Saturday, 5 February 2011

Megalithic Monday: Iron Hills South II

Some modern commentators have expressed their dislike, even their disgust for the large open cast limestone quarry to the west of this site, claiming it to be a scar on the landscape and not in keeping with the ancient monuments that surround it. I feel that this attitude does not sit well with the tradition these sites represent. The North Pennines and Cumbrian fells have always been places of industry and extraction – coal, lead, iron stone, slate, granite, and limestone. The landscape has been shaped – not just recently but back into antiquity – by these actions and the modern, usually urban, expectation that the countryside be a beautified and genteel place of recreation is unrealistic and condescending. People need to make a living, money needs to be earned and this was as true for the people who quarried stone for axe heads from Glaramara, Langdale and Mallerstang as it is for the people of Shap today. I feel our Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestors, who were acquainted with the uses and properties of stone in a way that few modern people can rival, would have understood this perfectly.

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