Many of us will have purchased ‘bug houses’ from supermarkets in recent years. These bug houses hang on fences and walls across the country, and some of you will have helped build grander bug hotels like the one pictured below, sited in the northern half of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, at Avebury.
Where though do the bugs hang out near the most famous stone circle in the world since the demolition of the old visitor centre at Stonehenge?
(The question wasn’t put by just anyone, it came from a visitor under 10.)
Come on National Trust, get with it English Heritage, give those bugs a home!

We have been shocked to discover the National Council for Metal Detecting provides a set of 3 concocted excuses for people who dig up a hoard without waiting for an archaeologist. Apart from re-iterating that doing such a thing would definitely mean they forfeit a reward, the pending Treasure Act reforms ought to confront these excuses and demolish them:

  1. “you may be on a building site which is due to be bulldozed”. No, you won’t be. Builders almost never agree to that.
  2.  “the landowner may be insisting it is removed immediately.” No, he won’t. Why should he, unless you’ve lied to him about the correct procedure.
  3. “you may be on a rally with lots of prying eyes”. So what? Your duty, as a half-decent citizen who wants a reward, is to PROTECT the hoard until archaeologists can deal with it. (There are loads of ways as we’ve explained ad nauseam).

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Shouldn’t the central purpose of the Treasure Act reforms be to end these uniquely British outrages for which the NCMD is supplying ready-made excuses?

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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The Trump administration is to open vast areas of the protected Grand Staircase-Escelante National Monument to mining and oil and gas exploration. Together with the removal of a million acres from Bears Ears National Monument this comprises the largest rollback of protection in US history.

So why is it “doing a Stonehenge”? Well, Governor Gary Herbert said “As I have reiterated for years, monuments should be as small as possible to protect artifacts and cultural resources” and County Commissioner Tammy Pearson said “The downsizing to a manageable acreage was the most amazing, selfless act of a sitting President of the United States. Utah thanks you President Trump.”

As small as possible …

Meanwhile at Stonehenge Historic England et al are campaigning to downsize the protected area surrounding Stonehenge by supporting the digging of a mile of new dual carriageway across it. Arguably, the largest rollback of protection in British history.

So it’s clear that Trump is doing a Stonehenge in Utah and, far more disgracefully, Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust are doing a Trump in Wiltshire.

 

Highways England’s A303 Stonehenge tunnel scheme is at a critical stage. A decision on whether to approve it is due by 2 April, but funding for the scheme could be announced in the Budget on 11 March. We would like to swamp the Chancellor of the Exchequer with letters from around the country and abroad to show the strength of feeling against it.

Please write in your own words to:

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Email: public.enquiries@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk
cc: transportsecretary@dft.gov.uk and your local MP (find your UK MP here)

Subject: A303 Stonehenge

Dear Chancellor,

I would like to strongly urge you not to approve funding for the high risk and highly damaging A303 Stonehenge scheme:

  • It is poor value for money and high risk. Highways England estimates only 21 pence of benefit for each £1 invested, if the highly dodgy heritage survey is discounted. Cost overruns are likely due to tunnelling through poor quality chalk and unpredictable groundwater conditions.
  • UNESCO opposes the scheme which would irreparably damage The World Heritage Site and which the UK Government has pledged to protect for future generations.
  • The scheme would increase carbon emissions at a time when the Government needs to show international leadership on climate change ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.
  • Please add any other concerns or expand on the above.

Yours sincerely,
Your full name
Your home address

If you have time please also email the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
 
For more ideas on what to write see the recent letter to Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps from the Stonehenge Alliance

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AT THIS CRUCIAL MOMENT IN OUR CAMPAIGN

The Stonehenge Alliance is a group of non-governmental organisations and individuals that seeks enhancements to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and opposes development that would cause it significant harm.

Ransacking is right. Ten massive commercial metal detecting rallies on the same farm in the decade since 2010!

But WHY? There’s only one possibility: they’re finding a lot. As one attendee said in 2014: “all I can say is what an event … I think last count there where 12 or 13 gold coins ranging from full staters, quarter staters, celtic silver, french gold . medieval gold, guineas and sov’s. a gold posy ring. not to mention a hat full of hammies … also part of a gold torc and an iron age dagger, the list could go on.” And as the organiser said in 2018: “Those detectorists who have been here before can testify the consistency of the fantastic finds these fields have yielded, and many at that!”

