English Heritage has just issued a fascinating tender document. In essence they want an outside organisation to undertake a national assessment of all Scheduled Monuments identified on the Heritage at Risk Register as being vulnerable to arable cultivation ….. in order to ….. identify suitable mitigation measures for each monument, and to assist future targeting of staff and grant resources by English Heritage and Defra.
Sounds expensive and lengthy. It crosses our minds it might be done in-house, at a lower cost and pretty quickly. How? By harnessing and collating the efforts of the hundreds of ordinary members of the public that visit all the sites in question on a regular basis and who could be relied upon to provide accurate (and very up-to-date and entirely free!) structured eye-witness accounts. The sort of people that use websites like The Modern Antiquarian, The Megalithic Portal and others. Needless to say there would be additional advantages… the opportunity to foster a sense of public engagement and stimulate public involvement in monument guardianship on an ongoing basis.