|24 September 2015
Neolithic tomb in Spain replaced with picnic table
Builders in a Galician village in Spain confused a Neolithic tomb with a broken stone picnic table and replaced the 6,000-year-old artefact with a brand spanking new concrete bench. In what one archaeologist dubbed a 'monumental error' the ancient tomb, that had heritage status and was therefore meant to be protected, has been completely destroyed.
Galicia's Department of Culture, Education and Universities has launched an investigation after the picnic bench - which sits on a solid concrete slab in the town of Cristovo de Cea in the northwestern region of Galicia - was placed on top of an ancient tomb.
Local environmental group Grupo Ecolozista Outeiro reported the incident. "The rolled concrete and modern picnic bench have caused irreparable damage, replacing what was a prehistoric cemetery of the first inhabitants of Cea..." the group wrote in a report that it sent in June to Galicia's public prosecutor, which has opened a file on the case.
The mayor of Cristovo de Cea has spoken of his surprise at the investigation. José Luis Valladores claims to have had no knowledge of the ancient site before the picnic bench was constructed. But a spokesman for Galicia's Department of Culture, Education and Universities said that in 2008, the Galicia's Director General for Cultural Heritage "authorized archeological research to take place in San Cristovo de Cea", emphasizing that "the town council was well aware of its existence".
"I was horrified when I heard this news," Juan A Barceló, a professor of prehistory at the Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona, said. "It is a monumental error. In Spain, no-one is allowed to take the individual decision to rebuild an historical monument, specially when it is classified in the national register, as it was." Barceló added that "This is not representative of Spain where monuments over 100 years old are all preserved by law. But sometimes accidents happen."
Edited from The Local (26 August 2015)
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