What do you do when you have an empty patch of green at a junction of suburban roads next to a newsagents shop? Perhaps it became a focus of antisocial behaviour, littering and maybe it simply was a mess (or a mixture of these and other factors). At some point, a decision that the best way to render the space unusable by fencing it, so no one has easy access. This speaks a lot about the tensions between aspirations and realities in suburban housing and landscape design. It becomes a suburban non-place.

Just under a decade ago, the decision was made to do this to a patch of ground in a part of Wrexham county borough. What the council decided to do with this enclose the inaccessible space and fill it with a pair of round mounds incorporating large boulders and topped with monoliths. This is an designer’s idealised attempt to represent the prehistoric funerary monuments of neighbouring hills and valleys revealed by archaeologists since the 19th century. Of course, monoliths at their centre doesn’t evoke any archaeological evidence from the immediate vicinity that we know of, this is imaginary prehistory.

So here they sit, a modern-day museum piece, yet another piece of (sub)urban prehistory: a cenotaph to a lost vision of planning adapted for faux-funerary monumentality.

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