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The Vale by Anna Dillon
Anna Dillon was born in 1972 and grew up in a small Wiltshire village called Winterborne Monkton which is about one mile from the World Heritage site of Avebury. She studied illustration and Graphic Design at Falmouth School of Art in Cornwall and then worked as a graphic designer for over 15 years in London and the Middle East. Anna is now a full time, professional artist.
The dramatic countryside of the South of England continually inspires Anna to paint vibrant, colourful and semi abstract landscapes in oil paints. In 2009 she decided to fulfill a personal ambition to walk The Ridgeway. This ancient track holds huge significance for her because it builds a bridge between many of the places she has lived in her life. Starting at Avebury and connecting with the small village of Ashbury near the Uffington White Horse, then on toward her home village of Aston Tirrold on the Berskhire Downs and ending at Ivinghoe Beacon near the village where she bought her first house. As a consequence of this inspirational walk she is working on about twenty large oil paintings of views seen from the Ridgeway. Anna is planning her solo exhibition for 2012.
As a painter she is inspired by the post war artist Paul Nash and the Austrian artist Friedrich Hundertwasser.
Anna Dillon’s work is regularly exhibited at various galleries throughout the West Country and she also has work in private collections around the world from Australia to Finland. Four of her decorative paintings were donated as a gift for his Royal Highness Sultan Qaboos of Oman in the Middle East.
Anna, along with Bruce Bignold, John Stephen, Judith Payne, Nicky Jones and Jane Ryan will be exhibiting original paintings, prints and cards at Warwick Hall, Church Lane, Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4SD on Friday, 16 April 12.00pm – 5.00pm and Saturday, 17 April 10.00am – 5.00pm.

Treasury Holdings. Regular readers of the Heritage Journal may be familiar with the name… Massive Irish property developers and partners, with the Drogheda Port Company, in the proposed deep-water port project at Bremore/Gormanston – the very same partnership that only recently decided to (maybe) reconsider the obliteration of an irreplaceable Neolithic passage tomb complex.

According to Joe Brennan (Irish Independent 14 April 2010), NAMA, the state agency that is taking over the bank-loans of Ireland’s ruined property sector, has given Treasury Holdings and the other nine top Irish developers; “up until early next month to come up with credible business plans or face the prospect of liquidation… these plans would be probed to see which developers could survive the downturn.”

No repayment at all, he notes, is being made on two-thirds of the NAMA-targeted bank-loans and interest that has been “rolled-up“ (there‘s a phrase – like a used carpet) , rather than charged, has accounted for as much as 12.5% to 15% of the first €16 billion to be taken over. Incredible. He quotes NAMA boss, Brendan McDonagh, as follows;

The situation was “all born of a mindless scramble to funnel lending into one sector at considerable pace and of a reckless abandonment of basic principles of credit risk and prudent lending.”

and NAMA now had the; “very difficult decision of perhaps knocking down certain developments…”      

The developments that they’re proposing to knock down were once green fields in the countryside, scarred now, for nothing and the money that is being used to ‘buy’ these loans from the banks, albeit at a substantial discount on original value, had to be borrowed by the taxpayer. That’s us; every Irish citizen and our kids after us if it doesn‘t work out.

It‘s impossible to grasp how we could owe such an amount, or how a staggering €81 billion could even have been leant from one bunch of idiots to another, no matter how greedy they were. Or how they were let get away with it – although that, of course, is ‘what friends are for’. This is just a fraction, by the way. NAMA’s only dealing with the really big boys.

We’re all idiots now.

What of Bremore?

Nothing has been built here, but it will surely be included in any Treasury business plan. There’s money to be made in the port development, even if it’s to be earned by sucking business from elsewhere and the state; NAMA, government, taxpayer and public opinion, will be heavily motivated to try and find something half-way viable amidst the rubbish of bad loans. Furthermore, the current version of a rain dance – for the Irish economy – does seem to be ‘export-led growth‘. I wouldn’t be too confident, in other words.

On the other hand, much of the perceived, pre-recession, stress on port capacity was caused by imports; cheap consumer goods and building materials, rather than exports. Maybe someone will see the bigger picture for once… We don’t need another port and not here. We certainly can’t afford it.

World Heritage Status sought for sites.

