To go back in time for a moment:
29th August 2007(email to Fachtna McAvoy from Michael Russell, English Heritage Management)
‘I must instruct you that under no circumstances must you visit the Silbury site.’
(deep inside the re-opened 1776 shaft, photo Fachtna McAvoy 2000)
(inside the re-opened Atkinson tunnel, photo Fachtna McAvoy 2007)
Alongside these physical activities I participated in (very) many meetings and prepared, collaborated and commented on (very) many documents which firstly identified, quantified and suggested solutions to threats to the future preservation of all of the archaeological evidence for human endeavour and aspirations that Silbury represents; and secondly put forward an accepted and detailed design for the implementation of those solutions. As an aside I also played a part in the delivery of a planning decision that Silbury was a ‘building’ and could not be designated as ‘open access’ land.
I could be involved in all of this because I was an archaeologist with English Heritage (Chief Executive Dr Simon Thurley); the manager of parts of the archaeological work; a member of the Silbury Hill Conservation Project Board and (on occasional secondment) the Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Silbury and for the Avebury part of the World Heritage Site (WHS).
Looking back at this time the highlights for me were discovering the WHS sites for myself and talking to some of the people who cared about them: - in public gatherings in Devizes; in ‘professional’ and ‘academic’ fora; in English Heritage and the National Trust; but above all else in meeting people at Silbury and in Avebury and in discovering a wider WEB-based community of interest and concern.
18th June 2007 (Letter from Brian Kerr FSA to Fachtna McAvoy)
‘You asked me to write to set out the circumstances behind the decision to withdraw you from the management of the Silbury Hill archaeological project last week.’
24th August 2007 (Email sent to 'all' on behalf of Brian Kerr FSA)
‘Following allegations made against Fachtna, which he vigorously contested, he was withdrawn from the site at Silbury Hill. The subsequent investigation has cleared Fachtna of these allegations.
Jim Leary will continue to manage the current programme of fieldwork to its completion, while Fachtna remains Project Manager for the assessment, analysis and dissemination programme.'
13th September 2007 (Letter from Brian Kerr FSA to Fachtna McAvoy)
‘At our recent meeting, we agreed that you should remain project manager for the archaeological component of the Silbury Hill project. This was confirmed in the e-mail sent out on my behalf on Friday 24th August. It has since been made clear to me that in agreeing to this I was exceeding my authority.’
So how and why did things come to this?
This website includes documentation from 2007 and 2008 that should help to answer to these questions.