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By Colin Smeeton
Police Scotland this week renewed their appeal for help with their investigation after reports of vandalism on one of the large standing stones at Machrie Moor.
The recent damage was reported by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) which discovered incised graffiti on the Neolithic and Bronze Age site during a routine inspection.
A spokesperson from HES said: ‘Machrie Moor standing stones are a particularly well-preserved landscape of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments.
‘They were likely used for religious and ceremonial activities by the people that lived there.
‘On a recent visit to monitor its condition, we were concerned to discover that one of the stones has been damaged by incised (carved) graffiti.
‘As well as being a Property in the Care of Ministers, the standing stones are also designated as a scheduled monument.
‘This means they are legally protected and damage to them, such as graffiti, is a criminal offence.
‘This is not the first time this has occurred at Machrie Moor and we will once again be working with Police Scotland to investigate.’
After a report was lodged with Police Scotland, and Arran police sergeant Kevin Blackley, and constable Lauren Wright, visited the site to inspect the damage.
Sergeant Blackley told the Banner: ‘It is utterly disappointing that someone would think that it is acceptable to do this to an archaeological site which dates back to around 3,500 and 1,500 years BC.
‘The site is open to the public all year round with unrestricted access and should be treated with the respect that it deserves. Visitors must leave the area as they found it, with no trace that they have been there.
‘We have been working with Historic Environment Scotland to ensure that all of their sites on Arran are preserved for future generations and it saddens me when incidents like this occur on the island.
‘I would urge anyone who recognises the symbols, or who has any information relating to this enquiry, to contact Lamlash police on 101, quoting incident number 2085 of Thursday May 5.’
Machrie Moor is a site of rich archaeological significance.
The moorland includes stone circles, the standing stones, burial cairns and cists, hut circles and an extensive field system, all dating to between 3,500 and 1,500 BC.
The stone circles of Machrie Moor are part of a wider archaeological landscape that contains a wide variety of ritual sites and settlement remains.
Anyone with any information about this incident is urged to contact Police Scotland on the 101 number or an anonymous call can also be made to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.