Stonehenge Underground is a week-long public exhibition of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition, which opens tomorrow for one week only. The Project is a collaboration of European archaeologists using a range of non-invasive scientific surveying techniques, which has revealed an astonishing number of hitherto unknown sites in the landscape surrounding Stonehenge.
A resumé of the exhibition and a critically important video of the Project’s investigations around Stonehenge can be viewed here.
The work of the Project continues: the thousands of sites identified and mapped need to be verified and analysed in order to understand what they represent and how they may fit within the chronological – and especially the prehistoric – record of land use and occupation in the World Heritage Site (WHS).
In view of the threat of road widening proposals at the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, the importance of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project cannot be overstated. Its results so far and the potential for future findings provide clear and timely demonstration of the archaeological sensitivity of the WHS and of how much more there is still to be learned about the surroundings of the World’s most famous monument.
We trust that Government Ministers will visit the Royal Society’s exhibition and discover just how damaging the proposed A303 short tunnel would be, not only to the landscape and tranquillity of the WHS but also in terms of the permanent destruction of new and unknown archaeological evidence. Most of the discoveries are invisible to the naked eye, and many are part of the story of those who built Stonehenge and the remarkable complex of upstanding monuments that we can see within the WHS today.
After millennia of relative ignorance about this extraordinary landscape, now is clearly not the time to carve it up with road engineering works. Let us hope that the work of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project will persuade the Government to protect the WHS from the threat of irreversible damage by road widening.
If you are concerned about the threat to the Stonehenge landscape from road widening of the A303 please sign our petition here.