Who’d a thought it? A lot of Heritage Crime is preventable!
“It’s an irreparable tragedy“ (said a Bulgarian archaeologist, looking out at a moonscape littered with shards of ceramics or glassware destroyed by the diggers). Irreparable yes, but also avoidable for although Bulgaria is currently powerless to prevent the rape of its ancient sites that wasn’t always so. “Ancient sites were protected during communist times by a strong fear of the omnipresent police and harsh punishments for any law-breaking activity.” And here’s more proof closer to home that a lot of heritage crime is preventable: “Church metal thefts down by 50% in Devon!” Why? Because of “more roof alarms, government funding and work by Devon and Cornwall Police”
Found something? Keep it quiet!
Of course, not all heritage loss is easily fixed. Here’s US detectorist Dick Stout (who continues to display our Chairman’s alleged home address presumably in the hope he’ll come to harm despite knowing not just some of Britain’s thuggiest but also some of Britain’s finest are monitoring his website) advising his readers how to avoid “battles” with the authorities:
“I hope most of you who visit here will refrain from sharing your finds online, especially the relics. Coins to me are no big deal, but it seems that whenever we post photos of relics we find ourselves battling city hall and the archaeological community. I and the majority of detectorists will always share items of historical interest and always make them known to the local community and/or museum. It’s the casual find that seems to garner the attention of our detractors, and it might behoove us to think twice before announcing them to the world….”
Anyone who can show how that doesn’t mean he knows some of his pals’ finds are illicitly or immorally acquired should drop us a note. There’s a massive prize on offer (find spot redacted, to avoid a “battle” with the authorities!) Just in case anyone remains in any doubt about his attitude he has just clarified further:
“I am also disappointed in those detectorists who continue to “grovel and beg” for acceptance into their [archaeologists'] small minded world. Then again if you find sticking flags in the ground to your liking, have at it…..”
Hurrah! Winter won’t last forever!
On a happier note, a million geographical, intellectual and ethical miles from the above gruesome nonsense, here’s something to cheer you up despite the snow – poet Giles Watson causing no harm and taking nothing for himself on a walk in High Summer along one of Europe’s oldest roads, The Ridgeway. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9sq1a7wjxs