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Protecting, Preserving and Enhancing Our Cultural Landscape


For immediate release, 4/6/04


This is a sad day for the Thornborough Henges Complex, which English Heritage has called “the most important prehistoric site between Stonehenge and the Orkneys”. Already half the setting of the only triple henge complex in the world has been destroyed by open-cast quarrying and, now, despite being made fully aware of its national significance, Tarmac has applied to quarry yet more of this sensitive landscape at Ladybridge Farm.

The management of Tarmac Northern attended a recent conference at which eminent archaeologists emphasised that, in order to understand this unique henge complex, it is vital to study in depth the landscapes in which they are set ~ and that what remains at Thornborough is a minimum sample that ought to be protected for future research and public enjoyment.

Employing their own tame archaeologist to hastily record any buried archaeology immediately in advance of the diggers, as has been done at the existing quarry, will prevent future experts using new technology to learn more about the settlement and evolution of this ritual landscape than is possible with currently available methods. Open-cast quarrying destroys forever, not only the fragile evidence of early man’s activities, but the entire agricultural landscape and leaves deep water-filled pits as our inheritance for future generations.

Jon Lowry, Chairman of the Friends of Thornborough Henges said, “It is appalling that a company which attempts to project itself as a supporter of archaeology is prepared to sacrifice yet more of this national treasure for the sake of its own profits. I can assure Tarmac that it is in for a long fight and call upon all citizens of this country to join our demand, by writing to their MPs, that the Government takes immediate action to protect this outstanding example of our national heritage by declaring it an Area of Archaeological Importance.”



Note for Editors:

The Friends of Thornborough Henges is a voluntary group dedicated to saving for the nation the surviving setting of the Thornborough Henges Complex near Ripon in Yorkshire. People can join our campaign by contacting

For further information on this press release,
contact our Publicity Officer on or Jon Lowry on

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