The historic city of Dublin
The Céide Fields and North West Mayo Boglands
Western Stone Forts
The Monastic City of Clonmacnoise and its cultural landscape
Early Medieval Monastic Sites
The Royal Sites of Ireland: Cashel, Dún Ailinne, Hill of Uisneach, Rathcroghan Complex and Tara Complex

It will be noted that the Tara Complex under the heading of Royal Sites of Ireland has managed to make it into the submissions to UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, though of course the damage already done by the motorway under the Hill of Tara, damaging Rath Lugh and destroying the Lismullin Henge recently, does not seem to have been mentioned in the following quotation;  “erosion, agricultural and quarrying activity”, they still had “all the elements necessary to express the outstanding universal value of the royal sites” to give a “complete representation of the features and processes conveying their significance”.  Hmmm – roads are ominously missing from that statement!

Still the Céide Fields and North West Mayo Boglands are also on the list,  “The Céide Fields are included as “the outstanding example of human settlement, land-use and interaction with environment in Neolithic times”, which we should  be grateful for. The following link gives a full account of the submissions.

Article in Irish Times by Frank McDonald.

The High Bridestones, North Yorkshire. Image credit Littlestone

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

P B Shelley (1792-1822)
With thanks to fitzcoraldo on The Modern Antiquarian  for the above combination of site and poem.
More poems on the megalithic theme here –

With apologies – a brief step sideways to improve the view…

As part of the conclusion to my recent article about the Irish Green Party, I used two aphorisms from Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘Human, All Too Human’ – to provide, I hoped, some insight into why it may have behaved as it did in government. This source (for those of you not fully immersed in the book-list) was written at the time of Nietzsche’s dismissal of both ‘Wagnerism’ and romanticism and contains the first bracing hints of what would inevitably become the ‘mature’ philosophy; turbulent, complex. From Marion Faber’s introduction to the 2004 Penguin edition;

“’Human, All Too Human’ is not only a break with Nietzsche’s philosophical past: this pivotal work also reveals the beginnings of several of the concepts that are crucial to his later philosophy. His notion of the will to power (Hello, Minister Gormley) is here in embryo, as is his transcendence of conventional Christian morality.”

The insight here is always piercing, sometimes shocking and the style is clear, concise and, as you’ll see below, readable and often beautiful (with acknowledgement to the translator);

586. The hour-hand of life.

Life consists of rare, isolated moments of the greatest significance, and of innumerably many intervals, during which at best the silhouettes of those moments hover about us. Love, springtime, every beautiful melody, mountains, the moon, the sea – all these speak completely to the heart but once, if in fact they ever do get a chance to speak completely. For many men do not have those moments at all, and are themselves intervals and intermissions in the symphony of real life.”

And from Albert Camus;

“A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”

For those of us whose hearts were once filled by a monument. Is it any wonder that we are prepared to fight for our selves, or for what could become yours?

By Nigel Swift

I see there have been obvious efforts by detectorists and others (since the recent PAS conference) to re-brand nighthawks as “site burglars”.  A good idea in principle – nighthawks aren’t adventurers, they’re common criminals and the public ought to know. But of course, site burglar is a misnomer. Burglars break into buildings, whereas nighthawks walk into fields – and they steal artefacts, not sites.  So no, if we are going to properly rebrand nighthawks we shouldn’t call them site burglars but artefact thieves. (We’ll be happy to unite with detectorists, archaeologists and the police in calling them that from now on.)

Adopting proper descriptive terms is always a good idea if the public are to be properly informed (spades are best described as spades, after all) but it’s mighty dangerous territory for detectorists (perhaps that’s why they have restricted their proposed linguistic reforms to nighthawks alone.) After all, if we all now start calling nighthawks artefact thieves then it’s only right and proper that we call non-reporting detectorists knowledge thieves. Yes?

Who could possibly deny it? People who don’t report their finds to PAS are knowledge thieves. People who don’t report find spots with maximum precision are knowledge thieves. People who still detect on land where the farmer says they mustn’t report finds are knowledge thieves. People who say I’ll just keep my own records are knowledge thieves. The unreported majority of the ten million seven hundred and forty three thousand artefacts currently showing on our Artefact Erosion Counter have been dug up by knowledge thieves.

