There’s a suspicion that on Thursday the Government told Parliament the delay was due to the new discoveries to conceal the true technical and financial reasons. Plus, it gave them a tactical advantage: if they did go ahead they could easily show the new features were too far away to be affected, and thus tell the public “we’ve won the archaeological argument”! A perfect sleight of hand!

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Is Machiavelli at No. 10?

But on Friday everything changed! Simon Banton’s game-changing article revealed the pits were placed to command an extensive ceremonial viewshed over much of the World Heritage landscape. So the pits are safe alright, but their stunning setting isn’t! The sleight of hand has been snatched away.

As Simon says, “What a majestic achievement, still appreciable across open farmland nearly 5000 years after it was laid out“. It’s inconceivable that it could be spoiled by a 6 lane expressway right through it. So claims that the World Heritage landscape’s Outstanding Universal Value won’t be massively damaged (EH, HE, NT et al) have been totally confounded.