• Ellen E. Sutherland

Road construction destruction


Recently, workers discovered a significant Pictish artifact while constructing a road in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. The artifact was a stone carving bearing the image of a man wearing a cloak with a pronounced hairstyle.

The Picts lived in parts of Scotland and Ireland in around the same time as the Celts and early Britons during the Late Iron Age and Early Medieval periods. Their origins may trace back to Scandinavia. These people were different from the Celts based on language and lifestyle. They were prolific artists. Their name can be translated as the Painted People.

Archaeologists have learned a lot about these mysterious people, even in recent years. There is much yet to be understood. This article is not meant to discuss the Pictish history, which is its own interesting subject. I might do that in a future blog. Perhaps this find will shed new light on their history. If you would like to read more about this discovery, check it out:

http://thenational.scot/news/15629182.Workers_discover__significant__Pictish_artefact_while_constructing_road/

Instead, I wish to focus on how this carving was discovered. It was found by accident by road construction workers. Because little is fully understood about the Picts, any find is critical to our understanding of both them and early British history. Similar finds have been made in other parts of Britain.

Here’s my point: Stonehenge remains in peril. A couple weeks ago, a motion was made about the National Trust’s involvement in the design and construction of the Stonehenge tunnel and roadway as part of the A303 Expressway.

As stated in many previous blogs, this road will cut through the Stonehenge landscape: landscape that has not been fully examined for potential discoveries.

Imagine if that road goes ahead and discoveries are unearthed like the Pictish artifact. In this case, it was a completely unexpected discovery not in a designated World Heritage Site. In the case of Stonehenge, there has been plenty of warning that such discoveries exist. Where? It’s not known because the land requires further examination. Uncovering a significant find should not be left to an accidental discovery by road workers who may not realize initially what they find. Perhaps they won’t realize until it’s too late and the find is destroyed. There are too many examples of this happening to fairly cite. I'll cite one: Bog bodies found by farmers harvesting peat. The bodies are caught up in equipment and dragged and damaged.

Blick Mead is one part of the Stonehenge landscape. Ten years ago it was completely unknown. See:

https://blog.stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk/2017/01/15/the-blick-mead-excavations-have-transformed-the-understanding-of-the-stonehenge-landscape/

A young girl stressed the significance of Blick Mead’s discovery during discussions to protect the Stonehenge Landscape. She appealed on behalf of the next generations. What will they have to see and learn from?

There are human remains buried in the Stonehenge landscape. Groups are trying to raise awareness to protect these burials. The roadway will come close to these. Stonehenge is not a theme park. Not Disneyland.

The Pictish stone is an amazing and significant find. Thank goodness it was not damaged by the construction workers. However, do we wish to intentionally destroy a landscape when it could so easily be prevented? UNESCO has strongly advised against the proposal, but Highways England intends to proceed, despite strong opposition. To gain a better understanding of the situation, please see:

http://stonehengealliance.org.uk/national-trust-votes-against-its-founding-principles/

If you feel this is something you do not wish to see happen, there is a petition you can sign:

http://stonehengealliance.org.uk/our-campaign/petition/

Most of us reading this do not live in the UK, but we can still make our voice heard to protect an international world treasure. Stonehenge belongs to all of us. Stonehenge makes a wonderful backdrop for books and movies, but the reality is, it also has much to teach us about human history.

#blickmead #roadconstruction #roadway #tunnel #artifact #bogbodies #stonehengealliance #Stonehenge

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