Wiltshire Police are launching a new initiative against Heritage Crime (“any offence that harms heritage assets and their settings.”) They specify areas affected by Heritage Crimes:


Listed buildings – like Salisbury Cathedral
Conservation areas
Scheduled monuments
World Heritage sites – like Stonehenge
Registered parks and gardens


….. but that’s misleading. If they wanted to cover all heritage crimes properly they should have included YOUR land. It may not be a conservation area but if you let someone onto it to metal detect and they find recordable archaeology but don’t report it that harms heritage.

It’s not a legal crime in Britain, sadly, but it’s undoubtedly a moral crime as it robs us all of knowledge of our past, in exactly the same way as another selfish scruff who tried to steal Magna Carta from Salisbury Cathedral last year by wielding a hammer. So please, no metal detecting on your land unless you are 100% sure the person will act properly. Ask PAS or your local archaeologists if they’ll vouch for them. It’s not hard to do your bit for heritage.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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A farmer who damaged just a few yards of Offa’s Dyke has been fined £1,500 with £500 costs and a £150 surcharge on top of the £2,100 he has already spent on remedial works.

Pretty harsh, don’t you think? In comparative terms at least, bearing in mind metal detectorists don’t report hundreds of thousands of archaeological finds a year thereby causing incalculable heritage damage and English Heritage are pushing as hard as they can for 175,000 square yards of new surface damage to be inflicted on Britain’s greatest treasure – and all of them are entirely immune from prosecution!

So, Justice for Farmers! Let them all damage heritage as much as they like, without fear of persecution.

Fair’s fair, isn’t it?!

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Please note, the foregoing is irony. The reality is that unnecessary heritage damage can’t be justified, whoever causes it.


 

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Hopefully, this was the colour of the faces of those in English Heritage, Historic England and The National Trust who are lobbying to defy UNESCO by causing a mile of massive new damage to the World Heritage Landscape surrounding Stonehenge, upon hearing that last night Stonehenge was nominated Britain’s Greatest Treasure.

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Update: Yes, they DID mention it!

@EH_Stonehenge
Proud to share that Stonehenge has been voted No.1 in ITV’s Britain’s Greatest National Treasure poll. Obviously we’re biased, but we think Stonehenge is very special and we’re thrilled that the nation agrees.


English Heritage says the best way to do it is like this:

“We want to get more young people engaged in archaeology and history at our amazing sites across the country. This is why we have started the Saturday Archaeology Club at Wrest Park….”

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Bravo!

But consider this: weren’t a large number of the present generation of archaeologists inspired not by digging in a pretend pit but by their first sight of the iconic view of Stonehenge as they went on their summer holidays – you know, the view English Heritage are lobbying to hide from all potential young archaeologists forever!

What unworthy motivation impels present archaeologists to deprive future archaeologists of the transformative childhood thrill which they themselves enjoyed?

Bodies acting as heritage guardians hate accusations that they act in an inconsistent way as it’s the one thing they can’t wriggle out of. So here goes:

1. English Heritage have put Turner’s house on the At Risk Register “because houses like this should go on forever” while lobbying for the Turner vista of Stonehenge to be hidden from tens of millions of travellers forever!

2. The National Trust are calling for the same thing without dropping their “For ever, for Everyone” motto!

3. And no, Historic England, can’t escape the charge. Back in November we pointed out they were supporting the tunnel which would remove the sightlines to Stonehenge while at the same time opposing the Tulip tower in London on the grounds it would interrupt sightlines to the Tower of London.

You might reasonably expect all three would try to explain the inconsistencies to the public, but no, government lapdogs rarely defend lapdoggery. But in the case of Historic England, at least, they’ve been let off the hook – the Mayor of London has said no to the Tulip so they’ll never have to explain their inconsistent position to anyone! Lucky them!

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Phew!

Here is Constable’s painting of Old Sarum in 1829.

Who can deny the surrounding landscape is a vital part of the whole?

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No-one. Yet at Oswestry an equivalent landscape is in peril, purely for money.

Following our recent complaint that the Staffordshire Hoard is still being looted, someone has pointed out “there’s security there so don’t distort the truth”. Well, we know about the “security” and photographed this single notice 6 years ago:

.notices2

It post dated our revelation that nighthawking was going on and simply said: “this site is being monitored” – which, we’re willing to bet, meant an occasional drive by by a security officer. Not a lot of use on a dark night in a field high above the road and hence invisible from it and when manufacturers have given oiks the ability to mute the sound and light from their detectors. And of course, it disappeared very soon and hasn’t re-appeared.

Perhaps we need to point out that this is the site of the world’s greatest Anglo Saxon assemblage.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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When you go against your reason for existence to please politicians it’s only a matter of time before it decides to come back to bite you.

And now it has happened. At the same time English Heritage are lobbying so hard for the “Turner View” of Stonehenge to be hidden from millions of travellers forever, another arm of their organisation has announced they’ve put Turner’s house on the At Risk Register “because houses like this should go on forever”! Ouch! What could be worse?

Well, it could get worse for if, as may happen, the Stonehenge tunnel is cancelled, what will English Heritage’s press release look like next morning? “Hurrah, we never really wanted it to happen” or “What a shame, we bitterly regret there’ll be no new damage to the World Heritage Landscape”?!

Archaeologists undertaking dedicated research projects within the World Heritage Site quite rightly sieve 100% of the entire ploughsoil. By contrast, Highways England has just told dismayed archaeologists that only a small amount of the topsoil removed during landscaping would be sieved for objects of scientific and historical interest as 100% sieving would take too long and prove too expensive! Instead, they will sample between 4 and 14%!

Professor Mike Parker Pearson has estimated that as a result half a million prehistoric artefacts could go unexamined and be lost to science. In response (see the Daily Telegraph (10/07/2019), Jim Hunter of Highways England said: “We are confident we can deal with the archaeology in an appropriate way …”

What possible confidence can the public have in that assurance?

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