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22 July 2004
Panorama Stone markings may be forged

Ilkley's Panorama Stone (Yorkshire, England) is known around the world for its distinctive "ladder" motif, thought to be a of prehistoric origin.  But the designs are more likely to have been added by a Victorian workman, according to a local expert.
     Gavin Edwards, Museums Officer, Archaeology, at the Manor House in Ilkley, stumbled across evidence of possible fraud and skulduggery whilst carrying out research into the Panorama Stones. And now his findings are set to send shock waves around the archaeological community. But even more surprising, in his view, is the fact that the evidence has been in the public domain for almost a century.
     Mr Edwards believes Victorian illustrations and a report in the Ilkley Gazette in 1913 point to the fact that the ladder design considered to be extremely rare prehistoric artwork - was added to the original, authentic cup and ring markings. As evidence he produces a Victorian illustration, which appeared in a publication in 1896 and includes the disputed markings.
     He says: "Evidence that the marking on the rock might have been altered in Victorian times is provided by a number of contemporary illustrations." These show significant differences, which might be argued to result from artistic licence or oversight, but a report that appeared in the Ilkley Gazette, March 22, 1913, suggests something much more deliberate.
     The report describes a lecture by Mr T C Gill, Bailiff of Ilkley Moor, in which he suggests that some of the markings may have been added. The Bailiff even named the person he believed may have been responsible. One Ambrose Collins, a workman employed at the Semon's Convalescent Home from 1872-73 was reported to "spend most of his leisure time carving and ornamenting the rocks near the home, evidently hoping that at some future time they would be discovered and become famous."
     Mr Edwards believes his argument is likely to prove controversial as the ladder markings on the Panorama stone are internationally renowned. But he believes the evidence is too powerful simply to ignore. He said: "Once you see the drawings and see the difference, and then read the article you cannot help but come to the conclusion that there is probably something very dodgy about this."

Source: Ilkley Gazette, This is Bradford (16 July 2004)

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