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By Dr Sandy Gerrard

The opportunities to be involved in the decision making process are apparently endless these days. Our opinions are sought on everything by both the private and public sectors. Sometimes we are simply asked what we think about a particular issue or perhaps how we intend to vote. The information collected is analysed and supposedly the results help to make life better for us all.

In the archaeological world sometimes a consultation is carried out to collect expert opinions on what something might be. This was the case at Bancbryn where the inept Cadw officers, perhaps hoping to shift the responsibility for deciding what “that line of stones” might be, decided to ask some “experts” what they thought. They duly sent out information on the alignment and asked the “experts” what they thought it might be. As is the Cadw way they were very selective with the information they sent, and withheld or “forgot” to send the paper which presented the prehistoric case.

Stone alignment at SN 68736 10026. View from NE.

Stone alignment at SN 68736 10026. View from NE.

Inevitably, given that the “experts” were only sent information that supported a historic context for the alignment they all responded saying they thought it must be of historic date. They helpfully all added a few comments which sadly suggested that they were rather less expert in this field than one might have hoped, as many of their remarks betrayed a total lack of knowledge of the resource being assessed.

As far as I can tell no one with any real expertise in stone alignments was consulted and certainly nobody was sent the information needed to carry out an objective, balanced and impartial assessment.

How would you feel if you turned up at hospital with a broken ankle to be seen by an eye consultant who had been given notes on another patient?

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