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Climbing on Standing Stones
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Re: Climbing on Standing Stones
Feb 29, 2012, 22:33
I don't disagree, but the question that I still don't have an answer to is, what are we saying is the principle behind all this discussion?

Are we saying it is about preservation and preventing damage? If so, then I agree wholeheartedly we should encourage preservation and try to prevent damage, as much as we can do so. I still feel (as I have said) that one of the best ways of achieving this is by educating and informing people about what these piles of rock and earth are, not by fencing them off and preventing access. I also think that we need to record what is there (before any other Priddy-style situation occurs) and this recording might well involve physical contact with the monument, whether it's walking around the ramparts of a hillfort, or climbing onto a cairn or barrow.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I still don't see what's wrong with Goff's cupmark picture, as I cannot see that any damage has been caused, yet it has been stated that taking it represents a "wrong" behaviour.

Alternatively, are we saying the principle is about "respecting" the monument? Tony makes a fair point about more modern cemeteries. In visiting a cemetery, or a medieval church, you are inevitably walking on someone's memorial, in some cases their actual grave. Yet, I don't think that this is viewed generally as being "disrespectful" towards those monuments. If one sets out to purposefully visit a prehistoric monument, unless you're a metal detectorist or a farmer with a JCB, you are probably visiting with some respectful purpose in mind. At least it will be your own opinion of what is respectful, and that will differ from person to person.

I mentioned a Boscawen-Un visit earlier in the thread, because it highlighted to me some of the fundamental difficulties with using such a subjective concept as "respect" as the basis for a set of hard and fast rules. People who have no "respect" won't care either way, many people who keep rigidly within "the rules" do so whilst actually showing no respect to anyone else, while those who do care will spend so much time agonising that they never leave their homes for fear of causing offence. Taking the Boscawen "ritual group", they showed no respect to any of the other visitors, although those visitors showed respect to them. Yet they can say, hand on heart, that they did not climb on the stones or cause any damage to the monument itself.
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