Multi-million pound windfarm set to be scrapped after ancient stone monument discovered at site using Google Earth
A multi-million pound windfarm looks set to be scrapped after an ancient Stone Age monument was spotted on the site using Google Earth.
Workers had already begun installing 15 wind turbines on the mountain top in Wales when a walker stumbled upon a row of stones on the site and realised they were of historical interest.
Archaeologists then plotted the line of stones on Google Earth and decided the relics must be around 3,500 years old.
One expert says the 500-metre long monument is ‘almost as important as Stonehenge’ and could be part of an ancient site of worship.
The British Archaeological Trust today demanded work be halted on the windfarm in Carmarthenshire, West Wales.
Experts had supposedly already searched Mynydd Y Betws for archaeological relics ahead of the building work, so the Trust is now calling for a survey of the whole mountain.
Trust spokesman Peter Alexander-Fitzgerald said: ‘It is surprising the planners missed this important find – it is visible on Google Earth’s satellite pictures of the area.
‘It could be one of the most important stone alignments in Britain – a sort of flattened Stonehenge.
‘You have to remember that all is showing is the top of these stones – we don’t know what else is there.’
The line of stones is very similar to ones found on Dartmoor and could have a stone circle at its end.
Mr Alexander-Fitzgerald added: ‘This could form a landscape of major importance.’
Local rambler and amateur archaeologist Sandy Gerrard spotted the stones while out walking with friends.
Mr Gerrard, 52, said: ‘I was having a look around the site area when I saw what looked like a stone row.
‘My wife was walking in a separate group and when we met up she told me she had also spotted them – there was nothing else they could be.
‘If people carrying out the surveys could miss something as important and as obvious as this, what else could be hiding up there?’
Freelance archaeologist Helen Gerrard described the find as ‘tremendously important’.
She said: ‘There is only one of its type in Britain which has even been partially excavated.
‘This could be almost as important as Stonehenge.’
The Welsh Government gave Carmarthenshire County Council the go-ahead for the windfarm, which will supply enough electricity to supply 23,800 households.
A spokesman for Cambrian Renewable Energy Limited, the company building the turbines, said the firm was consulting its archaeologists and Carmarthenshire County Council.
He added: ‘Further statements will be issued when more information becomes available.’
SECRETS OF THE STONES
A stone row (or stone alignment) is a linear arrangement of standing stones set at intervals along an axis.
These usually date from the later Neolithic or Bronze Age, and can stretch over a few metres or several kilometres.
They are thought to be religious or ceremonial and could mark out a processional routes or be aligned with other monuments or topographical or astronomical features.
Another theory is that each generation would erect a new stone to contribute to a sequence that demonstrated a people’s continual presence.
The rows have been found in the British Isles, parts of Scandinavia and northern France.
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