| 3 February 2012
Prehistoric stone row discovered in Wales
Sandy Gerrard, a former English Heritage designation officer for 20 years, reported the discovery of an ancient stone row on the site of a proposed wind farm in Wales. It seems that the row at the Mynydd y Betws wind farm development went unnoticed by archaeologists researching the site prior to work starting.
There are two roads scheduled to cross the stone row but work has now stopped in the area around the row pending clarification by archaeologists working for Cambrian Renewable Energy Limited, the company building the wind farm.
"There are currently three scheduled monuments on Bancbryn and we decided to head straight there. Within moments we had identified several sites including a number of stoney mounds, a few hollows, a line of pits with associated banks and leading into and returning out from the fenced off area - a line of stones. In amongst these archaeological features but significantly not actually touching any of them were the scars of archaeological trenches indicating that excavation had indeed happened but appeared to have missed all the visible archaeology," said Mr Gerrard. "Our visit confirmed there were indeed archaeological remains and we are confident that future work will demonstrate that they are of some importance," he added.
Mr Gerrard said that the stone row is probably the most important of the features found and as it is associated with over 30 cairns, some of which are kerbed, it seems to form the focus of an incredibly important ceremonial landscape where the form of space between the numerous earthwork and built elements are as integral and important as the earthworks themselves. Mr Gerrard has spent much of his archaeological working life on Dartmoor and he believes the form of the newly discovered stone row is so identical to the same rows in England as to suggest a definite and tangible link between these people. The small size of the stones reflects what was available and even on Dartmoor some of the rows are formed by similar sized stones.
GPS measurements allowed experts to trace the stone row for 700m. The row is aligned south west to north east which is the most common alignment for South West England rows. Many of the stones peep through the peat and many more are probably lurking below.
"The discovery of this exciting monument has been tempered by the realisation that it is being cut into three parts by the new roads and the feeling that if it had been known about before it could have perhaps been saved in its entirety," said Gerrard. "The site is delicate and the huge diggers which have been trundling across it have already caused irreparable damage. It is to be hoped that the row will survive its amputation and outlast its temporary ignominy. To this end I have asked Cadw to schedule the monument as a matter of priority to ensure that any straying diggers do not complete the destruction," he concluded.
Edited from Heritage Action News (26 and 29 January 2012)
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