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The following update was recently released by our friends, the Stonehenge Alliance.

Extract from #2.3, Final Report on the joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS / ICCROM Advisory Mission to Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites, 19-21 April 2022:
     “The Mission again raised the question regarding the potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) attributes of the property, arising particularly from impacts on the integrity and authenticity of the Neolithic and Bronze Age funerary landscape and hence the exploration of alternatives to the A303 passing through the very heart of the WHS and so close to key monuments.” 

New Transport Secretary consulting on UNESCO’s Advisory Mission’s report

Dear Supporters,

National Highways has commented on UNESCO’s  Advisory Mission’s report following their visit of April 2022 published last month.

Last week, during a period of national mourning, the new Transport Secretary invited Interested Parties to respond to NH’s comments by 28 September.   Despite this tight deadline we hope you will be able to do so.

The Mission advised that a less damaging scheme, such as a southern bypass, should be sought and indicated that, at the very least, any tunnel should be extended to the western WHS boundary. National Highways insists that its current scheme would bring benefits to the WHS and that a longer tunnel would not be worth the expense.

The Stonehenge Alliance will send a response to the Secretary of State and share its response in due course. 

If you wish to respond we have shared some reactions and links via the link below. 

Points concerning UNESCO’s Advisory Mission report

About the Stonehenge Alliance

The Stonehenge Alliance is a group of non-governmental organisations and individuals that seeks enhancements to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and opposes development that would cause it significant harm..  

More about us 
The petition against the road has almost reached 220,000 signatures.  You can sign and share it  here.

It’s now 17 years since the prestigious Society of Antiquaries provided us with unequivocal support for our suggestion about how to radically reduce the amount of historical knowledge loss that happens on a large scale in our fields every day.

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The Society of Antiquaries, London, Newsletter 5 December 2005: “In a balanced and well-argued paper, Heritage Action also sets out an agenda for more responsible metal detecting. It states that ‘the majority of detectorists still don’t report their finds to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, and that ‘growth in willingness to participate in the scheme has been slow … Heritage Action recommends that property owners and farmers should only give permission to detectorists to carry out surveys on their land if they agree to record and report their finds. ‘All metal detecting must start with a question: “May I detect on this land?” Our aim is to ensure that everybody’s answer is always: “Only if we can be sure you will report to the Portable Antiquities Scheme”.

Nothing could be simpler or more effective than for the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the archaeological Establishment to convey this advice to all landowners. What possible reason could there be for it not to have been actioned long ago? How much knowledge has been lost in the meantime?

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This has been a problem for many years in lay-bys in the Avebury area and not for the first time visitors leaving vehicles in the National Trust car park have been targetted by thieves.

Please take every precaution when visiting heritage sites and beauty spots.

National Highways Logo

They have come up with a new Facebook profile picture. But there’s a puzzle: Why have they put their logo next to an image of iconic British landmarks? Beats us. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of the Facebook profile they should have as they’re working 7 days a week to remove Stonehenge, the most famous of British landmarks, from the public’s gaze forever!

Perhaps their new Facebook profile is their rueful admission that they know what they are doing at Stonehenge is dreadfully wrong?

We note the newly appointed Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, has set an unsympathetic deadline of 28th September for responses to 19 densely worded pages from National Highways in connection with the unacceptably damaging A303 Stonehenge tunnel scheme – a two week period that includes the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

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Albeit the Heritage Journal has campaigned for so long about the loss of the view of Stonehenge from the A303, should a tunnel be built, we have overlooked the feelings of loss that have just been so succinctly conveyed by an MP. Discussing the impact of hearing of the death of the Queen, Tory MP Simon Hoare has told the Bournemouth Echo: “When I drive up to London I drive past Stonehenge and I think it feels like Stonehenge is gone.”

This chimes with the words of Government ultra-loyalist Jacob Rees Mogg who told the Commons “One of the joys of going on the current A303 is that one gets a glimpse of Stonehenge and I think that is a great benefit and it’s uplifting for people to see”

Loss is unbearable and there is nothing anyone can do to bring back our late Queen, but we can redouble our efforts to preserve the public’s view of Stonehenge.

Dear The English Heritage Trust, Is the view of Stonehenge from the A303 of cultural value? Yours faithfully, N R Swift, Heritage Journal, 13 July

Dear Mr Swift, Thank you for your email on 13 July, in which you asked to know ‘Is the view of Stonehenge from the A303 of cultural value?’ Having considered this for you, I can confirm that this is not a Freedom of Information request. Yours sincerely Frances Gibbons Senior Information Rights Officer

Dear The English Heritage Trust, Thank you for your previous response. I’m sorry you judge that the question was not a Freedom of Information request since it was a request for information. However, you do have an opinion on the importance of the view of Stonehenge may I please re-draft my request? “Since the first line of your page about Stonehenge you opine that Stonehenge is a “must-see monument” is it also your position that the view of Stonehenge from the A303 is of cultural value? Yours faithfully, Nigel Swift 1st September.

Response awaited.

Judging by the huge scale of attendees, traders, and financial takings, yesterday’s Detectival metal detecting rally was a resounding success. We’d like to tell you exactly where it was but that was a secret divulged only to those who paid. We’d also like to show you an aerial image but daren’t as we know we’ll be hit with lawyers’ letters. So instead, here’s an image of a different detecting rally:

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Notional farmer Silas Brown’s detecting rally in Shropshire, February 2014. There was no charge and it was organized on the Surrey Council premise: that applicants would be considered to be part of an archaeological survey and be expected to have proven track records in reporting and recording. Finds would normally remain the property of the Council.

No one turned up, no doubt because it was a notional event, but Farmer Brown received angry messages from detectorists indicating that even if it hadn’t been they wouldn’t have. The contrast between that rally and the Detectival one, and the reason, must be obvious to every archaeologist (and every politician if told.) It seems pretty dishonorable for a country to tell the general public that the pursuit of personal gain is beneficial in exchange for whatever crumbs fall off a finds table. Who gains from that?

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