Less than 2.4 km (1.5 miles) from Stonehenge at a point called Blick Mead, archeologists are finding large caches of Mesolithic artifacts from over 8,000 years ago, which means they predate Stonehenge and could identify this as the location of the community that built the monument. Unfortunately, it’s also the location of a planned tunnel to be built under Stonehenge to relieve traffic congestion in the area. Can a discovery that may rewrite history also reroute the tunnel?
Blick Mead is near Vespasian's Camp, the site misnamed for the Roman general Vespasian who never actually camped there. An archaeological team from the University of Buckingham’s Humanities Research Institute, under the direction of David Jaques, found 12,000 pieces of worked flint and burnt flint in such fine condition that some could still cut fingers. Charcoal and bones of ancient cows known as aurochs show evidence of eating around a fire.
Radiocarbon dating indicates the Blick Mead site was used for almost 3,000 years between 7550-4700 BC. That could make it the so-called missing link between the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods and possibly identify it as the home of the builders of Stonehenge. This is such an historic find, English Heritage calls it “one of the pivotal places in the history of the Stonehenge landscape.”
Which brings us to the tunnel.
Plans were recently announced for a 1.8 mile tunnel under the World Heritage Site in Wiltshire to relieve traffic jams on the A303, the main route through the area. That same English Heritage, along with the National Trust, called the tunnel a good idea. Now it is believed the tunnel would hamper further excavations and possibly destroy the site.
History or human convenience? Monoliths or money? Which is more important? Who do you think will win this battle of the ages?