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Three-quarters of a million people come to Stonehenge every year (half as many again as came in the late 1960's), while very many more see it as they pass along the neighboring highways. The great stones, which would have seemed huge to an eighteenth-century visitor on horseback, are dwarfed by the coaches that bring their twentieth-century successors. The central stone circle has been closed to visitors since the late 1970's, because it became frequently grossly overcrowded, the land surface was being rapidly eroded, and even the stones were in danger of sustaining serious damage. Those who come now, although they have to view the stones from 10 meters (33 feet) or more away, are at least given a more total picture then they might otherwise get. They would have an even more complete picture if they were to explore the wealth and variety of the 451 other monuments and features of the area.

Meanwhile, although it is a dual carriageway for most of its length, the A303 is reduced to a single carriageway and is a notorious traffic bottleneck as it passes by Stonehenge and through the neighboring village of Winterbourne Stoke. Official plans to more than double the width of the A303 in this incredibly sensitive area have provided a focus for anger and dissent; finally, after a definitive planning conference in late 1995, the British government accepted in 1996 that if the landscape was to be respected any upgraded road must be underground.

This is a vision for Stonehenge's future that in some ways brings it all full circle once more, and the prospect of the millennium has galvanized action. The vision is for a landscape without the sound and sight of the roads; in which the land is returned to grazed downland pasture, in which visitors will be free to wander throughout this broad, sacred sweep of ground and have access to the stones themselves which has been denied for so long.

[Souden, David. Stonehenge Revealed. New York, NY. Collins and Brown, Ltd. c 1997 p. 148]

5. The central stone circle at Stonehenge was closed in the 1970's because:
a. The British government wanted to spark interest in the other portions of the monument.
b. The stones fell over due to land erosion and had to be reset.
c. Too many visitors were conducting pagan rituals.
d. Visitors were overcrowding the monument, the land was eroding and the stones were in danger of being damaged.
e. The view of the stones was being obstructed by the huge coaches that bring visitors to the monument each year.


 Submitted Answers
Student: 1/26/2010 7:24:34 AM

The correct answer is D.

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