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15 January 2018
Bronze Age mounds at risk in the North York Moors park

Burial mounds dating back thousands of years are at risk from hikers erecting stone cairns to mark routes across the North York Moors National Park, about 400 kilometres north-northwest of London. Efforts to protect prehistoric monuments in the park from stone-robbing goes back more than a decade.
     Archeological consultant Linda Smith, commissioned by the park as part of its campaign to raise public awareness of the problem with cairn-building, says other ancient remains are at risk of being disturbed and some prehistoric monuments were being vandalised: "Placing a plaque to commemorate a loved one adds a modern intrusion or it may be fixed to a stone with prehistoric carvings. Modern graffiti is sometimes carved into the stones of a prehistoric monument."
     The park is home to 842 protected sites and scheduled monuments. While only a small number are affected by walkers building modern cairns on top of them, work is ongoing to ensure ancient monuments are protected and remedial work to burial mounds was carried out to repair the worst damage last year. Rambler's cairns have been from two monuments, and erosion damage to areas of earthworks repaired. A sign has been posted at a Bronze Age burial mound explaining what it is and asking people not to add stones to it.
     The park's monument management scheme officer, Mags Waughman  Waughman, says two more cairn removals will take place this winter, and walkers will be encouraged to follow the official routes. Ms Waughman adds: "A third project is at the planning stage and will involve repair of the damaged earthworks, but this is unlikely to take place before the summer."

Edited from The Yorkshire Post, The Northern Echo (10 January 2018)

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