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Dr Paul Garwood (lecturer in prehistory at Birmingham University and participating archaeologist in the Stonehenge Riverside Project) has just argued that the draft Detailed Archaeological Mitigation Strategy is not fit for purpose: “It fails to pay due care and attention to the protection of the OUV attributes of the Stonehenge WHS area, and, if applied, would result in very large-scale permanent destruction of unrecorded archaeological evidence, to the detriment of both the WHS and future research.”

That’s a massive charge and uniquely convincing because Highways England have already admitted it’s true by saying they are “only willing to fund the sifting of from 4 to 14% of the ground displaced in constructing the new road”. Experts believe could mean up to 480,000 artefacts ploughed back underground forever, unexamined.

Prof Mike Parker Pearson has also put Highways England’s position beyond any chance of defensive spinning by pointing out that: “100% ploughzone recovery by hand-digging is the industry standard on land that lies within a World Heritage Site, and had been recognised as such by English Heritage and The National Trust.”

In other word, not only is the Mitigation Strategy not fit for purpose, it is recognised as such by English Heritage and The National Trust!

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