A foreign archaeologist has asked to republish the chart (see below) from our 2014  article. Start at the bottom and all will be clear. It lays out (for any foreign countries thinking of copying the UK’s system) how to get the public to think recreational depletion with inadequate mitigation is in the national interest.

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Let’s hope it’s widely read elsewhere – and urgently in Sweden. There, detectorists are calling for a British style free-for-all plus the setting up of  “an organisation tasked with researching and recording finds” (at a cost of £1.3 million!) which would also provide “employment opportunities for the many Swedish archeaologists forced to work part time”!

But any other country contemplating whether to move from strict regulation of metal detecting to a laissez faire system on the British model ought to convince itself that the above chart is complete nonsense, a fiction by no-nothing members of the public. Good luck with that!

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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Not as hard as it looks!

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It’s hard to quantify how bad it is. Some are appalled but others say “it was only a 30cm wide tube”. So how can the severity be assessed? Perhaps by comparing this incident with others. Remember 2015 when contractors working for English Heritage contaminated a large swathe of land close to Stonehenge with asbestos? They worked in secret for two nights removing it (not secretly, just out of hours said English Heritage) but the point is the damage, or at least some of it, was rectified, sort of.

So which was worse, that incident or Blick Mead? It has to be Blick Mead simply because whatever has been destroyed (and we don’t know) has gone forever and can never be brought back. The damage is at the very top of the scale of destruction and that fact should be publicised far and wide. Already the tunnel has cost us all dear.

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Highways England:

 

English Heritage (on “Mythbusting“):

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Really?

Last week, Highways England’s contractors drilled two boreholes directly into the most sensitive area of Blick Mead. These boreholes, installed for measuring water levels in relation to the A303 tunnel scheme, were excavated without anyone present from the Blick Mead team that over many years has painstakingly researched 100% of every bucket of material recovered from the site.

Not for the first time we are obliged to question the lack of awareness and sensitivity in the approach Highways England have adopted in their surveys on behalf of the A303 tunnel project. Does anyone honestly still believe Highways England’s claim this Stonehenge tunnel scheme is a “heritage project”? Come off it Highways England! Come off it Historic England! Come off it National Trust! Come off it English Heritage Trust! This is self-serving vandalism!

Pictured Andy Rhind-Tutt discovers the Highways England borehole that has been sunk in the path of the auroch hoof prints the Blick Mead project revealed in 2017.

Once again, it’s time to decide who gets your vote in this year’s Current Archaeology Awards, which celebrate both the projects and publications that have made the pages of Current Archaeology magazine over the 12 months, and the people judged to have made outstanding contributions to archaeology.

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As always, there are four categories to vote in, and winners are decided purely on the number of public votes received. Click the following links to see the nominees in each category:

We were pleased to see the Megalithic Portal‘s book, The Old Stones has been nominated for this year’s Book of the Year, and have cast our vote in that category accordingly.

Voting closes on 11 February 2019, and the winners will be announced at the special awards ceremony on 8 March at Current Archaeology Live! 2019. Entry to the awards reception is included as part of the ticket for CA Live! – for more details, see the conference web page.


There may be a prize…. Winner to be announced 26 December!


 

For many a year we’ve complained PAS has lent over too far not to criticise detectorists when it was called for. To that end there has been too much demonising of nighthawks without explaining to landowners that legal detectorists, through non reporting, do vastly more damage.

But on Twitter this week there’s been a distinct change. One FLO stressed “whilst not a crime, non reporting of non Treasure items still results in the same knowledge loss” and another was even clearer: “Non-reporting is a much larger threat to the archaeological resource than is being posed by criminality.”

So what’s going on? Could it be that PAS, thinking it might soon be Brexited away, has stopped worrying about offending detectorists and, freed from its reticence, has resolved to protect the resource by telling landowners the truth? In particular about exactly how awful mass commercial detecting rallies are? If so then something good could come from the end of PAS. Like this …..

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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And with one leap they were poorer financially, culturally, socially and intellectually….. One of the very first consequences was a savage reduction in heritage protection.

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