You are currently browsing the daily archive for 04/03/2010.


Boadicea Haranguing The Britons

John Opie (1761-1807)

“Melvyn Bragg and guests Miranda Aldhouse-Green, Juliette Wood and Richard Hingley discuss the life and mythologisation of Boudica.”

To be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday, 11 March at 09:00. See also –

The Belfast Telegraph reports the find of a “rare Neolithic ring fort”, during work on the Ballymena bypass in County Antrim. The remains of this enclosed area and a number of pits containing burnt bone and Neolithic pottery, were discovered under topsoil, on a hill that was to be dug through and then used for banking material;

“The enclosure was more or less circular, between 40m and 45m in diameter, with two entrances or causeways. One spanned a gap of 25m around the west side of the enclosure, while the other lay towards the south end measuring 3m wide.
Inside the enclosure is what appears to be a series of structures, including rectangular and circular shapes with pits and hearths. Archaeologists have discovered flint chippings, small blades and a leaf-shaped arrowhead.”

We previously wrote about a Heritage Council study of Irish media coverage of such heritage issues. Once read, it may change the way that you process these things. To use a building analogy – when you can see the position of the blocks you can see how, consciously or unconsciously, the features are built and the agenda, or effect, that they are aiming for. Two among the findings it listed were;

– that “most heritage texts related to ‘events’ managed by sources representing business or the State” and 

– that “real heritage objects were frequently represented as ‘threatening’ merely notional development proposals.”

What do we have here, then? The article appears to be based on a briefing by the Northern Ireland Department for Regional Development (DRD), a state source, and, in addition to giving these site details, stresses the delay caused by the investigation. The excavation lasted eight weeks, involved twenty archaeologists and that, and the bad weather last year, pushed the completion date for the road back by several months to Summer 2010. With regard to the Heritage Council study, the relevant ‘threatening’ phrases in the article include the following;

“delaying a road dualling scheme”, “costing tens of thousands of pounds“ and “would have been completed…if it hadn’t been for the discovery”

What should it say? The enclosure is one of only four of its type. A strong argument could be made to route the road away from it altogether, so it might be preserved for future generations to study. That doesn’t seem to be the case and a couple of months delay – and a few thousand pounds – seems like a small price to pay for its details to be recorded.

National Heritage and, particularly, a site of this importance, should never be devalued to the status of ‘obstruction’. Continual reference to it, as such, imprints that value on it.

Read more here:

Listening to Pagans.

Well according to Mike Pitts –  Digging Deeper blog, he should be on Radio 3 tonight (thursday, 4th March) on Night Waves  at 9 pm, talking about the issue of Pagan reburial with Piotr Bienkowski (the Manchester Museum) and Emma Restall Orr (founder of Honouring the Ancient Dead).  Should be interesting.

The article can be found here.

Can be found on BBci player here about 18 minutes into the programme.

“it has been noticed that some people have been asking our Finds Advisers for an ID on an item, then popping straight across to Ebay to sell the item complete with Finds ID word for word, with not even a polite word of thanks to the guy who spent his time identifying the item !! This is not on !! Anyone found guilty of this sour practise will be made very aware that we do not condone this at all !!”  (From the latest newsletter of UKDN, the leading metal detecting website).

A sour practise eh? The point has rather been missed. Digging up our history and flogging it on EBay is an obnoxious practice in our view, much worse than being disrespectful to the UKDN finds advisors, yet where’s the UKDN official statement that THAT is also “not on”? But there’s something far worse than flogging it: digging up our history and not recording it with PAS (something UKDN says it “encourages” it’s members to do) is far more obnoxious since it clearly injures the whole of society without even a token bit of mitigation. Patently, the UKDN finds advisory service is being used by some detectorists instead of approaching the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s Finds officers so items are consequently not being reported or recorded.

UKDN cannot have it both ways. They cannot claim they are encouraging UKDN members to report their finds to PAS while at the same time providing a quick and convenient alternative non-PAS identification service. It is as damaging and wrong as the activities of the alternative “detectorists recording scheme” that UKDN quite properly avoids promoting.

Metal detecting, eh? So many fine words. Such historicidal behaviour. We await their “solution” with interest. We doubt it will involve abandoning their ID service in order to better encourage all their members to go to PAS but who knows? Maybe those in charge, some of whom actually know what’s what, will decide to do the right thing despite their members!


PAS to support metal detecting sales push

Metal detecting and helping Donald Trump: two additions to the British education syllabus?Wiltshire metal detecting rally flouts archaeological guidelines

 Metal detecting at the end of the noughties: bad just got worse.

 Metal detecting: a letter to English Heritage

 Metal detecting: £3.2 million reward for reporting the Staffordshire hoard should have been £32 million claims detectorist!

Legalised metal detecting? “No thanks, we’re French (and we give a damn about our resource!)” – Official. Quote of the Week #3: The National Council for Metal Detecting on why current delays in rewarding their members are “unacceptable”

Quote of the week #2: Metal detectorist Michael Darke on what his share of YOUR £500,000 means to himNEWS: Metal detectorists dig up 11,000 ancient artefacts in amazing two week period. Every fortnight!


March 2010

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