including work at Stonehenge (UK), Skorba (Malta), and Billown (Isle of Man). He has published widely, including a recent edited volume entitled Historic landscapes and mental health well-being (Archaeopress, 2019).



CHRC Written Logo

The CHRC is a collaboration of six departments. This is symbolized through six stripes in Cambridge Blue in the CHRC logo. The mesh-work arising from the darker stripes represents the collaboration of the CHRC and the heritage field at large.