‘Is Stonehenge worth it?’ was a question we were all asked … At one level, the answer has to be ‘No’; but, at another, and more strongly, it has to be ‘Yes’, if only because the Stonehenge issue was not only about Stonehenge. For decades now, events at Stonehenge have continued to reflect in miniature the changing spirit of the larger society in which it stands. What we see in this mirror for our times is about ourselves, all of us, including you - our past and our present and, some would say, our future too.
(Chippindale et al. 1990:8)
The condition of heritage, particularly damage to and the destruction of ancient sites is a matter of concern to archaeologists, yet where the impact of ‘tourists’, unscrupulous land owners and farmers is often recognised (e.g. English Heritage 1995; Jones 1998; Morris 1998), the actions of Pagans, Druids, neo-Shamans and others with ‘spiritual’ interests in such places are less often addressed. Indeed, neo-Shamanic engagements with the past affect archaeologists most directly in relation to archaeological sites, as Derbyshire archaeologist John Barnatt came to realise:
In the spring of 1993, shortly before the Spring Equinox, the stone circle at Doll Tor [Derbyshire] was seriously damaged when persons unknown ‘restored’ it prior to holding rituals there. In 1994 archaeological excavations and restoration were undertaken after the removal of several newly-added spurious features, in order to return the site to how it may have appeared in prehistory … The monument is now closer to its prehistoric appearance than at any other time in historic times. This will hopefully negate future attempts at ill-informed ‘rebuilding’ at the site.
The Doll Tor incident is not isolated or exceptional: when I visited the Twelve Apostles stone circle on Ilkley Moor in July 1998 these stones also