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Last Updated: Monday, 20 December, 2004, 12:06 GMT
Fire reveals moor's stone legacy
Ancient rock
The fire uncovered a 4,000-year-old carved stone
A carved stone thought to date back more the 4,000 years has been discovered following a large fire on the North York Moors.

The relic which is unique in England, was found after the blaze near Fylingdales in September 2003.

English Heritage archaeologists say the stone was one of 2,400 features uncovered by the fire.

It has a carved zigzag design and has been returned to the ground after being photographed and laser-scanned.

The fire was the biggest on the North York Moors in living memory and destroyed a huge area of heather moorland.

It was thought to have been started by a discarded cigarette in a waste bin on the nearby A171 Scarborough to Whitby road.

Neil Redfern, an English Heritage inspector of ancient monuments, said: "The fire had a devastating impact, but it has also revealed an astonishing archaeological landscape.

"When we stepped over the scorched terrain and reviewed aerial photographs we were confronted by a vast number of features we had no idea existed before.

"To find such well-preserved signs of settlement and human activity over such a long period in such a small area is amazing."

Apart from the stone other finds include Mesolithic flints, 185 carved rocks, old trackways and waterways linked to the alum industry together with slit trenches from World War II when the moor was used as a military training area.

A three-year project to restore the moor's range of habitats for wildlife and plants has been given a 200,000 grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The vegetation will also protect the archaeology beneath the ground.

Fire crews checking for Moors 'hotspots'
22 Sep 03 |  North Yorkshire
Moors fire still burning
21 Sep 03 |  North Yorkshire
Helicopter fights moor fire
19 Sep 03 |  North Yorkshire
Moorland fire 'escalating'
18 Sep 03 |  North Yorkshire

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