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The British Museum has also announced a forthcoming exhibition of artefacts from the Stonehenge period which they [have gathered] over the last five years from all over Northern Europe.

This is a part of a test taken from Virginia Evans' grammar. Why is there explicitly(see brackets in the texts) used present perfect tense? It is my opinion that there can be used present perfect continuous as well, but when I looked at the key, there was only present perfect tense as a possible solution. Could the key be wrong?
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If it were "they have been gathering", that would lead the reader to believe that the museum is still gathering artifacts at this very moment. Generally, an exhibition of this magnitude will have been planned and cataloged well in advance. Even the emplacement and lighting of the artifacts will have been thought through long before the exhibit begins.
But according to the Martin Hewings' grammar, present perfect continuous can be used for an action that has recently finished.
example:
Sorry I'm late. I've been trying to find a parking space.
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I've been trying to find a parking space.

To me, this is an incomplete action.
I've not yet been successful in parking my car.

This is what I would say:
Sorry I'm late. It took me 20 minutes to find a parking space.
AlpheccaStars wrote: I've been trying to find a parking space.

To me, this is an incomplete action.
I've not yet been successful in parking my car.
But...
scenario: I see a parking space...and I see another car stopping a little way passed it, intending to reverse into it. I zoom in and take the space.
He: Hey, that's my parking space!
Me (not a nice person!) : I've been trying to find a parking space for half an hour - I've been looking longer than you. It's mine!
The action is complete - AND I have been successful: I am parked in the space.

We need to think further about the nature of Present Perfect Continuous!
Let's take it slowly and start by looking at these three verb forms:
It rained.
It has rained.
It has been raining.

djolec: what is your understanding of the difference, as opposed to what Hewing might say?
scenario: I see a parking space...and I see another car stopping a little way passed it, intending to reverse into it. I zoom in and take the space.
He: Hey, that's my parking space!
Me (not a nice person!) : I've been trying to find a parking space for half an hour - I've been looking longer than you. It's mine!
The action is complete - AND I have been successful: I am parked in the space.

Not really, you are still arguing about who has the right to park in that coveted space.
Further, several minutes later I would not go into the the meeting and say to my boss: I am sorry I am late. I've been trying to find a parking space for half an hour.
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AlpheccaStars: Not really, you are still arguing about who has the right to park in that coveted space.

No way! The other driver might see it that way, with the idea that he can get me to relinquish the space; but I am the speaker of the fateful words (in Present Perfect Continuous), and `'it's mine."

I can see where you are going ( and partly, I agree with what you regard as an aspect of the Perfect Continous; but to understand why I also disagree with a blanket interpretation, as if that is the fundamental nature of it rather than just one aspect, consider this:
"I have been trying to get his head out from between the railings for an hour; and then you come and do it within seconds. I guess the Fire Department really are the specialists in rescue!.

The child's head is out from between the railings, and I stopped 'trying' when the firemen arrived.

Your solution to djolec's dilemma was to change the sentence.
Instead of our to-an-fro-ing, why don't you explain the nature of Present Perfect Continuous, taking into account what Hewing said that has perplexed djolec.
TerryxpressNo way! The other driver might see it that way, with the idea that he can get me to relinquish the space; but I am the speaker of the fateful words (in Present Perfect Continuous), and `'it's mine."
You are justifying your position with the argument: "I have been trying for a longer time that you, so I deserve this space".
As long as you are defending your position, the event is not over and done. That is the purpose of the continuous - to show a continuation of a situation up to (and including the time of utterance.

In the second sentence, I would have used the past perfect continuous and past tense. It is clearer that the event finished in the past, and you are not still struggling with it.

"I had been trying to get his head out from between the railings for an hour; and then you came and did it within seconds. I guess the Fire Department really are the specialists in rescue!.
That is the purpose of the continuous - to show a continuation of a situation up to (and including (NOW) the time of utterance.
It has rained here for a week.
...........||NOW............
It has been raining here for a week.
...........||NOW............
Both up to NOW.

...and therefore, to answer your question, djolec, the difference between Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous is.......

Please, you continue.
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