January 22, 2022


Through Education Matters

Discoveries at Stonehenge highlight controversial new tunnel’s risk to heritage

The new tunnel will take away any motor vehicles from the see of visitors to Stonehenge
© Lison Zhao

Archaeologists excavating at Stonehenge have uncovered prehistoric human remains and historic artefacts all through a new investigation at the legendary web-site. The findings have extra fuel to the controversy surrounding a new tunnel nearby, that could, it now appears, disturb a whole landscape of archaeology.

Among the the discoveries, the excavation staff discovered burnt flint, grooved pottery, deer antlers, and burials. Just one grave contained a child’s ear bones and a pot, one more a woman, who died in her 20s or 30s and was buried with a exceptional shale object that may have been aspect of a club. A C-shaped enclosure has also been uncovered.

These finds, which day from the late Neolithic and Bronze Age, emerged from 1,777 check pits and 440 trenches, sunk about 2km to the east and west of Stonehenge itself, in the broader Planet Heritage Web page and beyond. Since remaining unearthed, the artefacts have been moved into storage in Salisbury, but will at some point be exhibited in the local museum.

“We’ve discovered a lot—evidence about the people who lived in this landscape around millennia, traces of people’s day to day life and deaths, personal factors,” Matt Leivers, an archaeologist at Wessex Archaeology, advised The Guardian.

1 of the newly found burial sites
© Wessex Archaeology

The excavations were done in preparing for a controversial new tunnel that will have an irreversible impact on the internet site. The A303 road, which at present runs shut to Stonehenge, will in potential enter a 3km very long twin-carriageway tunnel that passes as a result of part of the historical internet site, getting rid of any autos from the check out of site visitors.

Historic England has voiced assist for the venture, arguing that it will “reunite the landscape” disrupted by the present highway. Nevertheless, a report by The Organizing Inspectorate, from January 2020, advisable that consent for the project be withheld, and Unesco has expressed worries, stating that the tunnel and roads, “would affect adversely the OUV [Outstanding Universal Value] of the home.”

David Bullock, the A303 job supervisor at Highways England, claims: “The route alone has been built to guarantee there are no immediate impacts on scheduled monuments and the total of archaeological survey and mitigation get the job done is unparalleled since the surveys are over and earlier mentioned what would have typically been finished at this stage of a freeway task.”

The governing administration gave approval for the tunnel challenge in November 2020, primary the marketing campaign group Conserve Stonehenge World Heritage Website to start a legal obstacle from the decision. Then, in December, protesters gathered at Stonehenge in a “mass trespass,” bringing focus to their opposition and producing English Heritage to temporarily shut the web page to site visitors. People opposed to the venture anxiety that it will problems the ancient landscape, which, as these new excavations have revealed, is considerably a lot more than just the standing stones.

In a Tweet about the discoveries, The Stonehenge Alliance writes that the artefacts “reveal the richness and fragility of the full landscape.”

Excavations in preparing for the tunnel are set to proceed in late spring, and will last for 18 months.