The upheaval of HS2 is manna for treasure-hungry archaeologists”


First, archaeologists aren’t treasure-hungry. Only treasure hunters are treasure-hungry!

Second, that’s not the only disservice to heritage which that careless headline may deliver. Soon it may be there’s another huge upheaval with hundreds of other archaeologists engaged in another massive series of digs, sifting through many millions of cubic feet of the archaeological layers of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site prior to construction of new access roads.

That scheme is opposed by UNESCO and most independent archaeologists and it would do heritage great harm if supporters of the tunnel trumpeted that process as a welcome benefit of the scheme (as indeed they already have) and the press then magnified the claim by calling it a knowledge “bonanza”.

Of course it would generate great knowledge, in a process first described years ago by a slick government spin-doctor as “preservation by record”. But it’s important the public aren’t misled: the knowledge will be totally inadequate compensation for massive heritage destruction to a World Heritage landscape.



January 2020

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