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12 November 2006
Prehistoric carved stone back home on English moors

Museum officers have left no stone unturned to get a prehistoric rock back to its moorland home. The Heygate stone with its intricate carved cup and rings returned to Baildon Moor (West Yorkshire, England) after a five-year absence to go on permanent public view at Brackenhall Countryside Centre. The stone, which dates back around 5,000 years, was discovered by chance in 2001 by a local landowner out walking in his field. Two years later the man - who was legally entitled to keep the find - donated it to Bradford Council's Museums, Galleries and Heritage Service for safe-keeping. And from November 11th, people will get a chance to get up close to the stone which measures around 60cms high and 45cms wide.
     The Heygate Stone exhibition officially opens at 1pm at the countryside centre in Glen Road. The Council's archaeology expert Gavin Edwards is hoping a big turn out will be there to welcome it back. "It was found on the moor and we've always been keen to get it back there," he said. The Stone, which has been in storage, will be the centre of attention in a new exhibition telling the story of other Bronze Age carved rocks also unearthed on Baildon Moor. The stones are all part of a nationally important cluster of carved rocks across the district taking in Rombalds Moor and its internationally known Panorama stones and Swastika rock at Ilkley.
     But one thing missing from the exhibition will be an accurate explanation of what the stone carvings are all about. Mr Edwards said: "We still don't know for sure. There are hundreds of possible theories from observations of the sky to reconstructing family units in the landscapes, the small indentations could be huts and the rings could be enclosures. "It's fascinating how the carvings could be telling us something about how our ancestors lived. "What we do know for sure is when people come to look at the Heygate Stone they can be certain they are looking at a stone that someone else did four or five thousands years earlier before using their hands to make those mysterious marks. It's something tangible and real - but what we don't know of course is what that person was thinking at the time." There is also a chance there could still be another part of the Heygate Stone still out there. The stone, which measures 60cms high and 45cms wide, looks as though it could have broken off from a bigger piece.
     Winter opening times at Brackenhall Countryside Centre are Wednesdays and Sundays only from noon to 5pm.

Source: This is Argus (11 November 2006)

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