Archaeologists in England say a government-owned roadway company has damaged a 6,000-year-old structure near historic Stonehenge.
Highways England workers are accused of drilling a hole in the Blick Mead platform located about a mile from the iconic monument.
“It’s complete vandalism,” lead archaeologist David Jacques told NBC News on Thursday. “We have dug in the area since 2005, carefully sieving and working at times with toothbrushes. And for them to have come in and done things with a hand drill and just smashed through the surface is really upsetting and appalling.”
The construction workers are building a tunnel that will send traffic below Stonehenge. Jacques told NBC News that the Blick Mead structure could have a critical role in understanding why Stonehenge was erected in that spot.
“The fact this lasted for 6,000 years and has been smashed through in 25 minutes is an utter shock,” he told the network.
Highway England denied that it had done any damage to the “archaeological layers.”
“Our assessments so far indicate that construction of the scheme will have no significant effects on the Blick Mead area, and the works have been undertaken in a highly professional manner, with an archaeologist on site and with due care being exercised at all times,” the company said in a statement.
However, the Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust criticized the work done by Highways England as “unbelievable and careless destruction.”
Stonehenge, located in Wiltshire, is widely considered to be the world’s most well-known prehistoric monument. It was built in several stages, with the first part erected about 5,000 years ago.