And yet … by 2018 only 23 artefacts from there had appeared in the PAS database! Is that OK with you dear Reader? Ten years of industrial-scale exploitation for commercial gain and oodles of knowledge theft? If so you’ll be pleased to know an eleventh event will be held there next September, but this time for a whole week! For £100 you’ll be able to “detect at your leisure, from dawn to dusk” for seven days – and be free to legally pocket all the finds and blatantly steal all the knowledge!

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Something like this, but for seven consecutive days from dawn till dusk. Unfathomable behaviour winked at by the British authorities.

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.((And why is it pink?!?)

More truth being tortured. See the Telegraph: “Now the Stonehenge tunnel has the green light, here are Britain’s worst traffic bottlenecks.” First, the tunnel doesn’t have the green light (unless friend-of-the-government Telegraph has been told otherwise.) Second, that headline implies Stonehenge is Britain’s worst bottleneck, which is a lie. There are hundreds of bottleneck areas and here are the worst ten:

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So the economic cost of congestion on the A303 near Stonehenge doesn’t register as high on the national scale, which begs the question did the tunnel have more to do with vote-catching than with rational economic necessity?

Perhaps the tunnel money could be spent in, for instance, Bristol or Leeds where the investment might be repaid in just a year rather than at Stonehenge where the National Audit Office and the Chancellor think it never will?

Back in November last year, we reported on a madcap scheme from Oxford Council for a new traffic scheme in the area of the Rollright Stones (see ‘Stonehenge idiocy at The Rollrights!‘). Even we thought, “surely not!”

However, it seems that the scheme outlined in November, to divert heavy traffic directly past the Rollright Stones (between the circle and the King Stone) is being given more legitimacy by the local council. The peace of the Rollright Stones is now under serious threat from proposals to turn the quiet road that runs beside it into a major route for Heavy Goods Vehicles to bypass Chipping Norton.

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A petition has now been raised, and all who enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the stones are strongly being urged to sign it as soon as possible. The petition states:

Whilst we understand the context of addressing the HGV traffic and air quality issues in Chipping Norton, the Rollright Road is a narrow C road entirely unfit for HGV traffic, or for upgrading to a full trunk road. The option has been examined on various occasions over the last twelve years, and even without fully considering the heritage, cultural and landscape implications, it has been dismissed – most recently in 2016 concluding “this option should not be pursued for further investigation.”

It goes on:

We are very concerned that without proactive management a significant increase in HGVs would arise using Rollright Road as a rat-run between the A44 and A344. The road passes within only 7m of the Kings Men stone circle and 30m from the King Stone. Part of the heritage and cultural value of the Stones is that in addition to c.20,000 visitors annually they are increasingly visited by school parties of 30-60 (sometimes up to 90) 7- and 8-year olds who have to cross the road. At 5m wide the road only just fits two passing HGVs, and the nearby blind crossroads at Tollhouse Cottage is notoriously dangerous. Rather than encouraging more HGV traffic passing through the Stones – whether directly or inadvertently – it should be actively discouraged.
We are concerned for the safety of people visiting the Stones, for local residents affected by inappropriate and reckless road use, as well as for the preservation of the Stones as a major cultural asset. The Rollright Trust has dedicated and very experienced trustees who have developed a very highly respected approach to managing the Stones and safeguarding them for generations to come, not just as a relic from ancient times. We hope our local Councils share this sense of responsibility and will act positively with strategic foresight to protect residents and the environment.

So please, if you visit and enjoy the stones, and/or are concerned by the erosion of the freedom to enjoy our heritage in peace and safety, sign the petition, and encourage all your family and friends to do the same.

If you want to know more about the monuments at the Rollright Stones, visit their website at  https://www.rollrightstones.co.uk and again, please, sign the petition to protect them NOW!

An extraordinary 86% of detectorists on the Minelab forum said they supported Brexit (far higher than any constituency in the country). The reason is clear. Apart from the unmentionable obvious, detectorists have long feared Europe would get Britain to regulate what they do. Not now though, exploitation is safe.

Plus, as a bonus, Europe’s environmental stewardship payments, much hated as restricting their activities, will now end, leaving tens of thousands of protected acres available for unregulated detecting once again. There’ll be dancing in the back room of the Pig and Whistle:

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But there’s a huge upside for those who see themselves as European:

In Europe The Assembly’s wish for further legislative control of detecting will no longer be obstructed by a single foolish country.

In Europe any further international conferences held by PAS praising themselves and laissez-faire detecting won’t be heeded.

The British inspired European Council for Metal Detecting will be dead in the water (for who in Europe will now listen to the Brits?)

No national museum within Europe will be telling landowners the wicked lie that metal detecting is  “citizen archaeology”. 

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