So both terms are perfectly accurate – nighthawks are artefact thieves and non-reporting detectorists are knowledge thieves. Let us all, conservation campaigners, detectorists and archaeologists, combine to deliver those twin truths to the public. Let archaeologists at last make it clear to the public that they shouldn’t allow either type of heritage thief into their fields (like we’ve been saying for years) and let metal detectorists treat both of these two sets of thieves with equal contempt and disallow them from their forums, national associations and local clubs. Let there be an end to the disreputable British pretence that stealing artefacts is dreadful but that stealing knowledge isn’t just as heritage-damaging, selfish and wrong. It is.

The two types of heritage thieves. Only in Britain are the public not told they are equally contemptible.

PS: if things go as they usually do, I won’t be challenged on this. Instead I’ll be blaggarded. No matter. What matters to me is that no-one, be they detectorist, apologist, archaeologist, academic or politician, will ever be able to successfully refute my assertion that non-reporting detectorists are knowledge thieves. Indeed, no-one in the latter three groups will even try, which is food for thought for all concerned – including the public, whose knowledge is being stolen with the full understanding of archaeologists!


More Wiltshire local history being flogged off “for charity”

Staffordshire Hoard: Parting the Piggy Bank

Lucrative heroism?

Heritage Action vindicated at Portable Antiquities conference

Largest detecting forum confesses to undermining PAS

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!

Nighthawking: much ado about the wrong thing.

By Gordon Kingston, Heritage Action

John Gormley? For U.K. readers, who may be unfamiliar with Irish politics, John Gormley is leader of the Green Party and has been our Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government for the last three years (the Irish Green Party are currently junior partners in a ruling coalition with Fianna Fáil – the “Soldiers of Destiny”). Anyway, the man at the wheel on heritage issues in Ireland. In the course of a recent interview, in Village magazine (Mar-Apr 2010), Minister Gormley fielded a number of tough questions about the Green Party, its decision to enter what has proved to be an incredibly unpopular Government and his own performance on environmental and heritage issues.

If you get the chance to read this piece – and Village magazine itself is always worth a read – the impression that you might get is of a (mostly) honest man having to fight with inadequate weaponry, sort of a late sixties Robert Redford role; two six guns against the Bolivian army. The thing about that approach, obviously, is that it’s never going to work.

Here’s a few sample quotes and I apologise for the asides (I couldn’t resist);

“Q. Meanwhile across the countryside there have been virtually no prosecutions by the Parks and Wildlife Service, while Rangers are demoralised and frustrated.

A. I want to go talk to these people – if people are demoralised I want to hear from them – I want to hear what the problem is…”

“Q. A third of our raised bogs have disappeared  since the Habitats directive came into force in 1998 to protect them. Are you going to stop this?

A. You know it saddens me to see that level of destruction. The difficulty in this country is this so-called ‘attachment to the land’ which is enshrined in the Constitution – ’my land and I’ll do whatever I like with it.’ Right. What we need to recognise is the ’common good’, which is also in our constitution.” (Good point and great to hear it from a Government minister, but what about that Habitats directive? If the weapon is there surely it should be used?) “… the bogs have to be protected because that’s my commitment – but it’s also something we have to do, legally.” (So do it? Or is that being a bit hasty? There’s still two thirds of them left, but that’s hardly an infinite resource.)

“Q. When you came into office you said EU environment infringement complaints was one of the things you were going to tackle. We’ve now got even more infringement complaints against Ireland and more serious ones seeking daily fines.

A. That’s not true – we had 33 and now we have 28 or 29 – so it’s reduced.” (Hardly a significant reduction for such a serious matter, but it gets worse – at this point Village magazine states that the Commission’s statistics show the (end of 2009) figure to be 34 and the number of daily fines cases having increased to 14, from 10, since the minister took office. This was not put to John Gormley during interview.)

“Q. What about enforcing the law on Quarries? The registration process in the 2000 Planning Act has proved unenforceable and there are quarries operating without regulation or payment of levies.

A. There are political difficulties because the Local Authority and the quarry-owners will tell you that, say, twenty-five men are being employed here. They will give lots of excuses… I’ll show you my address to the Concrete Federation – I was very blunt with them.” (Blunt!)

I could go on in this vein and there were a number of further examples, but that should do for background. So I’ll switch over at this point to our own area of concern, the Tara response, instead;

“Q. What about Tara?

A. Let me just say this. There are things that people say that just sort of come off the top of the tongue. I have to be honest with you when people trot out stuff like that. We were the only party that was involved in the Oral Hearing in 2003. We came into Government in 2007 and the building had commenced. The contract was signed. There was nothing we could do.

