Audit Office says Stonehenge tunnel benefits ‘uncertain’

20 05 2019

There are “risks and uncertainty” over a road tunnel near Stonehenge and its benefits are “inherently uncertain”, a scrutiny body said. (BBC NEWS)

a303

The government wants to build a tunnel past the monument as part of a £1.6bn plan to upgrade the A303.

However, the National Audit Office (NAO) estimates the likely cost as £1.9bn, and says it “must deliver value for taxpayers”.

Highways England says the route will cut congestion and boost the economy

Work is due to begin in 2021 with an expected opening date of 2026.

The NAO estimates the project will only deliver £1.15 in benefits for every £1 spent.

Auditor General Amyas Morse said: “The tunnel at Stonehenge is currently only just value for money by the department’s own business case.

“Based on experience, project costs tend to grow rather than fall, at least in the early years.

“It will take a very special effort by the department to protect public value up to completion.”

The NAO also warned the project poses “geological and archaeological risks”, and said Highways England must ensure it can “support the project throughout its life”.

The government wants to build the tunnel to hide the busy A303, but opponents claim it could destroy archaeological treasures and scar the landscape.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) described the plans as “severely flawed” while The Stonehenge Alliance – a campaign group which includes archaeologists and environmental campaigners – said the work threatened the area’s “fragile archaeology”.

Highways England said the “vital route” would cut congestion and boost the economy, and would “restore the tranquil environment and setting of the monument”.

The Department for Transport said the road upgrade would “improve connections” with the rest of the country.

“Stonehenge is a site of significant historical value – we have worked closely with heritage groups, including English Heritage and Historic England, to ensure it is protected both during the upgrade of the A303 and in the long-term.

“Across the South West, we are investing £2 billion to improve roads, on top of £133 million for Bristol, North Somerset and Gloucester to introduce the MetroBus rapid public transport.”

A public consultation into the scheme ended in April 2018.

Highways England submitted a development consent order to the Planning Inspectorate in November.

The agency has set a six-month timetable in order to examine the proposals.

RELEVANT LINKS:
Stonehenge tunnel benefits ‘uncertain’ says Audit Office BBC NEWS
National Audit Office questions value of Stonehenge tunnel  THE GUARDIAN
Benefits of Stonehenge road tunnel scheme `uncertain´DAILY MAIL
DfT’s cost benefit methodology puts Stonehenge tunnel at risk SCIENCE TELLS
National Audit Office reports on the A303 and Stonehenge Tunnel HIGHWAYS ENGLAND

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Local Landlord recreates Stonehenge outside his pub.

16 05 2019

A LANDLORD at the Stonehenge Inn has created a mini version of Stonehenge outside his pub for tourists

Stonehenge replica

Daniel King has created a mini replica of Stonehenge outside his pub near Amesbury, Wiltshire

He commissioned artist and brickie Rhys Bliszko to make a 4ft concrete version for his pub, The Stonehenge Inn, three miles from the 4,000-year-old monument.

Stonehenge replica

The Stonehenge replica is less than a third as tall as the 13ft original but the stones is shaped exactly as the real monument.

“It might be a bit smaller and not quite as old but at least you can get up close.”

It is less than a third as tall as the 13ft original but Daniel says each stone is shaped like the real ones and the circle aligns with the sun in the same way.  Rumor has it the whole thing will light up at night.  Meanwhile it’s a great place to get a picture of a friend or yourself sitting on a trilithon.

pub-group-18

The Stonehenge Pub Group, a family run business, owns 2 great venues close to Stonehenge (within 8 minutes drive). Ideal for either independent travellers or larger groups, the pubs are typical olde English Inns and make a great stop off from your travels. Stonehenge Tour Companies are already using the venue

Full story: The Sun
Clonehenge: Durrington Stonehenge Almost Complete!

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Ancient Craft at Stonehenge. Neolithic to Bronze Age living history!

2 03 2019

Ancient Craft will be at Stonehenge to demonstrate Neolithic to Bronze Age living history and crafts! Ancient Craft have decided to have two days focused towards the Neolithic and the second two on the Bronze Age. There will be a camp where you can watch crafts like flintknapping, cordage making, grain grinding, cooking and bronze casting! There will be two experienced prehistoric crafts people to show you lots of different objects and skills from the time of Stonehenge so don’t miss out!

