Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's witnessed Britain's history for 4,000 years but this ancient standing stone was no match for a 21st century hit and run driver Read more:


It had been a landmark for 4,000 years - ever since our ancient ancestors hauled a two-ton 6ft stone to the top of a Welsh mountain.

Until a bungling driver decided to do a three-point turn, that is.

The monument, which is as old as Stonehenge, was flattened when a day-tripper reversed his car onto the grass verge alongside the narrow country road where it stood.

Experts were called in to investigate the damage to the Bronze Age stone, which was put up on Dinas Mountain, near Newport, Pembrokeshire, beside the Ffordd Bedd Morris road.

The monument is a bluestone - the same as those at Stonehenge 150 miles away on Salisbury Plain.
The stone was removed today by the Pembrokeshire National Park Authority to prevent it being stolen after last weekend's collision.

Phil Bennett, the park's culture and heritage manager, said: 'The stone has been an important landmark for 4,000 years.

'But someone has come along and given it a clunk with their car and it was enough to topple it over.
'We've moved it for now to a secret location because we felt there was a very real chance it could have been stolen.'
Mr Bennett said: 'Local people have been brought up with the monument which is an important landmark in the parish. We want to get it back up as soon as possible.'

Archaelogists are carrying out a small dig at the site while the stone is out of the ground.
It will be returned to the site later this year - this time set in 21st century concrete.

Archaeologist Professor Geoffrey Wainwright, an expert who has worked on several sites in the Preselis, plans to play an active role in getting the stone reinstated.

He said: 'It’s a tragedy, the stone has snapped and it’s a real mess.

'It’s an important landscape feature and an important archaeological site and it must be put back as soon as possible.
'Hopefully the stone should go back up and no-one will ever know the difference.

'For centuries people have gone up the top road and seen the stone, which is a scheduled monument.'
The Bedd Morris dates back to the formation of Stonehenge, which experts believe was built in around 2500 BC.
It weighs two tons and is around 6ft tall. It is a bluestone - the same as those used at Stonehenge.

The landmark was named after a legendary bandit called Morris who robbed people travelling in the West Wales hills. The word 'bedd' means grave in Welsh.

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