It’s unreasonable to expect that somehow the Green Party could wave a magic wand and the whole thing was going to stop completely. But what we have done is to use our position to ensure that the excesses – the terrible planning that you find along motor ways – that simply won’t happen along that route – and I can guarantee that. I did manage to ensure that the road was moved aside from Rath Lugh so that Rath Lugh could be preserved…”

Perhaps those directly involved in the campaign could make a comment on the latter part of that statement? I don’t know. I haven’t seen the motorway. I did vote Green at the last election, however – partly because of a sympathy with their values, but also because of their opposition to the M3. As a party they had become synonymous, in Ireland at least, with truth and the ’common good’, so I found it very difficult, subsequently, to understand how they (but only they, mind – it‘s like eating and drinking for the rest of them) could go back on what they had promised, without giving what seemed to be a satisfactory reason why.

Let’s have a think about this… Was it part of the ‘deal’?..

Participation in government has been disastrous, in the medium to long term, for Green politics in Ireland. Everything that the party has been publicly scourged for – the motorway through Tara, for example, or the issues that Village magazine tackled above; parks and wildlife, disappearance of raised bogs, EU environment infringements, the delinquent behaviour of quarries and Local Authorities – would, of course, have happened and in an atmosphere of collusion, if they hadn’t been in power (they can even maintain that they provided a significant filtering effect on the same). But the merry strains of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ inevitably had to stop and who were the ones left standing there, without a Dáil seat under them? The Green Party. They will, almost certainly, be destroyed in the next election and may never regain their current level of influence.

The key question, therefore, is “have they achieved enough in office to make this ’martyrdom’ worthwhile?“ and John Gormley would argue that they have;

“We have achieved more in the last two-and-a-half years than we did in all our time in opposition – the carbon levy, the new Planning Bill, the new building regulations, investment in renewable energy – the reversal of education cuts. We now have an environmental pillar of social partnership. That would not have happened without our participation in Government.”

You’d again have to wonder how many of these achievements, much like the aforementioned disasters, would also have happened anyway – Greens or no Greens – given the pressure that we were coming under to reduce our carbon emissions. No-one in Ireland can have failed to notice the glee with which a financially morbid exchequer has pounced on the carbon tax. However, it seems rational to deduce that some Green election promises, including the one to “save Tara“, may have been abandoned during the process of coalition negotiation in order to get these same achievements/concessions (nice move, Fianna Fáil). A trade-off along the lines of; “ok, we’ll leave that, because we have more vital concerns”.

That is what I assumed, in my disappointment, a couple of years ago. 

But that is not what they said then and not what he says now. He states that the “contract was signed” and “there was nothing we could do”, implying that this particular election promise wasn’t abandoned in negotiation with their government partners and if they could have done something they would have. He would have saved Tara, but his hands were tied.

Ok. Perhaps we’d best look at what Sundance can actually use when he’s minded to…

The Sunday Tribune last week carried an opinion piece, by Michael Clifford, which began with a balanced look at the Greens in government, but then went on to discuss the activities of Minister Gormley in his own constituency;

“Since assuming the office of Minister for the Environment, John Gormley has been doing his damnedest to undermine the construction of the country’s first municipal incinerator. The facility is to be based on the Poolbeg peninsula, in the heart of Gormley’s constituency.

Gormley was a vocal opponent of the facility since before he entered government. His party has long opposed incineration. Yet the burning of waste is government policy. It has been fully scrutinised by the planning authorities and has got EPA approval. If Fine Gael (constant party of opposition) was leading a new coalition government in the morning, incineration would remain government policy.

Exporting waste costs three times as much as getting rid of it at home. The EU has placed limits on how much landfill can be used, and the state is fast approaching the limit. After that, fines running into millions will be imposed. Unless the citizens are willing to stump up considerably more tax, incineration will be as much a feature of waste disposal here as it is in practically every other developed country in the world.

On a political level, it is understandable that Gormley has attempted to undermine his own government’s policy. If the incinerator goes ahead, he will most likely lose his seat. So he has placed roadblocks where he can, attempting to impose limits on burning waste, commissioning reviews, attacking the proposal at every turn, all designed to undermine the viability of the incinerator that threatens his future.”
According to this article, the levy recommended by the ESRI for waste incineration is €10 per tonne. Minister Gormley’s recently published environmental bill proposes a levy of €120 per tonne, an amount that “could make the Poolbeg facility unviable“. No problems with the Green Party’s “magic wand” in this case, it appears.

