Of course there are ways to control fox numbers that don’t require men with an underdeveloped sense of rightness to go after them with dogs and guns. So why are you allowing it, Mr. Ewing? At a time when the need for human kindness is more obvious than ever, why is Scotland’s Government supporting needless human nastiness?

Surely you don’t think the “countryside campaigners” who applaud your “responsible attitude towards necessary predator control” are really countrywide campaigners or give a damn about anything except shooting animals for fun?


Pound shop wolf hunters posing as “countryside campaigners”?

The National Audit Office was already unconvinced that the Stonehenge project was value for money – and that was before the world was engulfed in the greatest economic crisis in generations! So clearly, the Transport Secretary would need an additional reason to approve the project, one that transcends mere economics.

Historic England, English Heritage and the hapless National Trust have obligingly tried to supply one to the Government: “the scheme will be a net cultural improvement to the World Heritage landscape”. As to that:


On the left, the cultural “improvements” made in the 50s and 60s. On the right, the landscape now, with most of them gone. What one generation of experts classed as visitor improvements were seen by the next as a national disgrace and removed! “Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains” …. except for some scars and an area left utterly devoid of archaeological evidence.


Food for thought, bearing in mind that the area of cultural destruction now being promoted by EH, HE and the Trust is a thousand times greater than the area previously admitted to having been “a national disgrace”. Making “cultural improvements” is closely related to “irreversible cultural disasters”, as history has often shown. Should we really take the chance?

By Nigel Swift

Thankfully, knowledge theft through metal detecting has almost ended for now so we won’t now be highlighting it weekly. However, I’d like to point out that although our 1000+ articles on the subject have been largely ignored by British archaeological officials, they haven’t been abroad (as evidenced by hundreds of references on Academia.edu.)

We were particularly pleased this Wednesday that Happah, the French archaeologists’ conservation body, published a French translation of our 2014 chart, “An overseas PAS-enviers Guide: How to get the Public to Assume Avoidable Depletion with Inadequate Mitigation is Fine.”

We compiled it in 2014 in reaction to the words of the Director of the British Museum claiming the Portable Antiquities Scheme “is envied the world over“.  It’s simply not true, as French archaeologists understand.  Our original is here, followed by Happah’s French translation.





More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

450 acres of “very interesting and historically rich land” along the banks of the River Thames near Henley will NOT now host a massive international commercial metal detecting rally this weekend.



So no coachloads of overseas treasure hunters, no puzzled expressions from the landowner or PAS about why the number of found items seems low, no sudden glut of vague eBay descriptions of “old finds from Yorkshire”, and no items of British historical significance with it’s associated knowledge quietly taken away to Belgium or Latvia.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

A somewhat simple puzzle for these dark times. Most of you internet-savvy types should solve this in just a few minutes.

Below are eight sets of three random words. What is the common denominator between the sets?

language nursery likening
restrict nanny underline
frail across kings
ruffling ladders riverbed
cult cobras fluffed
early distilled inner
mystified potions farmed
searching shredding printer

Thankfully, it seems that the coronavirus crisis has delayed a final announcement on the tunnel being made. The following comments were submitted by a supporter of the Heritage Journal:

Stonehenge at Sunset, 1840, by William Turner of Oxford.

People sometimes say to me that the 20th-century archaeologist and writer Jacquetta Hawkes said that “every age has (gets) the Stonehenge it deserves”. I always say back to them something along the following lines:

If the tunnel gets approval then all future generations will get the Stonehenge landscape they don’t deserve as significant parts of it will be damaged. And once that damage has been done, then there’s no turning back from that for three things.

  1. Blick Mead.
  2. The western burial grounds. And all the unknown percentage of sieving in the western burial grounds that Highways England didn’t do “on cost grounds” (when archaeologists like MPP and Paul Garwood etc are asking for 100% sieve-rate in certain areas but Highways England won’t agree to anything like that).
  3. And also any previously unknown archaeology that is in the way of the tunnel as I don’t think the people (in charge) are trustworthy or competent (ref. the BM boreholes).

As mentioned recently, the latest deadline for objections to the most recent planning application at Old Oswestry Hillfort expires in two days time (April 2nd).

As of last night, less than 30 objections have been registered, but it’s hoped this will increase with last-minute submissions in the two days remaining.

If you’ve not yet submitted your own objection, the Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort (HOOH) group have put together a handy guide with suggestions for inclusion in your submission.

As one protester has stated:

Hillforts were built to stand guard and benevolently look out over their surrounding territory and protect it from intruders. They were also designed to be looked up to from that territory with reverence and respect. So it would be a great tragedy if you were to allow this very intrusive planning application as it is much too close and would seriously damage the historical and aesthetic setting of the hillfort.

Something heartening, if it’s true, for those who care about the preservation of the World Heritage Site for future generations:

“Given the current situation, with the anticipated effect of the Covid-19 virus on the UK economy, the business case for the project will be called into question, as it was early in 2019.

Months before the outbreak in China, the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO) publicly stated that it was not convinced the Stonehenge project offered value for money. Amya Morse, then head of the NAO, said, “The tunnel at Stonehenge is only just value for money by the department’s [Department for Transport’s] own business case,” adding, “It will take a very special effort by the department to protect public value up to completion”.

The UK’s Planning Inspectorate has sent its report and recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport, but a decision on the project is not expected until after the lifting of the government’s current coronavirus measures.”


The National Council for Metal Detecting has told members to stop. But many people aren’t members and some have been saying they’ll carry on (“I’ll say it’s exercise”). PAS has also asked people to stop but by adding “We ask that you temporarily retain your non-Treasure finds for full recording at a later date” they hint they know some won’t stop.

So, given that those who defy the rules are unlikely to report any finds or refrain from digging up a hoard or a grave we suggest PAS should ring the Minister to request he clarifies that leaving home to metal detect is forbidden.



More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

The three groups invited to bid are:

  • BMJV [comprising Bouygues Travaux Publics and J Murphy & Sons)]
  • HDJV [consisting of Hochtief Infrastructure GmbH and Dragados)]
  • MORE JV [comprising FCC Construcción (42.5%), Salini Impregilo (42.5%) and BeMo Tunnelling UK/Austria (15%)]

So British involvement is minimal. Why would that be? Do we lack the expertise and competitive edge despite being in the country already?

Or could it be that major local firms are more aware of the geological difficulties and the possibility the plug would be pulled mid-project; the vast archaeological jeopardy; and the possibility that any firm involved will end up reviled by the British and the public worldwide?


Explain this!



April 2020

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