Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Planet Earth

Badgers vs. Saxons on Salisbury Plain

The burrowing creatures are wreaking havoc on ancient artifacts. 

By Kathy A SvitilJune 27, 2004 5:00 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Archaeologists investigating burial sites on Salisbury Plain, home to Stonehenge, face a new challenge: badgers. The animals have already tunneled through about half of the region’s 52 Neolithic long barrows—layers of bone and artifacts covered with chalky soil.

As they dig, they fling around dirt, bone, pottery, and other relics, destroying the historical context of the layers. Sometimes the damage is macabre. “The grave of one Saxon woman has a tunnel running right across it,” says archaeologist Allan Morton. “The badgers gnawed off her arm.” The destruction is likely to continue unchecked. In Britain, badgers are protected by strict laws, making it hard to relocate them—or reduce their numbers by other means. “At this rate, there will be irreparable loss to our heritage in a couple of hundred years,” Morton says.

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 50%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In