Town Thinks Ancient Tomb Is Picnic Table, 'Fixes' It
Archaeologist calls it a "monumental error"
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2015 6:50 PM CDT
Tweet comparing the ancient tomb to the picnic table it was replaced with.   (Twitter)

(Newser) – Usually municipal workers taking the initiative to replace a broken picnic table would be heralded as a minor civic victory. However, that's less the case when the "broken picnic table" was actually a 6,000-year-old tomb under government protection. NPR reports the tomb is believed to have been built by Neolithic Celtic settlers in what is now the town of San Cristovo de Cea in Spain. After removing the granite slabs they thought had been parts of a bench, workers poured concrete into the burial chamber and topped it off with a picnic table. A Spanish archaeologist tells the Local he was "horrified" by the "monumental error" after an environmental group discovered what had happened in June.

Town officials say they weren't aware the tomb was even there, despite it being listed as a heritage site. "No one told me," the mayor tells El Huffington Post. "The site wasn't even marked." But a regional government department is investigating the situation and tells the Local "the town council was well aware of its existence." According to NPR, this kind of thing isn't unheard of. Two years ago, workers in Belize accidentally ruined a 2,300-year-old Mayan pyramid because they needed rubble to fix a road. But more often these ancient sites are destroyed on purpose. Last year, for example, developers dismantled a Native American burial ground in California to make room for some million-dollar homes. (This kid knows a thing or two about accidentally destroying precious things.)