Is nothing sacred anymore? Some people are chipping and stealing stones from the quarry where the Stonehenge stones were cut from and selling them on eBay. Officials are demanding that they cease and desist as well as return any unsold pieces to them.
The stealing started late last year when news broke that experts had confirmed that the bluestones at Stonehenge were cut from Carn Menyn on the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, 5,000 years ago and moved 160 miles to their current location. There was also news that the stones may have first been a monument in Wales before being taken down and moved, but that’s no reason to steal them either.
Officials from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, which is responsible for the location, say chunks of the Preseli bluestone are being hammered out and illegally removed from the Mynydd Preseli Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Preseli Special Area of Conservation (SAC). These are both historic and sacred sites with numerous stone circles, henges, burial chambers and other remains from the Neolithic period.
Commercial quarrying ended in the area in the 1930s. While it was occupied by British and American forces for training exercises during World War II, local protests stopped it from being used after the war and it became a protected park.
Bluestones chipped from the Preseli Hills have recently been spotted for sale on eBay for £8 (a little over $11). Stealing from the park is illegal, although it’s not clear what the punishment for the crime might be. Whatever it is, it’s not enough, says archaeologist and professor Geoff Wainwright.
The Preseli bluestones hold the key to the meaning of Stonehenge and Carn Menyn was a special place from whence they came. To take fragments from Carn Menyn is to violate a part of our heritage which has been valued for over 4,000 years. When a piece of bluestone is removed from the crags at Carn Menyn, unique information about the past is lost and cannot be recovered. We have all been robbed.
If we’re the ones being robbed, then we should decide the penalty for stealing Stonehenge stones. A big fine? Pillory? Public flogging? Perhaps Stonehenge needs a curse like Pele's Curse in Hawaii which brings bad luck on anyone who steals lava rocks from a volcano.
Is nothing sacred anymore?