Did the paper get it wrong? ….

The archaeological community is looking for guidance from the case of a Mendip landowner into the penalty that may be imposed for damaging historic sites

The archaeological community can express an opinion (just as we did recently ourselves) but only the judge can decide the penalty. So probably what the journalist meant was that the archaeological community was wanting a debate on what reinstatement work is appropriate. That discussion probably wouldn’t have arisen at all, due to the cost, but for the fact Mr Penny seems to be wishing to demonstrate a willingness to “put the damage right“.

While it may be a good idea for him to finance some exploratory archaeological work at the site to establish just what remains and what doesn’t, building an actual replica seems a less useful thing to do. For a start, both he and the public ought to be left in no doubt that if you remove prehistory you CAN’T put it right and anyone that does it shouldn’t imagine they can later gain brownie points by offering to.

In addition, please let’s not take up his barrister’s suggestion, that any work should be “done or supervised using Mr Penny’s resources under the eye of English Heritage”. Wouldn’t that mean Mr Penny’s distinctive orange bulldozers working at the Priddy Circles once more? Wouldn’t it be best if that never, ever happened again?!

Maybe there is one way Mr Penny’s money  could do some real good. What if he voluntarily gave English Heritage a million or two to spend on general heritage preservation projects elsewhere? That would have a genuine beneficial effect and he’d be welcome to claim as many brownie points as he liked!