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Chapter 5 Journal Activity

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Planners, leave the road alone!!


My feeling is that the twenty-first century is doing Stonehenge and its’ environs proud. More than ever before we are aware of the need for care when dealing with historical sites, that a full assessment must be taken before any work starts and thought given to how to proceed. It would be unthinkable to carry out a dig without detailed recording taking place and to a standard that would have been impossible only a few years ago. Consideration is given to the conservation of artefacts should any be found and provision made as to how to deal with them is put in place – the whole process is so much more professional than when the first excavations took place and records were often found wanting (that is if they ever saw the light of day!)

There are many problems still to come not least of which is whether to move the A303 or leave well alone (my preference). I think drivers enjoy the opportunity to see the stones as they travel across country and it seems unnecessary to go to the expense and further damage such a sensitive environment when there is another option available. Would it be fair to say that some people have tunnel vision?

Handling so many tourists from all parts of the world and every imaginable faith can be no easy task, everyone wants to come and wonder at the stones and take from them what they will. I’m sure the new visitor center is doing it’s very best to provide a worthwhile experience of the site and its’ history but of course, in a more politically aware world it is not always possible to please all the people all the time. I grew up at a time when bits of bodies, bones, shrunken heads and anything else deemed to be of interest was routinely displayed in museums and very interesting they were but times and attitudes change and we must change with them.

What I do find puzzling is why the site was abandoned. This place which had been such a focus for over a thousand years was apparently no longer in vogue. Was this suddenly? Did a new religion take over? Was there, as some suggest, a pandemic? The latter seems quite a feasible and reasonable proposition. Man had been farming for quite some time and possibly living in close proximity to his animals so did a virus decimate the population, something like TB, brucellosis, bird flu or one of many other diseases which can cross species and pass from animal to person to person? If only we knew

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