Sunday, June 16, 2019


A LEADING archaeology professor has claimed the Stonehenge tunnel plans will mean the loss of "over half a million" prehistoric artifacts within the World Heritage Site, should plans go ahead. Professor Mike Parker Pearson, who is professor of British Prehistory at University College London, was talking at the A303 National Infrastructure Planning hearing in Salisbury City Hall. He claims these artifacts "would be bulldozed without record or recovery by the proposed strategy", adding "this is an unacceptable level of damage to the resources and loss of information about Stonehenge's prehistoric past".

Professor Pearson would like to see 100 per cent sampling of the area that is due to be affected by the project, which he estimates would take 300 archaeologists at least two summers to complete, as accommodations would have to be made for the weather. He adds that "for more than 10 years, archaeologists researching within the World Heritage Site have recovered finds by 100 per cent retrieval by hand-digging, and the same should be happening with this site."

He claims the Detailed Archaeological Mitigation Strategy (DAMS) proposed by Highways England would not allow for this to happen. This comes after Victoria Hutton, Counsel representing the consortium of 22 archaeologists, said that harm to the World Heritage Site would breach the World Heritage Convention 1972.

In response, Highways England claimed Professor Pearson was just putting forward "unclaimed theories", which would need to be tested further before given full consideration. Jim Hunter from Highways England added: “We’ve done a huge amount of work in advance of this scheme, more than has been done for any other road scheme in this country.

The hearing continues.


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