Video buffs looking for crop circle secrets climbed into Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, allegedly damaging the biggest man-made Neolithic mound in Europe. The fields surrounding the hill are where the largest and most intricate crop circles have appeared, and some researchers speculated that some sort of energy was released when the hill opened up last year. Since the event, the most spectacular crop formations in history have appeared.
English Heritage closed the 4,000-year-old mound to the public after an 18th century mining shaft reopened at the top. It has just been discovered that trespassers broke into the site at night, soon after the hole was discovered, because video of the break-in has been included in a documentary film.
After tunneling under the temporary roof installed by English Heritage, two climbers lowered themselves into the shaft, while a third filmed their actions. They repeated the climb on a rainy winter night six months later.
Archaeologist Mike Pitts says the climbers dislodged the soft clay sides of the unstable shaft, possibly damaging vital archaeological clues. ?They were extremely lucky to come out again alive. Between their two visits there was a major collapse, which they joked about in the video of their December visit,? he says.
Footage of their adventure is part of a video by Dutch filmmakers Janet Ossebaard and Bert Janssen, who have attempted to sell the video at tourist sites in nearby Avebury.
Pitts says that shopkeepers refuse to stock the video and legitimate crop circle researchers who come to Wiltshire every summer have almost universally condemned the stunt. ?This video depicts the criminal trespass of an ancient monument. So how these people can imagine that they can sell it without being criticized is impossible to believe,? he says.
English Heritage has been criticized for not doing enough to protect the site. As repairs to the hill get under way, they are doing a seismic study that will create a 3D computer image of what is inside the mysterious mound.
Silbury Hill is near the ancient stone monument of Stonehenge, and no one knows exactly why either one was built. Many believe Silbury was sacred, while others think it might have been a Stone Age junk yard.
Included in the video is a photo of a burn mark on a mobile phone carried by one of the climbers, apparently caused by intense heat on his climb up the mound. It is evidence, they say, of the power coming from the hill. Mike Pitts, however, is skeptical: ?I suggest that they may have jumped on the phone while clambering about in the dark.?
Unknowncountry.com Opinion: It is inevitable that crop circles, as they draw more and more worldwide attention, are also going to draw vandals and careless or incompetent observers. Stonehenge now exists behind an elaborate security screen. Will a time come when the entire English countryside will have to be rendered off-limits to prevent it be despoiled by people who will not or cannot respect the land and its magnificent heritage?
For more about the hole, go to Earthfiles.com
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