Debate Magazine

Between Some Rocks and a Hard Place.

Posted on the 13 March 2014 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth
From The Western Daily Press:
A plan to build thousands of new homes for soldiers returning from Germany could have to be changed – because they will be built on the horizon where the sun rises on summer solstice at Stonehenge.
The Ministry of Defence said they were ‘aware of the issues’ and were organising a meeting with experts on the stones.
Last night there were growing calls for the particular site, on a 100-year-old airfield at Larkhill in Wiltshire, to be discounted from the plans to house 4,000 soldiers and their families returning from bases in Germany.

Between some rocks and a hard place.
Yes of course, it would be cultural vandalism to actually block the sunrise, but we can safely assume that Homeys in that area would violently oppose any new homes being built within miles of anywhere. But in principle, why not build a lot more homes a respectful distance away from Stonehenge?
A good counter-example springs to mind here:
What is so pleasantly surprising about Rome is that ancient Roman structures are dotted among what is otherwise a perfectly normal large European/Mediterranean city. And it must be nice to live in a flat or work in an office from which you can see the Parthenon, the Colosseum or whatever charming little jumble of excavated ruins happens to be just off a busy roundabout.
Between some rocks and a hard place.
These things were built in the center of their civilisation, just as Stonehenge was. The Roman ruins are still in the center and you'll happily interrupt your journey to spend ten minutes having a nose round, but Stonehenge is just a sorry little bunch of rocks a few hundred yards off the A30. Some motorists might make an impromptu break and go and have a look but most drive straight past.
My delight at seeing these random bits of old Roman stonework (which might all be faked, I'm no archaeologist) were in no way diminished by the fact that thousands of people pass them every hour of the day; even if Stonehenge (which in turn was re-assembled during the 19th and 20th centuries on the basis of good guesswork) ended up in the middle of a large park in the middle of a medium sized town, people would still visit it, wouldn't they? In fact, probably more people would visit it.

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