Archaeologists undertaking dedicated research projects within the World Heritage Site quite rightly sieve 100% of the entire ploughsoil. By contrast, Highways England has just told dismayed archaeologists that only a small amount of the topsoil removed during landscaping would be sieved for objects of scientific and historical interest as 100% sieving would take too long and prove too expensive! Instead, they will sample between 4 and 14%!

Professor Mike Parker Pearson has estimated that as a result half a million prehistoric artefacts could go unexamined and be lost to science. In response (see the Daily Telegraph (10/07/2019), Jim Hunter of Highways England said: “We are confident we can deal with the archaeology in an appropriate way …”

What possible confidence can the public have in that assurance?