Let’s look again, so, at what he said about Tara…

“The contract was signed. There was nothing we could do.”

Incineration, like the M3, is government policy and the facility has been EPA approved. The Green party are opposed to incineration, but were also opposed  to the M3 through Tara. Why the difference in treatment then? Given all those examples of ineffectual action, or no action at all – Tara, parks and wildlife, raised bogs, environment infringements, quarries, Local Authorities, cosy interests jobbing away – how come everything, including the kitchen sink, can be thrown at this? Michael Clifford, as you read above, has his own theory about it.

It never rains, but it pours and downpours can cause flooding. A coincidence? This from the same day’s Sunday Independent;

“Environment Minister John Gormley is under fire this weekend for refusing to overturn the zoning of a flood plain for development in Taoiseach (government colleague and leader of Fianna Fáil) Brian Cowen’s home constituency of Co. Offaly…

Following his direct intervention to halt the Carrickmines Retail centre in south Dublin three weeks ago, which has placed more than 1,000 jobs in jeopardy, Fine Gael has blasted the Green minister’s refusal to halt a project on a flood plain.
Late last year, two councils in Co. Offaly zoned a flood plain for development despite warnings from the OPW on flood risks…

…Mr. Gormley’s refusal to act comes after he heavily criticised the legacy of bad planning by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael at the Green Party conference last weekend.”

Doubtless I am guilty of ‘over-simplification’, or ‘political naivety’, but if I were to look at the two articles, immediately above, the conclusion that I would draw is that it is well within the Green Party’s ability to influence, or to have influenced events – if they were sufficiently motivated to do so. If they did not do so, at Tara for example, it would be an understandable step to then speculate on the relevant reasons and to regard their public statements (excuses?) in the particular light of those speculations.

Take your choice…

From Nietzsche‘s ‘Human, All Too Human’ (trans. Faber M. 1984), Section 9; ‘Man Alone With Himself’;

522. “Men who talk about their importance for mankind have a weak conscience about their common bourgeois honesty in keeping contracts or promises.”

540. “Who publicly sets himself great goals, and later realizes privately that he is too weak to accomplish them, does not usually have enough strength to revoke those goals publicly, either, and then inevitably becomes a hypocrite.”


To Pilate, Balaam, or John

What did you get for cleaning your hands;

A few broad beans, or the word of an ass?

There was no sword on the road to Moab

And I can’t see a beanstalk, Jack.


Show me your “broken heart”.


Previous Heritage Journal Article: John Gormley on how to destroy Irish heritage kindly

by Littlestone, Heritage Action

Sarsen under one of the south-facing butresses of the Church of St Peter, Clyffe Pypard
Image credit Littlestone

John Aubrey (1626-1697) visited Clyffe Pypard in, or around, 1660 – some twelve years after his visit to Avebury where he records being, “…wonderfully surprised at the site of these vast stones, of which I had never heard before, as also the mighty bank and graffe (grass) about it.” At Clyffe Pypard he describes the Church of St Peter as, “Here is a handsome Church, and have been very good windowes.”

While the tower, nave, aisles and porch of the Church of St Peter were built in the 15th century there remains some 14th century stonework in the south porch. Further study may show that the Norman church was built on the foundations of an earlier Saxon one and, as at other Christianised sites, the Saxon church may have been built on a pre-Christian structure. Six of the buttresses have sarsen stones under them, only one of which has been cut to the shape of the buttress. The other five sarsens, one of which is very large, are left protruding as they do under the buttresses of the Church of St James, Avebury; the Church of St Katherine and St Peter, Winterbourne Bassett and the Church of St John the Baptist, Pewsey.

The Church of St Peter is situated at the bottom of a steep escarpment and is set in a well-cared for graveyard surrounded by trees.* There is a distinct air of a ‘grove’ about the place which is reminiscent of the grove, and its disordered sarsens, by the river close to Pewsey Church. The leafy and sarsen-paved footpath that leads east past the church comes out on a secluded meadow with a magnificent tree at its centre. Nearby is a stream and lake. Nikolaus Pevsner, art and architectural historian and author of The Buildings of England, is buried with his wife at a place between the lake and the church – their grave is marked by a headstone of slate.

