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We didn't replace Stone Age tomb with picnic table, mayor says

MADRID - The mayor of a village in northwestern Spain denies his town council destroyed a heritage-protected Stone Age monument to replace it with a picnic table.

A dispute erupted after an environmental protection group reported to the region's Environment and Planning office the destruction of a historically important, 6,000-year-old Neolithic burial site in Ardesende.

In its place, its report says, there is now a concrete table with benches.

The group says the monument, whose granite structure formed an ancient burial chamber, is listed by the regional government's heritage directorate.

But Mayor Jose Luis Valladares Fernandez says in a statement there is no record "those stones" were catalogued, and that neighbors say they came from the demolition years ago of a building that residents called "the Big House."

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