EVENT DATE: 22nd April at 10:00 – 25th April at 16:00

ancient-craft

Details will be available on the English Heritage website soon!

What is AncientCraft?

AncientCraft is dedicated to the archaeology of primitive crafts and technologies during prehistory – mainly focused on the Stone Age and Bronze Age. This includes references to materials such as lithics (also known as “flintknapping”), wood, bone, horn, leather, metals and cloth (linen and wool).

AncientCraft was setup and is run by James Dilley, an archaeologist and craftsman who specialises in prehistoric technologies and has around 16 years experience of flintknapping and other ancient crafts. James has worked with museums and heritage sites such as The British Museum and Stonehenge as well as media companies such as the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Dorling Kindersley publishing. The outreach objective of AncientCraft is to encourage people of all ages to explore prehistory through their own research or by practising prehistoric skills. By working with museums or media outlets it is possible to provide a unique view of prehistoric archaeology as James is an academic at the University of Southampton with a strong practical background. It is this combination of academic understanding of prehistoric archaeology, and strong roots in crafts from the Palaeolithic – Bronze Age that makes AncientCraft one of the most popular prehistoric displays for museums in the UK and Ireland.
Their Facebook page shows some of the things James gets up to with AncientCraft across the UK and Ireland from living history events and workshops to some of the replicas being made for museum displays or film work.
You can also visit the website via www.ancientcraft.co.uk

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Stones from Pembrokeshire used in the construction of Stonehenge may have been transported by land rather than sea, archaeologists have found.

24 02 2019

Quarrying of Stonehenge ‘bluestones’ dated to 3000 BC

Excavations at two quarries in Wales, known to be the source of the Stonehenge ‘bluestones’, provide new evidence of megalith quarrying 5,000 years ago, according to a new UCL-led study.  The findings were published in the journal Antiquity.

Stonehenge (pictured) is made of natural pillars from Pembrokeshire, 180 miles (290 km) away from its current location in Wiltshire. Experts claim the obelisks were dragged there over land and not taken there by sea, as some theories have suggested

Stonehenge (pictured) is made of natural pillars from Pembrokeshire, 180 miles (290 km) away from its current location in Wiltshire. Experts claim the obelisks were dragged there over land and not taken there by sea, as some theories have suggested

The discovery confirms a prediction made a century ago

It was Herbert Henry Thomas, a British geologist, who first declared that the “foreign stones” of Stonehenge—those that did not come from the vicinity of the prehistoric monument and whose raison d’être was therefore most shrouded in mystery—had been hewed from rocky outcrops in west Wales. In 1923 he pointed to the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire. Nearly a century later he has been found to be nearly, but not quite, right.

The new discoveries also cast doubt on a popular theory that the bluestones were transported by sea to Stonehenge.

Radiocarbon dates
Joshua Pollard, a professor of archaeology at the University of Southampton, said the findings were key as they were “further confirmation that the Stonehenge bluestones were moved by people (and not geological forces such as ice-sheets) in prehistory, in what stands out as one of the most remarkable instances of long-distance movement of large stones in the ancient world.”

He said that radiocarbon dates indicate there may have been a gap in time between the quarrying of the stones from Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-felin, which may suggest they were “originally set up as one or more stone circles in Preseli.”

Prof Pollard went on to explain the research revealed the “far-flung importance of the Preseli region during the Neolithic.”

He added: “Ultimately, it’s a story about people – about early farmers – with a strong connection to ancestral lands, and their need to reinforce those connections through the movement and building of great megalithic monuments.”

  • Relevant Stonehege news links:
    Solving the mystery of Stonehenge – The Economist
  • Stonehenge: Preseli stone ‘transported over land’ – BBC NEWS
  • The Where, When and How of Quarrying Stonehenge ‘Bluestones’ Is Revealed in New Report – Ancient Origins
  • Quarrying of Stonehenge ‘bluestones’ dated to 3000 BC – Archaeology and Arts
  • How Stonehenge’s ‘bluestones’ were quarried 5,000 years ago: Ready-made pillars were pried away from rocky outcrops before being transported over land NOT sea – Daily Mail

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