| 8 January 2005
Heritage Action campaigners always very active
Thornborough Henges campaigners have clashed again with quarry firm, Tarmac. This time it is over a British Museum exhibition of archaeological treasures that is being sponsored by Tarmac, prompting accusations of "breathtaking hypocrisy" from Heritage Action campaigners.
The group has been at the forefront of opposition to plans by the quarry firm to extend its sand and gravel operations at Nosterfield Quarry, close to the prehistoric henges north of Ripon (North Yorkshire, England). Members of Heritage Action staged what they describe as a "low key and respectful protest" outside the Hidden Treasures exhibition at Manchester Museum. The group is aiming to give out specially created 'Heritage Sweets' to people visiting the exhibition.
Spokesman George Chaplin said: "This is a marvellous exhibition and we hope as many people as possible will see it, but we want them to also reflect on who is sponsoring it and why. Tarmac Northern are applying to quarry the surroundings of Thornborough Henges and the buried archaeology there is treasure as well." Mr Chaplin added: "We find Tarmac's behaviour breathtakingly hypocritical. People ought to be aware that Tarmac is seeking credit for helping to exhibit treasure in Manchester while trying to destroy it forever in Yorkshire. We'd be delighted if people pause to talk to us before they go in, we hope that giving out our special sweets will serve as a welcome ice breaker."
But Tarmac chief executive officer Robbie Robertson defended his firm's sponsorship of the exhibition and said he was "saddened and surprised" that Heritage Action should want to picket it. "This major exhibition of British archaeology provides the public with an opportunity to see some of the most spectacular treasures ever found in Britain, many of which are recent discoveries," said Mr Robertson. "Careful investigation, recovery and recording of artefacts is an on-going feature of our quarrying operations and, through working with professional archaeologists, we believe that we have added significantly to knowledge and understanding at Nosterfield and other sites across the UK."
Sources: Nidderdale Today (6 January 2005), Knaresborough Todat (7 January 2005)
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