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7 August 2007
Two-week project to safeguard Rotherwas Ribbon

Herefordshire Council is implementing its plans to preserve the Rotherwas Ribbon archaeological find (England) and protect it for future generations. A full council meeting confirmed that work on the Rotherwas Relief Road had been stopped around the site since the discovery in April of the Bronze Age ribbon of fire-cracked stones. The council also determined that no irreversible action be taken that could prejudice its preservation for future generations. Contractors have pumped standing water from land surrounding the site, which built up over the recent floods, and is preparing to apply the first few layers of protection. The process is being monitored onsite by Worcestershire Historical Environmental and Archaeology Service.
     The Rotherwas Ribbon was discovered in April this year in preparation for the Rotherwas Relief Road, which was being built to secure existing jobs and attract new ones to Hereford. Plans to protect the Ribbon were put on hold after popular demand to see the site. Around 1,000 people were given escorted tours of during July. Although recent floods and bad weather caused erosion to surrounding areas, the passage of water across the Ribbon itself was safely channelled through existing land drains over the cracked stone pathway. Temporary measures were not put in place during bad weather as this risked damaging the site. Current preparatory work involves the diversion of two land drains, away from the site, which is being done without excavation or disturbance to the Ribbon. Archaeologists are conducting a fingertip clean of the surface of the site to carefully remove any deposited silt. Access onto the feature is allowed only on routes agreed with the onsite archaeologist.
     When the site is stabilised, a number of protective, weatherproof layers will be put over the site, including a chemically resistant geo-textile layer, a layer of clean sharp sand, a further geo-grid and then capping material. Herefordshire Council is awaiting a report from English Heritage on whether the Ribbon meets the criteria for scheduling as a nationally important site. Councillor John Jarvis, cabinet member for the environment, said: "The work to protect the site has to be undertaken with care, in the right conditions and will take around two weeks to complete. It is reversible but will protect the Ribbon for future generations".

Source: 24dash.com (1 August 2007)

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