“In my view the proposal to benefit one part of the World Heritage Site at the expense of another is misguided. The areas beyond the stones are not simply a buffer zone and should not be viewed as one.”
Written submission to the Examining Authority published by the Planning Inspectorate for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down draft DCO By David Field PhD FSA, 2 May 2019
Images inserted by Stonehenge Alliance
Dr David Field is a retired archaeologist formerly employed by English Heritage and before that by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England who has spent some 30 years working on and around both halves of the World Heritage Site and on the military land between them. In particular, Dr Field was engaged on investigating the archaeology of the Stonehenge part of the WHS, including the stones themselves and is one of the contributors to the English Heritage report outlining the results and of another detailing findings at the stones themselves. Dr Field re-emphasises, and enlarges on the points made in his earlier representation regarding the proposed western terminal.
“The area has been designated WHS status and its boundaries carefully chosen because the whole area is important, with each component having equal value. The area around the western portal is particularly sensitive because it is likely to be the area where settlement developed and from where traditions of ritual and ceremonial sprang.
“Firstly, it is the focus of a remarkable group of long barrows, monuments of the 4th millennium BC that sometimes hold burials, but which are generally considered tenurial markers of some kind. Such monuments very occasionally occur in pairs but a group of seven is unique and tells us amongst other things that there was a remarkable degree of social interaction in this area not seen elsewhere in the country.
“Of particular note, are the large long barrows that stand sentinel-like either side of the Wilsford coomb, ie those at Winterbourne Stoke Crossroads and at Lake, that seem to channel movement from the southwest towards the area of the stones. As this may be where ritual and ceremonial in the landscape began, the zone and vistas between these two monuments is of particular importance to preserve.
”It is very clear that traditions here continued into the 3rd millennium BC ie the period of stone construction, and beyond, as round barrow cemeteries developed around the prominent long barrows. That at Winterbourne Stoke Crossroads is iconic, comprising all the known types of round barrow. It is the best preserved round barrow cemetery in the UK and is of international importance.
”It is important that the cemetery can be appreciated as a whole within its landscape setting and indeed, as for the long barrows, that the zone and vista between it and its neighbouring cemetery at Lake be preserved.
”Further, systems of ancient fields were established here by at least the Bronze Age. The proposed cutting strikes a course between them, but this is precisely where we would expect settlement to be and indeed, fieldwalking in the past has indicated a great concentration of domestic debris in the topsoil here.
“A little further south a formal trackway leads from the southwest towards Stonehenge. This is the earliest and only prehistoric road that we know of that leads towards Stonehenge. The cutting does not interfere with it, but it does interfere with its associated landscape.
“So we have a potential settlement with its fields and contemporary landscape, all extremely fragile and important archaeology that can in due course inform us with regard to the society that constructed the stones. Here, then is a third reason why it is inappropriate to place a cutting through this area.
”One of the reasons for upgrading the road in Highways Authority literature is to benefit the WHS. The position of the western terminal clearly does not meet that objective. If this route is chosen, then the western portal really does need to be positioned outside the WHS.”