Firstly, I suspect this is not the right forum for this issue, so I
think the correct thing is to move it to Britarch.
That 'megaliths.co.uk' site is of course full of nonsense. You seem to
be implying that it's similarly batty to oppose what's being done up at
In urban environments, sites built on top of archaeology go to great
lengths not to damage what's underneath, such as building foundations on
small cross-section concrete posts. One hears how excavation and
intrusion is minimised, the argument being that in fifty years' time
(say), techniques will have moved on to recover more data.
Can I ask how do you propose protecting the undiscovered archaeology
under the areas of quarrying for future generations? Should you not be
excercising more caution? You are a county archaelogist, is your role in
the council not one of environmental conservation?
You seem to be saying we don't have enough evidence to act, what more
can we do? That's where campaigners could help.
I'm sure that a few years ago people were rubbishing (pun not intended)
the linear alignments of the cairns in the Kilmartin Valley - indeed a
henge was completely quarried away up there. These days I understand
that the concepts of a 'sacred landscape' are quite well accepted, in
places such as around Stonehenge, Bodmin Moor and Kilmartin.
As you say, research is ongoing, and perhaps more evidence will appear
of a more widespread archaeological landscape. Will you then stand up
and say 'Oops, sorry, we allowed it to be quarried away'.
I shall be covering this issue in my forthcoming Site Watch column in
3rd Stone magazine and would like to put your side of the story,
although I normally expect 'your side' to be that of the developers!
Prehistoric sites in the UK, Ireland and beyond
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Neil Campling wrote:
> Dear All,
> As well as the Friends site, you may wish to visit the following site
> Megaliths.co is the "original megalithic decipherment site".
> Dear John and All
It is extremely irresponsible for another curator to promulgate these
kinds of "causes" without first checking with the local curator about
the accuracy of the case.
The Thornborough Henges are not under threat. They are a Scheduled
ancient Monument. The "sacred plateau", which is a construct of a few
local individual's imagination, is also not under threat. The idea of
lakes around the middle and southern henges is a "red herring" put
forward by one or two people who are opposed to wetland conservation and
shooting rights. There are currently no planning applications for, and
not even any discussions about, quarrying around the middle and southern
henges. The last quarrying permission was granted in 1994 and the
closest it comes to the northern henge is 330m. The quarry in which
landfill has occurred was worked in the 1960's, and the landfill
operation was granted some 20 years ago, and is a response to try and
get back to a more normal landscape (rather than a great open void).
The "Friends of Thornborough" web site is full of inaccuracies,
misrepresentations, and false assumptions. Many of the visualised "post
alignments" are figments of peoples' imaginations: the alignments either
don't exist or the pits show no evidence of posts. The "sacred plateau"
is composed of a series of monuments that were never used
contemporaneously, but over 1000-1500 years. The real issue is one of
"stand-off" distance, what is the setting of the henges and what
distance around them should be kept free from development. We have some
informal ideas, but no evidence to support any specific stand-off
distance in a court of law or public inquiry. At present there are
three or four research projects on-going which are looking at various
aspects of the archaeology and palaeo-environmentology of the area
trying to come up with a better understanding of the prehistory of the
area and a better idea of setting or sacred space for the monuments.
But in the meantime, there are no proposals for further quarrying or
landfill, and there is no threat to the monuments. Please do not
believe all you read on Internet web sites. This goes back a couple of
years to the FISH e-conference and my comments in response to Richard
Morris. We need to use our critical faculties more when it comes to
If any of you wish to discuss the case in more detail or clarify any
points, then please contact me directly first on (01609) 532330 or
[log in to unmask] . Please do not sign the petition: it
only shows you've swallowed the misrepresentations of the web site hook
line & sinker.
1 September 2003
I have received the attached e-mail, and I must say it seems beyond
belief that there could really be extensive quarrying and landfill
proposals in such an important archaeological landscape.
Is this really correct, and if so what on earth has gone wrong?
Planning and Development Service
The Highland Council
Inverness IV3 5NX
Direct line 01463 702502
This Email (and any attachment) is intended for the exclusive use of the
addressee(s) only. You should not disclose its contents to any other
person. If you receive this message in error, please contact the sender
and delete the message. Thank you
Opinions expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily represent
those of my employer.
From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 13 May 2003 20:53
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: fw: Please help: sign online petition to save Thornborough
Please sign the petition below and please forward it on to EVERYONE,
ANYONE, ANYWHERE who might just possibly care.
if you are unaware of the current proposals please visit the Friends of
Thornborough website at
Thank you for reading this.