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New windows into the past

[Tuesday 01 February 2011]

History buffs now have more and more facts about the Yorkshire Dales National Park at their fingertips on the internet.

Staff at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) have just completed a massive overhaul of the Authority’s Out of Oblivion website spanning thousands of years of human history.

And the result is a more up-to-date and comprehensive library of fascinating facts for everyone from schoolchildren to professional historians.

Robert White, the YDNPA’s Senior Historic Environment Officer, said: “The website is called Out of Oblivion because a lot of the facts it contains were not that well known and have been made public over the last few years. It opens a window on prehistoric life in the National Park – a period we don’t know a lot about – as well as events as recent as the Cold War.”

“The website now contains even more information covering the prehistoric period and a lot of it is largely due to the work of archaeologist Yvonne Luke, who has been carrying out detailed research as part of her PhD.

“One of the main findings of her work revolves around Ingleborough, which was traditionally believed to be a hill fort. Historians had believed for many years that it was the stronghold of the Brigantes, a tribe that opposed the Romans. Yvonne’s research suggests it is much older and was used for religious rituals.”

The new-look website has an impressive collection of maps and photos to help visitors to identify ancient sites in the National Park.

And there is more information about the ancient mounds of stones – called cairns – that were put up over other Bronze Age burial sites in the area.

These historic sites are now under threat from some of today’s visitors, who take the stones to build cairns of their own.

“We would urge walkers to resist the temptation to pick up stones and build cairns – wherever they are – because they can unwittingly damage these important sites,” Robert said.

“The stone mound at Beamsley Beacon near Bolton Abbey is one example of a site that has suffered in this way and we have spent a lot of time repairing it.”

The website can be found at www.outofoblivion.org.uk.

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