Reports began to circulate in early June concerning damage to one of a series of four remarkable Neolithic monuments in Somerset, southwest England. However, the scale of the damage to the Priddy Circles is only now being fully appreciated.
A ruined monument
The four Circles are listed together as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and as such are under the protection of the State. Somerset County Council confirmed it was working in conjunction with English Heritage to pursue a resolution for this distressing situation, which arose when the landowner, Mr Penny, allegedly used his earth-moving equipment to bulldoze, flatten and reseed the entire southwestern arc of the southern circle.
Damage to ancient monuments can result in large fines – along with requirements to reinstate or repair – and in extreme circumstances, a prison sentence can be handed out to the perpetrator, under the 1979 Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act.
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