Vandalism destroying moorland relics


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Vandals could be destroying some of the country’s most valuable carved rocks and stones, experts warned yesterday. 

The damaged stone on Rombalds Moor [Credit: Ilkley Gazette]

A principal West Yorkshire archaeologist says he has “serious concerns” about the future of the carved rocks and stones on Rombalds Moor, Ilkley, after a spate of attacks. 

He believes their lifespan could be cut short by a black dye, which has been daubed on some of the carvings. 

The latest attacks was reported this week when dye was daubed on the Idol Stone on Ilkley Moor, apparently highlighting some of its features. Ian Sanderson, principal archaeologist at the West Yorkshire Archaeological Advisory Service, described the act as thoughtless. “We’ve got serious concerns,” he said. 

“The archaeology on Rombalds Moor and the carved rocks are all of national importance. 

“The actual grafitti damage and the chemicals can impregnate the rocks and lead to increased erosion. 

“Removal is difficult and can be problematic. It’s thoughtless activity which can be destructive of very important archaeological remains which belong to all of us. It’s criminal activity as well.”  

Author: Jonathan Redhead | Source: Ilkley Gazette [July 14, 2011]


  1. This form of vandalism is now being termed “twenty-first century informal unauthorised carvings” and is actually sanctioned by Ilkley Parish Council members, local businessman Tom Lonsdale and his affiliates as artistic “tradition”! Indeed, the damage done here and vandalism done on some other ancient carved stones that have been redesignated by Tom Lonsdale and friends as “twenty-first century informal unauthorised carvings”, has actually legitimized and encouraged others to follow in their shallow-minded ignorance, enabling others to add their own form of ‘art’ on these supposedly protected monuments, on a region with an alleged SSSI status.

    It is thought that one of the stones which these 'artists' are going to carve a poem on (vandalise) actually possesses cup-markings.



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