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Climbing on Standing Stones
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Re: Climbing on Standing Stones
Feb 26, 2012, 14:31
Resonox wrote:
I suppose (just to contrdict myself) if any excuse can be said to be just cause...I'd probably lean to the "recording of markings"....but if this was genuine...could it be arranged so that some form of unobtrusive access be arranged under licence....I don't really know how feasible puitting up scaffolding, taking pictures off of ladders...or even some kind of cherry-picker hoist would be....others more expert in this field (NPI) might have more ideas.

And so nothing would be done, because the unfeasible cost would prohibit it (unless it's at - yawn - Stonehenge, or maybe Avebury). There are tens of thousands of prehistoric monuments in these islands, slowly being eroded by farming, trees and vegetation, rabbits and badgers, or bulldozed away to build more roads and more houses. The proportion that the "guardians", if you want to call them that, actually can afford to visit, investigate or even give a toss about is very very very very VERY small.

One of the reasons I find TMA (the site) so compelling is because it acts as huge encouragement to Get Off Your Arse and go and see these places. I know that the large visitor numbers that the "show" sites get bring their own problems, many of which are highlighted in this thread and others. But for the vast number of monuments - and I really do mean the vast majority, like 98% - no-one but us (and similar amateur enthusiasts) is bothered. These sites will disappear, unvisited, unrecorded and unprotected.

A large number of posts and threads on this website stem from discussions about the things that Stukeley, Aubrey, Borlase, etc recorded that are now gone forever. If someone doesn't record stuff now, in another 200 years there will be a whole load of similar lamenting. And cost (and lack of manpower) means that the professional bodies can't/won't do it.

You only have to look at many of Gladman's pictures of the lesser-known hillforts of the southeast, full of dumped rubbish and with banks eroded, or a lot of the cairns and circles that Drew has photographed, surrounded by rusty wire and damaged by afforestation. These places are being destroyed, inch by inch and incrementally. Entropy increases, after all. Then there's Priddy, where a large chunk of 4,000 year old earthwork was destroyed in a matter of hours. These are vulnerable sites that need to be recorded while they're still here.

Does this mean we should all go and climb up the nearest standing stone to look for cupmarks? Probably not. But I think we are in danger here of over-inflating the danger and damage than can actually be caused by such an act, when put up against the factual, irrevocable and much greater damage that has - and still is - being caused to monuments (many of them scheduled) by landowners and users who plough them down, plant trees on them, dump rubbish in them, or even wilfully destroy them.
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