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22 October 2004
Ancient footsteps retraced by henge protestors

A 5,000 year old ceremony is to be recreated this week as campaigners carry an ancient ceremonial axe through Yorkshire's "Sacred Vale" to Thornborough (England). The axe originally came from Scotland and was deposited unused in a bog near the henges during the Neolithic period (circa 3,000 BCE).
     "The area between Catterick and Boroughbridge can claim to be one of Britain's first great religious and ceremonial centres" said George Chaplin of Heritage Action. "It contains Britain's largest concentration of prehistoric henges. We are staging a march through this "Sacred Vale" to highlight that the area is an immensely important part of our local and
national heritage and that plans to quarry the surrounding archaeology are akin to vandalism."
     The trek will take place on Friday and Saturday 22nd and 23rd of October and takes in all of the original ancient ritual landscape - seven mighty henges and a giant stone row, as well as many other monuments that line the route. The route focuses on the mile-long triple henge monument at Thornborough, the location of a bitter battle between protestors and quarry firm Tarmac.
     The marchers will carry with them a prehistoric stone axe that last travelled the route five millennia ago. The axe originally came from Scotland and was deposited unused in a bog near the henges during the Neolithic period
     "If the destruction of the surroundings of any of these monuments is allowed to continue it would be a national disgrace. We hope that by setting up this heritage trail people can be given the chance to explore this little known but supremely important landscape. The more people that get to know about it the more chance there is that it will be saved," said Mr Chaplin.

Source: Heritage Action press release (19 October 2004), BritArch Mailing List (22 October 2004)

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