Monthly Archives: August 2017

Bournemouth University Public Lecture Day – 11th September

Photo by Jessica Swinburne

Dr Vanessa Heaslip will be giving a lecture about Human Henge at the University of the Third Age Public Lecture day at Bournemouth University on Monday 11th September.

16.00 – 17.00 Talk 4 – Vanessa Heaslip – Human Henge: Cultural heritage therapy and it’s impact upon mental health and wellbeing

Human Henge is a collaborative project funded by the heritage lottery fund, run by the Restoration trust in partnership with Bournemouth University, as well as many other institutions. The project draws upon recent ideas that Stonehenge was a place of healing in ancient times, and seeks to explore whether it can have a role in healing in the 21st century.

Over ten, weekly three-hour sessions two groups of local people with mental health problems walk the landscape, reaching through time to other humans whose traces are illuminated by accompanying pre-historians, curators and musicians. Each group makes meaning and draws inspiration from the terrain, monuments, weather, soundscape and each other. Human Henge hopes to explore the potential of heritage and history as a therapeutic intervention for people living with long term mental health issues.

You can book your free place here

Human Henge at TAG Conference 2017

The 2017 Theoretical Archaeology Conference takes place at

Cardiff University from 18th-20th of December

Human Henge will be discussed in a session led by Restoration Trust Director, Laura Drysdale and Professor of Archaeology and Director of the Centre for Archaeology and Anthropology at Bournemouth University, Professor Timothy Darvill.

Session Abstract
Archaeology, Heritage and Well-being

The concept of therapeutic landscapes was developed by Wil Gesler in the early 1990s, building on contemporary theory in the field of cultural ecology. It has since expanded to become a key concept in health geography applicable at a range of scales. But whether natural, designed, or symbolic, places connected with healing the body and soul have been recognized and studied for much longer. Routes of pilgrimage, destinations for health-giving visits, facilities for ‘taking the waters’, hospitals, and gardens surrounding asylums and institutions, have all been instrumental in formalizing relationships between place, space, and well-being that have been promoted and applied in many different ways and with varying degrees of real or perceived success. This session will consider archaeological and heritage dimensions of therapeutic landscapes, asking what can be learnt from the study of existing sites and whether there is a role for developing new ones appropriate for the needs of the 21st century. Contributions are invited in relation to three main themes. First, studies of recognized therapeutic landscapes through historical or archaeological investigations that enrich understandings of their construction and use. Second, case-studies of recent or ongoing projects that make use of archaeological sites or heritage resources to promote physical or mental well-being amongst defined participant communities. And third, analyses of the philosophical and theoretical frameworks appropriate to the study of archaeology and heritage in relation to health and well-being.

For more information visit