Stonehenge archaeologists accuse highway construction company


According to the BBC, archaeologists at Stonehenge have accused a highway government-owned construction company (Highways England)  of drilling through a 6,000-year-old platform at Blick Mead - an ancient settlement about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) east of the famous stone circle.

The digging was part of a plan to construct a 1.8-mile (2.9 km) tunnel below Stonehenge in order to ease traffic around the popular historic site.

Highways England was reportedly checking the water levels at Blick Mead when engineers bored a 10-foot-deep (3 meters) hole through a platform made of flint and animal bone, dating to about 4,000 B.C. David Jacques, lead archaeologist at Blick Mead, noted that the platform contained several hoof prints of aurochs preserved in what appeared to be a "ritualistic" manner.

"It's complete vandalism," David Jacques said. "We have dug in the area since 2005, carefully sieving and working at times with toothbrushes. And for them to have come in and done things with a hand drill and just smashed through the surface is really upsetting and appalling."

The construction company denied any damage to the archaeological site and claimed that all work so far has been carried out under the supervision of an archaeologist.

Archaeologists and advocacy groups like the Stonehenge Alliance have opposed various plans to widen the highway near the historic site for decades, arguing that the digging would cause "irreparable damage to the landscape."

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