Earlier on today,we noticed that Wiltshire Archaeology were back in the recently harvested field between the Berwick St James road and the River Till.  When they were last there, back in the spring before the Oilseed Rape had even sprouted, they were conducting a magnetometer survey to see if there was anything of interest in the ground that could impact on plans for a southern bypass route for Winterbourne Stoke.  Today, they had upped the ante, and were using ground penetrating radar (GPR) – a technique that can, depending on the terrain and soil composition, look deeper in the ground than magnetometry and also establish the depth of buried archaeology.

We have to ask ourselves: “Why?”

Speculation is all we have for the moment, which isn’t ideal, but there would seem to be two likely situations.  First, that the magnetometer survey found nothing and the GPR survey is something of a belt and braces activity to double-check; as once covered by a dual carriageway if the Southern route was selected, it wouldn’t be possible to look again. So it’s being done for completeness.

Second, the magnetometer survey found something interesting and they are now back for a more detailed look.  Time will tell.

The only certainty is, that along with all the other archaeology and environmental surveys for both the northern and southern routes that have been undertaken on behalf of Highways England for the A303 Stonehenge to Berwick Down Scheme, all the results SHOULD be made public.

 

Comments (3)

  • William FG

    My comments/thoughts on why are they doing more surveys after the vote?
    1) It would seem clear ( As they are not doing similar surveys on North route ) that they had not done all the surveys on the southern route they should have done before the vote. Not impressive or transparent

    If the vote has been made based on the full facts what and why are they resurveying the southern route. They are clearly missing information

    or
    2) they have already made a decision on Southern Route and they are just doing what they should have done before the vote to cover their backsides

  • Council Administrator

    We are unsure whether Highways England have commissioned similar studies along the course of the northern route on this occasion, or whether they have – very prudently – relied on the results of similar studies undertaken prior to the last public inquiry. It would be a gross waste of public money had they re-surveyed the northern route.

    We are not sure what “vote” you are referring to. Highways England were tasked with presenting HMG with their preferred route. Whilst they are obliged to “take public opinion into consideration” during this process, we don’t believe it will be made solely on this basis, or by means of any democratic process.

  • Nobis villa in agro? | Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council

    […] we hope you will soon see why.  Back on the 31st of July we published a news item entitled “What Lies Beneath” having seen Wiltshire Archaeology at work in the field that runs alongside the Winterbourne […]

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