Fighting the Right Fight

Posted on September 21, 2011

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A post from Heritage Journal talked about the impact of wind turbines on the Raith Stone Circle-

The stone circle, which is mostly destroyed is not impacted directly but it is the visibility or landscape significance to the circle which will be ultimately compromised by the wind turbines.

The emphases is my own. I have a real real big problem with this line of thinking –  monuments are compromised by wind turbines because they can be seen from people at the monuments. (this is not an attack on this post but I have had a problem with this for a long time, this post just brought it up) The problems I have:

  1. Visibility- we assume that stone circles were not surrounded by trees and that the landscape was visible. We don’t know that!
  2. Landscape is important- we assume that whoever made a monument cared about what the view was from what they built. We don’t know that and there are indications to the opposite.
  3. Most importantly, we are spending a lot of energy fighting development over views that the general public will not appreciate. We all complain about those news articles that portray archaeology preservation in a bad light but this will not help the view that archaeology is a waste of money.
  4. Yes, I like a good view as much as the next person but it is a subjective opinion. I like how wind turbines look so in my view it improves the view. Why is that opinion not taken into account.
  5. Finally, the views now have houses, farms, roads, etc. in them. They are not not nor probably ever will have the same views as in prehistoric times. Which brings me to-
  6. What view is the right view? How about during the middle ages or 100 years after a monument was built, those people had different views of the landscape. Why don’t we try to replicate those views?

Basically, we are fighting battles for something that may not exists and can not be replicated. Not only that, we are fighting for only a few people’s interpretations of what the landscape should look like and we still don’t know what that landscape actual looks like.

We are just alienating lots of people for what is, in my opinion, a waste of resources. Heritage and archaeology should be about knowledge and not about trying to create a reality that may or may not have existed so we can freeze it for all time.

Posted in: Wildcard