A CORUÑA – Biologist finds two megalithic tombs on site of future wind farm. Action is under way to preserve the historic finds. The wind farm was precisely why Mónica Fernández-Aceytuno, biologist, poet and writer, came to the area last November.
The two burial mounds, from the megalithic period – some 6,000 years old – are characteristic of Galicia. The tombs are 67 and 89 metres from where the second windmill would be erected, i.e. within the risk or incident zone of 50 to 200 metres.
A week after the discovery, and after an archaeologist confirmed these are indeed prehistoric graves, Mónica Fernández-Aceytuno informed the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Xunta, Galician government. Experts then found a third, also unrecorded, burial mound. The Galician government assured that it will ‘proceed with appropriate modifications to the location of the wind turbine’, reports the Spanish newspaper EL ESPAÑOL.
The wind turbine project is for the municipalities of Aranga, Coirós and Oza-Cesuras, in the province of A Coruña. The project cost is €15.8 million. Plans are for two more wind farms in the nearby area, with a total of 40 wind turbines. Opponents of the project on Monte do Gato have started a campaign. There are two areas in which they believe thay have just cause. The first is accusations of fraudulent practices on the part of the project initiator. Secondly, they want to protect the megalithic tombs.
A report on the environmental impact submitted by the wind farm company mentions more than twenty heritage elements in the whole area. These are mainly gravestones, included in the Ministry of Culture’s register of cultural heritage. In the area affected by the work, according to the archaeological report, there is only one historical treasure; the Bronze Age rock carving of Fonte do Oso. This is, however, ‘not considered to be at risk’.
The two megalithic tombs discovered by Mónica Fernández-Aceytuno lie in the so-called ‘risk or incident zone’. The archaeological study, published by the Xunta, states that ‘it is important to remember that every element of cultural heritage in this zone is affected, even if not directly’. There are rumours that a new report being prepared includes the new prehistoric tombs. Further, the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage is now taking the necessary corrective measures to protect the finds.
In the spotlight
Mónica Fernández-Aceytuno won’t be satisfied with just the relocation of the wind turbine. She has also filed a series of allegations to suspend the procedure that would ‘threaten the landscape’ and against the Statutory Framework of the world network of Unesco Biosphere Reserves.
‘I became an activist because I think what is happening is barbaric,’ says Fernández-Aceytuno. She refers to the Netflix film The Excavation as the perfect metaphor to raise public awareness of the importance of researching and protecting heritage. ‘It’s much more than just a pile of earth and stones, and it’s appalling to see that in other places so much effort is put into preserving treasures from the past, that we allow a wind farm to be built on a megalithic burial mound’. Whatever the outcome, Monica Fernandez-Aceytuno is shining a spotlight on valuable forgotten heritage.