Ancient stone mysteriously dug up and moved
AN ancient stone has been mysteriously dug up and moved 200 yards away.
The Cat Stones on Catstone Hill, in Strelley, are among a series of naturally-occurring sandstone rocks in the Nottingham area.
Some believe them to be markers in an ancient pathway connected to the famous Hemlock Stone, in Bramcote.
The Cat Stones formation in Strelley is in a hollow which contains seven stones.
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A separate stone used to sit on the opposite side of the hill, but the landmark was removed when the area was quarried in the 1940s.
That stone has never been found and its spot has remained empty – until last Wednesday when Mr Earp took an archaeologist to the site.
They found that one of the seven stones from the hollow had been moved to the opposite side of the hill, very near to where the original "cat stone" used to sit.
In place of the stone that had gone missing – known as the notch stone because of a groove that ran along its top – was rubble and an iron bar, which Mr Earp believes had been deliberately placed there, perhaps to convince archeologists there had once been a building there.
"Someone must have moved the stone using machinery and then in its place put a lot of rubble, but not just any rubble, this was obviously quite deliberately chosen," he said.
"It's very bizarre. It's like someone was trying to make out this stone was the original cat stone."
It is not the first time Mr Earp has visited the site to find stones have been moved.
Two were dug out of the ground and upturned in the 1990s.
Out of the ground the stones measure about 5ft in depth and would weigh several tonnes.
This has led Mr Earp to believe it is not vandals but perhaps someone treasure hunting or looking to discredit him as a historian.
Mr Earp had visited the site on Wednesday as part of the Three Stone Project – a new study thought up by himself to scan the Hemlock Stone to produce a 3D computer image.
The landmark can then be viewed in extraordinary detail by geologists and historians across the world.
Theories over its origins include a place of worship for druids and one myth suggests it landed on the hill after being thrown by the devil.
Mr Earp and the archeologist were considering including the Strelley Cat Stone in the project which will also scan Bob's Rock, off Nottingham Road, Stapleford, and the Druid Stone, on the outskirts of Blidworth.
Mr Earp said: "This is potentially a site of great archeological importance if my theories about a prehistoric passageway are correct.
"If we had dug and found evidence of bronze-age pottery or stonework it would have been one of the biggest archeological discoveries ever made in Notts.
"Whoever has moved the stone has done a lot of damage to the site."