Carved stone controversy continues
Society wants Moors stone to go on display - taken from the article by Julie Hemmings in Yorkshire Post Today
One of the country's last surviving literary and philosophical societies may challenge the decision to deny it the chance to display an important archaeological discovery.
Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society, which runs the town's museum, was disappointed to miss out on a significant carved stone, more than 4,000 years old, which was found on the North York Moors near Fylingdales.
The stone was one of thousands of archaeological remains exposed by a major fire on the moors last year and archaeologists believe it is of national importance.
Since the fire in September last year, conservationists have been working to restore the landscape to its original condition. As well as preserving the ecology of the area, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the work is intended to protect the artefacts and earthworks from erosion by the weather. These efforts will continue for some months but the carved stone already has been returned to the earth where it was found. Before this was done archaeologists laser-scanned and photographed it.
Neil Redfern, English Heritage's inspector of ancient monuments, said the stone had been reburied as it "belongs on the Moors", adding that putting it in a glass case in a museum would not have made it any more accessible to the public. He said the image scanned from the stone might serve in the making of a replica, which could be touched, unlike the precious original.
However, some historians are arguing the stone should have been put on on public display and are disappointed not to have been consulted about its future. Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society chairman Fred Payne is meeting members next week to discuss the matter. "We feel it should be exposed, rather than buried again," said Mr Payne.
"It should be on display, and in Yorkshire, if not in Whitby then at the Yorkshire Museum in York.
"To my knowledge, no-one locally was consulted."
Peter Barfoot, the authority's head of advisory services, said the laser-scanned image showed more detail on the stone than could be seen with the naked eye.
Posted by Rhiannon
4th January 2005ce
Edited 18th January 2005ce