|30 April 2000
Nine Ladies Bronze Age stone circle at risk
English Heritage announced that it has commissioned a vital archaeological study of Nine Ladies Stone Circle in the Peak District National Park so that the rapidly deteriorating condition of this nationally important Bronze Age Stone Circle can be assessed.
Each year around 40,000 people visit the circa 4000 year old Stone Circle which is causing a rapid increase in erosion of this fragile site. Recent soil erosion has revealed evidence of a tenth stone and today approximately 20cm is exposed. Damage has also been caused by visitors digging holes for campfires and even chipping off pieces of stone as souvenirs.
Jon Humble, English Heritage's Inspector of Ancient Monuments for the East Midlands said: "Nine Ladies Stone Circle, the most evocative and well known of the many monuments on Stanton Moor, is a site of beauty and tranquillity for visitors, from near and far, and to many who believe the Stone Circle is of special spiritual significance. It is this popularity that has significantly accelerated the processes of decay. We must act quickly if we are to protect this mysterious and ancient site for future generations. Rather like investigative surgery, we will examine a small sample of the site to establish the extent and condition of the archaeological remains. Less than 10% of the site will be opened up and the soil removed will be less than the amount lost in the last 20 years alone as a result of erosion.
A specially commissioned leaflet "Nine Ladies Stone Circle and Stanton Moor" explaining plans for the site has been sent to all local residents of the nearby villages Stanton-in-Peak, Stanton Lees and Birchover. For a free copy of the leaflet or further information on the public meeting, please call: (+44) 01604-730320.
The archaeological evaluation will take place in May and last for four-five weeks. The work is being carried out by Trent & Peak Archaeological Unit on behalf of English Heritage and the Peak District National Park Authority. Entry to the monument is free and at any reasonable time.
Source: English Heritage (17 March, 2000)
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