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President Biden has reversed Donald Trump’s 85% cuts in the protection of the vast Bears Ears National Monument!

The US Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, the first Indigenous cabinet secretary, fought back tears as she applauded the administration’s actions for “bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice”.

Joe Biden with interior secretary Deb Haaland

Might the same thing happen over here at a time when the focus of the world is on the good of the planet and its heritage, and Britain is keen to occupy the moral high ground at COP 26? After all, in a long-term context, how can cancelling the too-short tunnel and preserving the World Heritage landscape for humanity for another thousand years NOT be “bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice”?

It’s like this. There are SIX resolutions at the forthcoming AGM. The Trust make recommendations how their Members should vote in each. But there’s a seventh: “That the members agree that the National Trust will ban trail hunting, exempt hunting and hound exercise on their land”, which is clear enough.

For that, unlike the other six and despite holding a vote on it last time, the Trust says “We note the resolution and are keen to hear the views of the membership“. Now why would that be? Why would a perfectly clear resolution not be put to an immediate Members vote, like before and like the other six?

It seems obvious. In view of the huge public scandal which recently engulfed trail hunting the Trust is utterly frit the Members will vote to ban it in such numbers that this time they won’t be able to overturn it or ignore it. See? We predict that in due course they’ll announce a “new” and “stricter” set of rules for trail hunting which will enable it to continue on Trust land. Anyone care to bet?

In any normal, democratic organisation, this should have been the final end to giving permission for trail hunting. But no, the evidence suggests that won’t happen.

Like at the last AGM, if you are unable to attend you can appoint a proxy to vote in the way you wish. And as before, if you don’t specify how you wish to vote, the proxy will vote as they see fit.

But this year, you can only appoint ONE proxy, the Chair.

See?

by Nigel Swift

I was shocked recently to find a number of companies will hire high performing metal detectors for relative peanuts. Whether and how much the Minelab GPX 5000 could be hired in UK is uncertain but £45 a day is normal in Oz.

GPXs can go down to 18.5 to 24 inches, far below the ploughsoil, and over twice as far as the great majority of machines used in the official search for the Staffordshire Hoard. As we have explained many times, that performance gap makes nonsense of claims the full hoard has been recovered.

Yes, at £3,500 the GPX is expensive, but what if any scruff can hire one for a night for very little? For years we have shown, repeatedly, that the hoard field has been nighthawked, repeatedly, and if it is happening at a tiny hiring cost what a disgrace that archaeologists haven’t revisited the site, this time with the proper equipment!

Not rabbits. So where’s the official comment?

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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You have to laugh! Conflict Antiquities@conflictantiq has said:

“Some people in Jordan are so poor that they have looted their own community’s cultural property to support themselves and their families”

Whereas in Britain, many thousands of people go out legally every weekend and find stuff in their own community and the next one and at a rally a hundred miles down the road without reporting it and not one of them does it through poverty!

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Is this hole in Jordan or Jordanthorpe?

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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A 1776 image superimposed on a modern photograph.

Could the modern “head” have been an eye?

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Remember how we recently illustrated how the Nationasl Trust appears to be using a robot to answer questions about its support for the short tunnel at Stonehenge? Well it seems they’re also using one to answer fox hunting questions!

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Megan McCubbin @MeganMcCubbin I like to see things in colour but when it comes to fox hunting… it’s is black and white. Trail hunts are simply a smokescreen for cruelty. I’m calling on the @nationaltrust to permanently ban it.

National Trust: Hello Megan, we don’t allow illegal activity on our land, and if there’s clear evidence of illegal activity, this should be reported to the police, in addition to reporting to our staff.

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Clive Swinsco Well said Megan ; are you listening @nationaltrust

National Trust: Hello Clive, we don’t allow illegal activity on our land, and if there’s clear evidence of illegal activity, this should be reported to the police, in addition to reporting to our staff.

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Dom @d23ward How ignorant, I assumed it had been banned years ago. Are we still living in the dark ages?! More fun to be had paintballing or airsoft.

National Trust: Hello Dom, we don’t allow illegal activity on our land, and if there’s clear evidence of illegal activity, this should be reported to the police, in addition to reporting to our staff.

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Karin K-M Green It’s barbaric, not something we expect in 21st Century Britain!

National Trust: Hello Karin, we don’t allow illegal activity on our land, and if there’s clear evidence of illegal activity, this should be reported to the police, in addition to reporting to our staff.

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Sam (Âû) I was member of the @nationaltrust around five years ago I cancelled my membership because of this. They do some great work but this just overshadows it to much.

National Trust: Hello Sam, we don’t allow illegal activity on our land, and if there’s clear evidence of illegal activity, this should be reported to the police, in addition to reporting to our staff.

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John Michael White Dear @nationaltrust The merest check of a calendar, even at a glance, will tell you it’s the 21st century. Allowing your land to be once more used by people using animals to “accidentally” rip other animals apart is not something you should allow again please

National Trust: Hello John, we don’t allow illegal activity on our land, and if there’s clear evidence of illegal activity, this should be reported to the police, in addition to reporting to our staff.

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Carl Bovis Time to permanently ban fox hunting

National Trust: Hello Carl, we don’t allow illegal activity on our land, and if there’s clear evidence of illegal activity, this should be reported to the police, in addition to reporting to our staff.

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It’s a shambles. The above repetitive quotes are from just ONE thread but The Trust has used those stonewalling words hundreds of times. They have manipulated a vote against trail hunting once. Please don’t let them do it again this year. They have some very nasty friends. This time, don’t give your proxy vote to the Chairman to decide.

And if not, why not???

Back in 2010 (and many times since) we pointed out that any belief by the authorities that archaeology lying far below the plough soil was safe from unscrupulous detectorists as machines couldn’t reach far down was misplaced. As we explained, the then newly launched Minelab GPX 5000 can go to 18.5 to 24 inches whereas farmers only plough to half or less than that level and that’s how far most of the archaeological searches went.

Survey, British Farming Forum 2010

Yes, at £3,500 the GPX 5000 is expensive, so not many people have them but I was shocked recently to find there are a number of companies that will hire you a high performing metal detector for relative peanuts. Whether the GPX 5000 could be rented in UK is uncertain but £45 a day is normal in Australia.

I’m thinking yet again about the field containing the Staffordshire Hoard which was mostly investigated to nine inches or less. What could a nightime scruff find there if he invested £45? What more compelling reason could there be for archaeologists to revisit the site?

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Today it’s 10 years since we responded to this enquiry in our Contact Us section from the late Eric Lubbock, Lord Avebury: “Is there any consensus on how the law needs to be changed to stop mass detector plundering?”

We wrote: “Yes, Lord Avebury, there is indeed a worldwide consensus that the way to prevent it is to make it a crime. Except in Britain where the official position is  that most detecting is “responsible” so most detecting should be applauded. We believe it is high time parliamentarians took a close look at both  parts of that claim as it seems very clear to us that the official statistics indicate most finds go unreported and are lost to science. (See our Erosion Counter).

In any case, whatever does or doesn’t get reported it is entirely unclear to us how the progressive removal of a fragile and finite resource for personal recreation or profit is ethical or in the national interest and how such a policy, so at odds with policy elsewhere, can be defended.”

Bizarrely, 10 years later, neither PAS, the police, the press nor politicians DO defend it any more. They just blather on loudly about the minority that report finds, thereby taking farmers, taxpayers and the general public for fools.

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