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Birmingham and the West Midlands


Bronze Age Brummie's sauna may sink plans for tourism

14 Sept 2004 by David Bell, Evening Mail

The remains of a sauna used by Bronze Age Brummies is set to scupper a
multi-million pound marina project for the city. The 'hot tub' threat emerged
as planners investigated possible sites for the big money tourism scheme.

Water voles who live on the stretch of water at Millpool Hill, Alcester Road South,
alongside the Stratford Upon Avon canal, could be another hurdle.

Planners have identified the location as the only place in the city with the potential
to be turned into a marina with mooring for up to 80 boats. But the area includes
the sauna suite beside the Chinn Brook known as the Bayston Road Burnt Mound.

Dating to between 1500 and 1000 BC, it is thought to be the debris from heated
stones used as saunas by Bronze Age Brummies within the shelter of willow
structures. Councillors want a proper archaeological excavation to uncover other historical clues.

"This site proves that Bronze Age Brummies were far more sophisticated than we gave them
credit for," Coun Peter Douglas Osborn told city planners. "You can tell it was a sauna
because of all the round stones on the site. They used it for recreation."

Marina developers will also be required to carry out a field survey for water
voles - a legally protected species - and avoid habitats at all costs.

Officials want the marina complex to include a clubhouse, cafe, restaurant
and visitor facilities. They see it as a lure not only for tourists, but also as
a centre for water sport activities.

Jane Posted by Jane
15th September 2004ce
Edited 15th September 2004ce

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