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Rare monument find leaves wind farm in doubt  

Credit:  South Wales Evening Post, www.thisissouthwales.co.uk 18 January 2012 ~~

The future of the Mynydd y Betws wind farm was thrown into doubt last night after experts said they had discovered a 5,000-year-old monument near the site.

The news has been welcomed by Swansea Valley campaigners, who have been protesting against the 15-turbine construction.

Freelance archaeologist Helen Gerrard has 30 years’ experience and is one of those who identified the find.

“This is tremendously important,” she told the Post.

“It probably dates to sometime around 3,000 BC and is extremely rare simply because it is so old.

“There is only one of its type in Britain which has even been partially excavated.

“It could be almost as significant as Stonehenge.”

The monument is thought to be a neolithic stone row.

It would have been used as a type of ancient meeting place, the site of festivals and religious ceremonies.

Mrs Gerrard said stone rows from around this time were very rare in Wales, most being found in south-east England, near Stonehenge, and in northern France. She said they were usually found near burial sites.

Asked how sure she was that the find was genuine, she added: “To all intents and purposes this looks exactly like what it is.”

Cambrian Renewable Energy Limited, the company building the wind farm, was understood to have halted the diggers after news of the discovery broke.

But a spokesman confirmed that work had since continued in an area away from the row.

The spokesman added: “Cambrian Renewable Energy Limited is consulting with its own archaeologists and Carmarthenshire Council on the potential significance of some findings discovered at the Mynydd y Betws wind farm site.

“Further statements will be issued when more information becomes available.”

The news has buoyed efforts by local campaign group Communities Acting Together.

Member Geoff Moore said it was important not to risk damaging the site.

“This stone row is of national importance and has been verified by two independent experts,” he said.

“I cannot stress how important this find is for our heritage here in Wales.

“We have a wealth of archaeology on that mountain which must be preserved.”

Mr Moore added that the potential find had come despite tests which had been carried out as part of the planning application.

“If this major piece of history was missed, what else is undiscovered?” he added.

Source:  South Wales Evening Post, www.thisissouthwales.co.uk 18 January 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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