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Appendix C. ASLaN Sacred Site Charter

If this book has piqued your interest in megalithic sites, please read the following charter outlining what is, and what isn't, respectable behavior at these sites. Many sites have been lost over the centuries due to vandalism and willful destruction. We would like to ensure that no more are lost for the same reasons.

In an effort to preserve our dwindling megalithic sites, the following requests are commonly included in literature that discusses megaliths. While a simple plea such as "Please don't trash megalithic sites" might be more appropriate for a book of this type, such a plea is, sadly, often ignored. We are including this document in the hopes that it will have more impact and impart a greater understanding of the issues involved.

We'd also like to draw your attention to the fact that many sites are in government care and, as such, any destructive behavior is illegal.

Doom and gloom aside, the sites are there to be enjoyed and have different meanings for different people. Enjoy!

  • Please take care when visiting sacred sites to leave them as the next visitor would like to find them. Respect the land and all its inhabitants -- people, animals, and plants.

  • Digging holes for any purpose will damage plants and probably insects and archaeological remains. Damaging archaeology makes it harder for us, and future generations, to understand the history of the site. Damaging any aspect of the site will damage the spirit of the place.

  • Lighting fires can cause similar damage to digging. A fire can damage standing stones -- if they get too hot, they split. Fires can spread quickly in summer, killing wildlife, and it can be very difficult to make sure a fire is truly out. Fires also cause archaeological damage by preventing geophysical surveys and contaminating archaeological layers with ash and charcoal. Heat, candle wax, and graffiti damage moss and lichens, which can take decades to recover. Damage caused by fires will damage the spirit of the place.

  • If an offering seems appropriate, please think about all its effects. Don't leave artificial materials. Choose your offerings carefully so that they can't be mistaken for litter. Please don't bury things. Biodegradable offerings decay -- please bear this in mind if you leave them. If there are already offerings at the site, consider the effects of adding more.

  • Please don't take anything, except litter, from a site. Much of the vegetation around sacred sites is unusual or rare, so don't pick flowers. Don't take stones -- they may be an important part of the site in ways that aren't obvious.

  • In times past, it was traditional to leave no traces of any ritual because of persecution. This tradition is worth reviving because it shows reverence to nature and the spirit of the place.

  • Don't change the site; let the site change you.

ASLaN is the Ancient Sacred Landscape Network, formed to be a national focus for the preservation and protection of sacred sites and their settings, and maintenance of and access to them. More information on ASLaN can be found at:

http://www.symbolstone.org/archaeology/aslan



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