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The Mount Haemus Award for 2014 goes to...

Every year we offer an award for academic research into Druidry or related topics. This year the award goes to Dr.Julia Farley, for her paper:

‘Almost unmentionable in polite society’? Druidry and Archaeologists in the Later Twentieth Century

by Dr Julia Farley


Between 1950 and 1964, a major programme of archaeological excavations were carried out at Stonehenge, directed by archaeologists Richard Atkinson and Stuart Piggott. The excavations were not published in full until after Atkinson’s death (Cleal et al. 1995), but Atkinson penned a popular account of the site in 1956, entitled simply Stonehenge, which was aimed at “the ordinary visitor” (Atkinson 1956, xiv). The book was, in part, intended to dispel once and for all the popular notion that there was a direct connection between ancient Druids and Stonehenge. Atkinson went so far as to write that “Druids have so firm a hold upon the popular imagination, particularly in connection with Stonehenge, and have been the subject of so much ludicrous and unfounded speculation, that archaeologists in general have come to regard them as almost unmentionable in polite society.” (ibid., 91).

This quote is notable for two reasons. Firstly, it highlights the often fraught relationships between archaeologists and Druidry in the mid-twentieth century and, secondly, it was soon to be revealed as demonstrably untrue.

Read the full paper here.