The siting of the proposed tunnel near to Stonehenge would destroy an Ice Age site, archaeologists have warned.
A University of Buckinghamshire archaeologist has claimed that Highways England has incorrectly sited Blick Mead excavation on an official document, so the construction of the tunnel and flyover would be less damaging.
Blick Mead is the only place in the UK that can trace people living there since the end of the Ice Age.
The University of Buckinghamshire’s David Jacques said: “If Highways England and the government can’t even locate Blick Mead in the right place how can we trust anything in this process.”
The Government approved the planned 2.9km tunnel in September last year, when the route was published for the £1.6bn expressway scheme to link the M3 with the M5.
The Stonehenge tunnel is a key part of the £15bn Amesbury to Berwick Down section and will reconnect the two parts of the 2,600ha World Heritage site at Stonehenge.
Highways England project manager David Bullock said: “The document in question is a land ownership boundary plan. The plan shows indicative general features and was never intended as a geographical map.”
“We have just announced the start of statutory consultation on the A303 Stonehenge scheme and we welcome feedback from all interested parties during this process.
“Consultation will start on Thursday 8 February, which will provide an opportunity for everyone to give their views on our proposals and we would like as much feedback as possible. This will help us to make sure we have got the best scheme, or highlight where we still need to make changes, before we make our application to build the scheme.”
Jacques also claims that the building of the flyover and the tunnel is likely to drop the water table and result in the loss of the current peat and silty conditions which preserve foot prints and other crucial evidence which dates the site.
He continues: “The Stonehenge world heritage site landscape is unutterably precious and you tamper with it at your peril – you cannot make it come back.
“The UK government, the National Trust and English Heritage either value that or they don’t. The tunnel scheme will clearly compromise the archaeology. Whose interest would that be in?”
Details of the consultation can be found here.