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29 May 2004
Nine Maidens' restoration nears completion

Work to restore and repair one of West Penwith's (Cornwall, England) well-known prehistoric stone circles has neared completion, in a joint project between the county council's Environment and Heritage Service, Defra and the Nine Maidens Commoners. The Nine Maidens Stone Circle has undergone extensive works including scrub clearance, drainage improvements and footpath repair.  As a final enhancement, the three long-fallen stones will be re-erected after a preliminary excavation to locate their original sockets.
     The erosion of the monument and surrounding area has been caused by visitors and trail bike users. Paths leading into the circle had become eroded and muddy while thick gorse had grown over parts of the circle. Ann Preston-Jones, an archaeologist from the county council's Historic Environment Service, said: "This is a really exciting project. The Nine Maidens is a fine example of one of Cornwall's famous stone circles, but at the moment it seems neglected and sad. The work will greatly improve the condition and accessibility of the site. Clearing away the gorse will make the site more visible, but restoring the fallen stones will make it look even more impressive."
     When first recorded in the mid 18th century, there were 19 stones surviving of an original ring of 22. Now, there are only 11 stones and of the surviving stones, six stand upright, two are leaning heavily and three have completely fallen. Other prehistoric monuments surviving close to the stone circle include the stump of a standing stone and several Bronze Age barrows, as well as the famous Men an Tol. Together they indicate that this area was an important focus in prehistoric times.

Source: The Cornishman, This is Cornwall (27 May 2004)

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