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by Dr Professor George Nash
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Supporters of the proposed tunnel will be aware of the potential harm of burrowing underneath the Stonehenge landscape (using either the North or South options) and will forget to consider that the A303 is actually a cultural heritage asset in its own right. Historic map regression shows that the A303 has not deviated from its original route for over 200 years, forming part of a then important east-west arterial route between London and the west of England. I hope that the powers-that-be acknowledge this along with the significant historic road furniture that is associated with it (e.g. mile stones) – so please do not bury it.

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Map of 1817 showing our beloved A303

Map of 1817 showing our beloved A303

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LiDAR plan of the Stonehenge landscape and the beloved A303

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What of the proposed tunnel – a capital project? Well, dare I suggest that it’s a complete and utter waste of money – why not divert the money to more worthy causes. I do think we have a critical NHS crisis and the closure of Libraries and Museums across the UK – that’s just for Starters. Whilst I think about it, get shot of HS2 as well.
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Cautionary notes, to all those so-called eminent archaeologists (and you know who you are) who have suggested that such a project would be an ‘opportunity’ [to explore this landscape], remember the heritage disaster that was the Winchester bypass [Twyford Down]? Well, based on the projected options for that tunnel, as promoted by Highways England, there will be a massive impact on both Stonehenge’s archaeological and natural landscape, including the nation’s beloved A303. Let’s keep the archaeology of this ancient land where it is – in-situ please.
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Dr Nash is Erasmus Mundus Professor of the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar, member of the Geosciences Centre of Coimbra University (Quaternary and Prehistory Group) and Research Fellow within the Department of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Bristol.

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