British engineers meet with archaeologists over damage near Stonehenge

Dec. 6 (UPI) — British engineers were set to meet with archaeologists Thursday to discuss damage to one of the ancient platforms near Stonehenge, which occurred during drilling.

Archaeologists say government engineers from Highway England mistakenly drilled the large hole through the 6,000-year-old man-made platform consisting of bone and flint near the historic site while drilling in preparation to build a tunnel and flyover site.

The drilling occurred at Blick Mead, about a mile and a half away from the world-famous neolithic stones, The Guardian reported.

The 6,000-year old structure preserves footprints of aurochs, giant prehistoric cattle that are now extinct.

Highway England engineers said weren’t aware of damage to archaeological layers on the site caused by their work. They have agreed to meet with the archaeological team led by David Jacques, a senior research fellow at the University of Buckingham to discuss the matter.

“This is a travesty,” Jacques said. “We took great care to excavate this platform and the aurochs’ hoofprints. We believe hunters considered this area to be a sacred place even before Stonehenge. These monster cows — double the size of normal cattle — provided food for 300 people, so were revered.”

Prior to the incident, archaeologists raised concern that construction near the site would cause the water table to drop.

“It the tunnel goes ahead the water table will drop and all the organic remains will be destroyed, Jacques said. “It may be that there are footprints here which would be the earliest tangible signs of life at Stonehenge. If the remains aren’t preserved we may never be able to understand why Stonehenge was built.”

Highways England engineers have agreed to monitor the project’s water levels and a spokesperson said “assessments so far” show no significant effects on the historic site.

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