Mental Health in Archaeology

Mental Health in Archaeology is a subject close to my heart and is now beginning to get the recognition it deserves. Over the last few years there have been several project that have brought together archaeologists and mental health experts to use archaeology as a therapeutic tool. This is a short post and the purpose of which is to highlight those project and provide links as a starting off point for my own research and that of others wishing to learn more about what is going on in this interesting and emerging field. Please feel free to comment with more links if I’ve missed any!

I also just wanted to highlight the up and coming session at TAG on ‘Mental Health in Archaeology‘ which I hope to be attending this year.

Operation Nightingale – probably the most well known project which utilised archaeology as a therapeutic tool to aid in the rehabilitation of soldiers returning home from Afghanistan. The Defence Archaeology Group formed from this initiative. Current projects include ‘Waterloo Uncovered‘.

Past in Mind – this project brought together archaeological experts and those who had accessed mental health resources in Herefordshire. The project has an official blog ‘Blog From The Bog’. There is also a short post about it on the Herefordshire Mind website that can be accessed here.

Restoration Trust – is a group which supports culture therapy for people with mental health conditions. They support a range of groups based in cultural centres including archaeological excavation.

Williams Rathouse at Mind Aberystwyth also organised for Mind Aberystwyth members to attend archaeological digs the notes on which can be found here.

Big Heritage – is an social enterprise that connects schools, museums and communities with the past and are currently running a project related to mental health and archaeology. More details can be found on their web pages.

Digability – is a three year project which provided opportunities for marginalised groups to participate in archaeology including adults with learning and physical difficulties, minority ethnic communities as well as mental health service users.