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18 July 2010
Bronze Age site at risk in Berkshire

A Bronze Age settlement in Berkshire (England) has been labelled at risk from damage and is in need of conservation. The unexcavated  settlement is listed 'At Risk' on the English Heritage Register. Experts at the organisation stated that they believe it could be restored within a year.  The Highways Agency, which owns most of the land, said that it would work with English Heritage to protect the ancient site.
     The ground above the settlement is becoming overgrown with shrubs and trees, the roots of which experts fear could grow down and damage the architecture underneath.  The site dates from 1000 BCE and is on the Berkshire side of the county border on the south bank of the Thames stretching under the M25 bridge.
     Regional director of English Heritage for the South East, Dr Andy Brown, said: "We are hoping we will be able to persuade the owners to manage the regulation of the land and if this happens hopefully the site can be removed from the At Risk Register next year."
     English Heritage said it did not know who owned the land, however investigations have revealed that most of the property belongs to the Highways Agency, which has responsibility for England's roads. A spokesman stated: "The Highways Agency is committed to playing its part in protecting the environment. Much land near the motorway is of special value, such as sections of ancient woodland or areas of archaeological interest. Where such areas are owned by the Highways Agency, we will work with the relevant authorities to ensure that they are protected or enhanced. Such a section of land is the area near the Runnymede bridge near junction 13 of the M25, and we have arrangements in place to ensure it is preserved. We enjoy a close working relationship with English Heritage and will work with them to see that their concerns about vegetation growth on the site are addressed."

Source: The Villager (12 July 2010)

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