Road ProJect Under Stonehenge Endangers 6,000 Year Old Site

Plans for an uderground dual carriage way could badly damage a major archaelogical site near the world heritage site, experts warned. Hoofprints of wild cattle known as aurochs have recently been found at excavations a mile and a half from the stone circle in Wiltshire. In statements published by Tom Bawden, enviroment correspondant for the british free newspaper METRO, the University of Buckingham archaelogist, David Jacques, confirmed that the hoofprints are 6,000 years old, as carbon dating tests proved.

They are the latest in a wealth of finds in a decade-long archaelogical dig at the Blick Mead site, close to Stonhenge.

The tunnel, and a flyover close to the Blick Mead excavations that could also form part of the road works to improve the A303, could irevocably damage the site, said the archaelogist.

The Government has backed a blueprint to place the A303 into a tunnel as it passes the neolitic Stone circle as part of measures to ease transit congestion and improve the setting of Stonehenge.

Critics say that the proposal that includes eastern and western entrances to the tunnel within the World Heritage Site and a posible flyover near Amesbury, could harm the rich archaelogical landscape. The findings suggest there is an "invaluable archive of plant, insect and human prints" preserved elsewhere in the soil waiting to be uncovered through further excavations, said Jacques. These would be destroyed if the tunnel procedes, as the construction would drain the area of the water needed to preserve them.

"These is the only site in Great Britain where there is evidence that people have been living there from just after the end of the ice age until now", said Professor Jacques, who is leading excavation at the site, 1.5 miles east of Stonhenge. "The place is like a national archive for organic material - which are like natural documents, it would be like destroying a unique library". Plant and animal prints in the soil are better at preserving details of past life than fossils and have the potential to bring the flora and fauna living in the area shortly after the last ice age to life, he said.

A public consultation began on Thursday 8, Febraury 2018, into the plan to build a 1.8 mile tunnel and a flyover between Amesbury and Berwick Down in Wiltshire, to speed traffic flow by replacing the single-lane road with an underground dual carriageway.

Professor Jacques said the impact on the Blick Mead site hadn't been assessed. David Bullock, a project manager at Highways England, said, "The consultation provides an oportunity for everyone to give views on our proposals and we would like as much as feedback as posible".

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