Galician town fights to keep its precious rock

Residents of Castrelo do Val battling regional government over ancient menhir

A small town in Galicia is battling the regional government over an ancient menhir, or ritual stone, that was discovered by a resident two years ago and local citizens claim is rightfully theirs.

The government gave the town of Castrelo do Val until Friday to hand over the monolith or the man who found the stone would be fined 150,000 euros for breaking cultural heritage protection laws.

José Luis Lozano found the stone, which is between 2,900 and 3,200 years old, while he was working a plot of land he had purchased. When he contacted an archeological expert, word got out last April that he was keeping a menhir. Two battles ensued: one between residents and local authorities; the other between the regional government and an Ourense museum where the menhir is to be taken.

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