Tuesday 25 April 2017

Wiltshire Council Advice to English Heritage About the A344

The traffic regulation order made in relation to the A344 does not place any restriction on the movement of pedestrians, cyclists or equestrians.

The gating arrangements were installed at either end of the A344 with the specific purpose of restricting access to motorised vehicles, whilst allowing passage by horses and horse drawn vehicles.

English Heritage have no authority to stop any person from using the A344; they act as agents for the Council in relation to the issuing of permits for those vehicles exempted by the order. Any unlawful use of the road by e.g. motorised vehicles, is a matter for the police to enforce, not English Heritage.

Whilst English Heritage acts as agents for the highway authority in issuing permits for vehicular users of that part of the A344 subject to the TRO, that is the extent of any authority they have in relation to the A344.

The only permitted obstruction to passage along the road are the formally permitted gates, which legal users must be allowed to open.

The placing of cones, barriers and other obstructions in the highway is a legal offence, as provided for in Part IX (Lawful and Unlawful Interference With Highways and Streets) of the Highways Act 1980. The Council, as local highway authority, has a duty under s130 to protect public rights on the highway.

Wiltshire Council understands that English Heritage might find the placing of signs, cones etc in the carriageway as being helpful to their visitors; however, the road is an asset for enjoyment by the wider public, and their lawful rights must be respected by English Heritage, regardless of the impact on and implications for English Heritage’s interests in the area.

Wiltshire Council seeks confirmation from English Heritage that they understand the extent of their powers in relation to the A344, and not to place further such obstructions, nor to seek to intimidate in any way any users of the highway exercising their lawful rights.

Table of Stonehenge Bluestone Provenances - Updated April 2017

UPDATED with information from Rob Ixer  April 2017

Rock types
Stonehenge stone
Spotted dolerite Group 1
Carn Goedog
Stones 33, 37, 49, 65, 67
Unspotted dolerite Group 2
Cerrigmarchogion or Craig Talfynydd
Stones 45, 62
Spotted dolerite Group 3
Carn Breseb, Carn Gwfry, outcrop near Carn Alw or outcrop w of Carn Ddafad-las
Stones 34, 42, 43, 61
Spotted dolerite ungrouped
Most likely Mynydd Preseli
Stones 31, 32, 35a, 35b, 36, 39, 41, 44, 47, 61a, 63, 64, 66, 68, 69, 70, 70a, 70b, 71, 72, 150
Rhyolite Groups A-C
Craig Rhosyfelin
Stones 32d & 32e
Rhyolite Group D
?Fishguard Volcanic Group
No stone identified; from debris only
Rhyolite Group E
?Fishguard Volcanic Group
Stone 48
Rhyolite Group F
?Fishguard Volcanic Group
Stone 46
Rhyolite Group G
?Fishguard Volcanic Group
Stone 40
Volcanics Group A
?North Pembrokeshire
Stones 32c, 33e, 33f, 40c, 41d
Volcanics Group B
?Fishguard Volcanic Group
Stone 38
Sandstone (Devonian)
Senni Beds, South Wales
Stone 80 (Altar Stone)
Lower Palaeozoic Sandstone

Stone 40g, 42c

Information from Simon Banton's Stones of Stonehenge site  http://www.stonesofstonehenge.org.uk/ and  Rob Ixer's uploaded papers on Acedemia.org https://independent.academia.edu/RobertIxer
Mike Parker Pearson, Richard Bevins, Rob Ixer, Joshua Pollard, Colin Richards, Kate Welham, Ben Chan, Kevan Edinborough, Derek Hamilton, Richard Macphail, Duncan Schlee, Jean-Luc Schwenninger, Ellen Simmons and Martin Smith (2015). Craig Rhos-y-felin: a Welsh bluestone megalith quarry for Stonehenge. Antiquity, 89, pp 1331-1352 doi:10.15184/aqy.2015.177

"Carn Menyn (or Carn Meini), was once suggested as the source of the Stonehenge bluestones (Thomas 1923), although the sample set currently available provides no geological evidence for this!"

Wednesday 12 April 2017

The Heritage Value of the Stonehenge Tunnel

An FOI request provides the Heritage valuation of the proposed Stonehenge tunnel - in otherwords an estimate of how much richer the country will be if the A303 is removed from the surface near Stonehenge.

The full documents are available to download from https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a303_stonehenge_contingent_valua 

Brief quotes are:

 "Other impacts (such as economic and environmental) are considered in the overall business case and use the methods described in the Department for Transport’s transport appraisal guidance (WebTAG). This study is carefully designed to exclude those other impacts to avoid double counting. This study focuses exclusively on the cultural heritage impacts of removing the A303 from its current location within the WHS in terms of noise reduction, increased tranquillity, visual amenity and reduced landscape severance."

We provide summary results of the contingent valuation of the hypothetical reduction in noise, increased tranquillity, increased visual amenity and reduced landscape severance associated with the removal of the A303 from part of the Stonehenge WHS. The main result is a total net benefit of £1.3bn resulting from the road scheme. The total net benefit aggregates those willing to pay for the road scheme, net of those requiring compensation for it. The aggregated net benefit sits within a 95% confidence interval of £1.1bn and £1.4bn. The values elicited comprise two drivers of welfare; (i) the use value derived from changes to the heritage experience; and (ii) the non-use value which people place on the existence of the altered WHS including bequest value to future generations. It is not possible to separate these values into use and non-use values."

The Virtual Sounds of Stonehenge

Researchers from the University of Huddersfield conducted mathematical acoustic analysis of Stonehenge's archaeological plan. When digitally reconstructed, the stones' original placing revealed surprisingly sonorous properties.

"If you build something that is circular, it has circular acoustics. So the acoustic and the sound of the space comes from the shape of its design. So when it was designed in the particular shape it has, in particular the circles, it created visual effects. But it also created acoustic effects," lead researcher Dr Rupert Till told Reuters.

Till composed an interactive soundscape for the model, with the sound of birds and the wind moving through the stones, as well as a soundtrack of Neolithic 'music'. He added that the stones had acoustic features as good as some concert halls, and are particularly suited to loud rhythmic music.

A 'virtual tour' of Stonehenge called the Soundgate (for Apple) or here for Android, is being released as an app that transports people back to various eras in Stonehenge's history, including when the standing stones were at their zenith, and long before the traffic noise from the nearby A303 road.

Using a smartphone or tablet, and with a pair of headphones, users can move around the digitally reconstructed stone circle while listening to the changing acoustics.

"Over time the monument has developed, and our app shows different phases of that development so you can see what it looked like 5,000 or 4,000 years ago, through a thousand years of development," added Till.