I have to admit that when I first heard of this conference; my initial reaction was one of confusion and intrigue. The combination of archaeology and mental well-being seemed a bit random and not obviously connected. So, having an interest in archaeology and with well-being and mindfulness big on the current agenda, I decided to go along and see what it was all about.
Organised by the Human Henge project, led by Professor Timothy Darvill, the project is run by the Restoration Trust, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Wiltshire County Council and English Heritage and supported by the National Trust, Bournemouth University, Avon and Wiltshire NHS, and the Richmond Fellowship.
The project aims to promote well-being in selected participants by visiting historic landscapes and heritage resources and taking part in various pre-determined activities. The project has so far run three events, two at Stonehenge and one at Avebury.
The conference was well attended and had a packed programme (available here), with nearly all the speakers experiences or research supporting the idea that mixing of archaeology and well-being had a beneficial effect on participants.
Now you might think that a walk in the countryside with a fun activity would have the same effect, however, although the project results are not yet finished, it would appear that the evidence demonstrates the inclusion of an historical element does seem to add that something extra to the experience which really engages the participants.
I found this to be a thoroughly engaging and interesting conference, so much so, I forgot to take any photos or put anything on Twitter as I usually do, and I look forward to seeing the finished research.
If you would like to know more about the Human Henge project, visit their website at http://humanhenge.org/
Many thanks go to the organisers for putting on this most enjoyable conference and to Kerry Barrass for arranging the BU facilities and hospitality.