Stonehenge, Bluehenge and a heritage cover-up?

Though somewhat outside the remit of Avebury Matters, the recent announcement in the press of a 'Bluehenge' close to Stonehenge is exciting news indeed. One wonders, however, why knowledge of this discovery was not made public before now. Not all remains hidden however. Mike Parker-Pearson (director of the Stonehenge Riverside Project ) is due to give a talk at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum on the 10 October* and it seems certain that Bluehenge will not only be given more of a hearing on Saturday than hitherto planned but will now also be discussed in some detail. Sadly, the cover-up label is going to stick to this one for a long time to come - though we can't help thinking those playing their cards so close to their chests in this instance have only themselves to blame for that label.
But putting that to one side, if there's no danger to the Bluehenge site itself surely it should have been mentioned when it was first found. Any talk of first having to verifying 'carbon dating' before informing the public of the find really is nonsense; of course such data needs to be examined before anything scholarly is published but preliminary findings, especially findings of such a high concentration of bluestone chips so close to Stonehenge, is a pretty clear indication of something very important within the area. Something surely the public has an immediate right to know about and not something that should be kept secret until individuals, corporations and organizations think they should be told.
So what's the real reason for the delay in announcing this potentially very important discovery at Bluehenge? Couldn't be could it that, because of sponsorship deals, our American friends will get to see it on their TV screens before we do? We smell a rat with a big $ sign round its neck and a couple of book deals under its paw. It's all very well saying that the only way to fund such excavations is to secure sponsorship deals but, although that might be true in purely financial terms it also smacks of a serious lack of moral fibre - ie the selling of heritage discoveries to the highest bidder. We're accustomed to seeing such shenanigans in politics and international trade - re: Britain's kowtowing to the Chinese in order to secure our markets there while China's ethnic minorities are flushed down the pan; or 'our' sucking up to Saudi Arabia re: BAA Systems in order for 'us' to secure lucrative arms deals with said same 'county') but it's sad to see it now happening in the world of archaeology. What happened to ethics and things done in the public interest? In this case our heritage, and keeping us informed as and when it happens
As with a lot of things with the heritage label, protecting it and sharing new finds with the public as and when they occur doesn't seem to matter any more. Sponsorship, TV deals, the writing of books, papers and the advancement of personal reputations seem to be far more important.

* Mike Parker-Pearson will be talking at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum on Saturday, 10 October 2009. More information here - His forthcoming book, If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge, published by the National Geographic Society, will be available from April 2010.