The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Stonehenge and its Environs


The Stonehenge tunnel: ‘A monstrous act of desecration is brewing’

“The issue is whether Stonehenge exists to provide a tourist experience, or whether it is something more significant, both historically and spiritually,” he says. “It has stood there for 4,500 years. And up to now, no one’s thought of injecting enormous quantities of concrete into the landscape and permanently disfiguring it.”
moss Posted by moss
26th April 2017ce

Comments (4)

Would suggest Mr Holland gets around a bit more. Then he'll find there are many, many less 'important' sites being systematically destroyed by farmers as I type.

[Edit] However well meaning the sentiments, I do feel that such a fundamental fixation upon Stonehenge merely reinforces the perception of the ordinary person in the street of a bunch of well-to-do academics and self aggrandised weirdo 'druids' with no connection to day to day life trying to get their pet theories air time. Whereas what this should really be about - surely - is an attempt to try and make people aware that all our prehistoric heritage is under threat from the way we live today, the competing challenges of agriculture, commerce, tourism and continuing to understand who we are as a species. But more specifically, why this matters to the ordinary person in the street.

To my mind Stonehenge is a very small, albeit famous and unique, piece of a very, very large interlocking jigsaw and we need to be somehow raising the plight of everything. That's what esteemed authors and celebrities should be saying, in my opinion. Most people I talk to are bored with Stonehenge... raised by an elite for a seemingly elite purpose. What's it got to do with me?, in other words. A few of those that are bored, however, have been surprised to be informed that there is something much smaller, much more intimate, on their patch. Something they can adopt as theirs, local prehistory. I think most people can perhaps only be engaged on a grass roots level, a level where they can believe they can make a difference. And until commentary in the mainstream press is widened beyond Stonehenge that will never happen.

This may well be just my perception, but I feel there is a latent groundswell of opinion opposed to the celebrity culture dominating our lives - Stonehenge is our precocious diva of prehistory which might explain why many appear not to really care about its fate. Is focussing solely upon Stonehenge because it's famous detrimental because of this? However invoke it as an example of what's happening to something in a field near you right now, and maybe outlooks might begin to change? Is it really a coherent policy to focus all effort upon retaining the shining tip of the prehistoric iceberg whilst what lies below the waterline is systematically destroyed without comment? In the end we'll have a lovely Disney showpiece preserved in a geodesic dome with nothing left as supporting context. Hey, a prehistoric 'experience'. They took all the stones; And placed them in a stone museum; And they charged all the people; a dollar and a half to see them. Joni's nightmare vision is just that. An empty shell stripped of all humanity.

Where are the journalists, celebrity authors and such to build upon Cope's vision. To get to the people in terms they can relate to? To look at what is happening in THEIR town, their village? Turn the national argument on its head... if local websites start to buzz with people engaging with the local people who went before - if that becomes important.. then surely a shining masterpiece such as Stonehenge will become so too?
5th May 2017ce
Sorry to say it (I genuinely am, given I love these places) but most people don't really give a shit about Stonehenge or any of the other places. We're on the lunantic fringe here really.

I'm not suggesting they wouldn't be a bit sad if these places went, but it's all a bit abstract for the majority. And a lot of people would rather have the faster road, the housing development (Old Oswestry) if it was a choice or a popular vote was taken.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
6th May 2017ce
One of the key developments in recent times which has disturbed the "balance of care" is the creation of the English Heritage Trust about 2 years ago. As the pump-priming money given to it by HMG starts to run out, we will see a more and more aggressive approach to generating income. So, in this regard, key sites and artifacts are regarded as primarily revenue earners; their cultural worth is secondary. I'm not just talking about EH and its Scottish equivalent but local authorities who now fight each other for the right to hold and display newer archaelogical finds on both sides of the border. Posted by tomatoman
6th May 2017ce
I agree, it has also meant that the regulatory/protection arm (eg Historic England) is entirely divorced from the revenue source, making it even less likely to be able to tackle abuse or damage. And CADW in Wales is undergoing a review (led by the former CEO of EH) with a view to following suit. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
6th May 2017ce
You must be logged in to add a comment