About a mile from Clyffe Pypard, towards Broad Town and close to Little Town Farmhouse, is the cottage which Pevsner used as a country retreat. The cottage was formerly the home of the poet and literary critic Geoffrey Grigson, whose friends included Paul Nash and John Piper. Nash and Piper between them produced numerous paintings of Avebury, West Kennet Long Barrow, Stonehenge and other megalithic structures.**

* The ‘Clyffe’ of Clyffe Pypard refers to the adjacent escarpment. ‘Pypard’ refers to Richard Pypard who was Lord of the Manor in 1231.

** Geoffrey Grigson’s 1960s guide to touring the countryside (The Shell Country Alphabet) has been republished (see for a review).

In an impressively clear and no-nonsense statement English Heritage and the National Trust appear to have kicked the debate into touch for at least a generation.

Request refused.

The vast majority of the England adult population support museums that wish to display and keep human bones for research purposes”

Church of St Peter, Clyffe Pypard. Image credit Heritage Action

First it was the village hall at Foxham. This time it’s the church at Clyffe Pypard, North of Avebury. As the church website says: 

Metal detecting rally at Woodhill Farm, Bushton ….. If you would like to try your hand at unearthing a loot of medieval treasure, ring Jane Angus (01793 731246) for a ticket, £15 per person. There will be experts on hand from the Salisbury Museum to authenticate your finds.   All funds will go directly to the upkeep of St Peter’s Clyffe Pypard.  Saturday 17th April 2010 at 10:00 AM
That’s what you get if that which is plain criminal in other countries is officially “partnered” rather than controlled – churches being misled into thinking that because raising money in this way is legal it’s therefore moral! Perhaps the church should ask a few questions and get in line with churches abroad, (none of which would dare raise funds in this way – or think it was other than a terrible idea)…..

1. These experts (from the Portable Antiquities Scheme possibly) could be asked, straight out, if they actually think this event is a good idea? Or if they are actually there to record what they can because the event is going ahead anyway, whatever anyone says? Did they actually ENCOURAGE this event? Have they ever encouraged ANY such event? (Pin them down. Ask them for a yes or a no.) In their opinion is the investigation of the buried archaeological resource here needed? In view of English Heritage’s guidelines for proper professional investigations is it being done in the best way or a totally and utterly inferior and damaging way that English Heritage would say no archaeologist should dream of employing? (Make sure you ask these questions to any archaeologists or archaeological bodies you can find, but in strict confidence, and make sure the answers are unequivocal. If they say this event is a good thing and they want it to go ahead then ask them to put it in writing. And draw your own conclusions when they won’t!)

2. “All funds will go directly to the upkeep of St Peter’s Clyffe Pypard.” Oh WILL they? So will all the finds be donated to the village for local display or for selling in aid of the church? Are this busload of detectorists coming all the way from Wales to Wiltshire and paying you a fee going to do exactly that, to help your village and your church, or are they going to take some if not all of your history home with them to keep for themselves or to sell on EBay? (Do take a look on Ebay, it’s a revelation!)

So please, please consider whether letting people do in Clyffe Pypard what would get them sent to jail for elsewhere outside Britain is a good idea. (Do your own research, don’t take our word for it!) If you really need to investigate your history pay for a proper archaeological exercise (not that they’ll agree – archaeology prefers not to disturb the record unless it’s unavoidable and archaeologists don’t dig our communal inheritance up for fun or to claim for themselves, or to sell, or on a false pretext of charity), there’s no other way that won’t deprive the next generation of local inhabitants it’s right to it’s own historical record.

“Where’s our history Daddy?”

“The church flogged it to a busload of Welsh people for a few pounds each and it’s no longer here. You could go to all their houses if you know who they are and ask them if they still have it, or ask Ebay if you could look through their sales archives – or see pictures of an unknown proportion of it on the internet.”

(PS, yes, yes, “Treasure items will be shared fifty fifty”, bet you’ve been told that, but what about the 99.9% of archaeologically interesting or valuable items that will be found that will NOT be Treasure Items – did anyone mention those? Will they end up on the bus? We think you know the answer.)


Lucrative heroism?

Heritage Action vindicated at Portable Antiquities conference

Largest detecting forum confesses to undermining PAS

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.

Nighthawking: much ado about the wrong thing.


April 2010

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