by Alan S.

We conclude our review of 2015 on the Heritage Journal, through Autumn and bringing us right up to date.

2015-2016_change

September
Sadly, there seems to be a need amongst certain visitors to ancient sites to proclaim their presence to others in the worst way possible. We highlighted two sites where this was the case this month, with both the Nine Ladies of Stanton Moor in the Peak Disctrict, and the Ring of Brodgar on Orkney being targeted by vandals.

Yet there are more pleasurable and responsible ways to visit sites, as a group in the Peak District demonstrate. We also attended a one-day conference celebrating Prehistoric Kent.

We held a short survey of our readership this month, and the results showed a pleasing balance of both professional and amateur archaeologists and others interested in heritage.

In our stone rows series we examined the Sharpitor NW single row, and introduced a new occasional series looking at the ‘Neolithic M1’, whilst in Parliament some incisive questions were being asked about Stonehenge.

October
Two very opposing threads appeared this month. The first, that of damage and desecration was highlighted by a story from Ireland, and our mood was not improved by two stories of ‘Brandalism’ in Cardiff and Wilmington.

The second thread was one of protection. Firstly, one of our readers intervened in a situation at Castlerigg,  and we reported on some sterling site clearance work being done in Cornwall.

Staying in the SouthWest, we looked at the Cornwall Council Mapping Service and it’s use when planning site visits, and added the Yar Tor alignment to our regular series on stone rows.

Oh, and we answered some useful constructive criticism of our views of archaeology and archaeologists.

November
As the Stonehenge tunnel saga rumbled on, we tried to unravel some of the doublespeak being used, and pointed out several holes in the case for the short tunnel and the National Trust’s double standards. As for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, we made a suggestion to improve their funding and pointed out the problems with the Emperor’s new clothes.

We shed new light on Cadw’s methods of ‘Preservation by Record’, whilst a glimmer of different kind, one of hope, shone for Oswestry.

We also wrote about the Peddars Way, part of the ‘Neolithic M1’, and highlighted some of the history of the Boslow Stone, in Cornwall.

December
This month the focus has largely been on Oswestry, with a demonstration at the Shropshire County headquarters followed by the devastating decision to retain OS004 within the SAMDEV plan. But this is not the end, the fight goes on.

We continued to campaign for Mynydd y Betws recognition as a prehistoric site (and the fight goes on), and showed how old maps can demonstrate the changing interpretation of a site through time.

Our Christmas competition this year was a bit harder than most people expected. If you were stumped, the answers are now available.

Conclusion
Firstly we’d like to give hearty thanks to all our contributors, commenters and other participants, as well as all our readers. Without any of you, there would be no Heritage Journal. As the news in general for heritage has been particularly grim this year, we’ve posted nearly 250 articles, well over our target of around 180 for the year.

Of necessity, this review has been just a brief overview of some of the stories we’ve presented, but we’d urge everyone to browse through our archives (see link on the left) to catch up on any stories you may have missed. We’d like to close by wishing all our readers a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Father Time, Wikimedia Commons.

Father Time, Wikimedia Commons.

Personal Note: Once again, for the second year running, family health issues have truncated my opportunities to get out amongst our ancient sites. But as ever, I’m hoping a more normal service of providing visit reports and Bank Holiday drives will present itself in 2016.

Be assured we’ll continue in the New Year, making the establishment as uncomfortable as we can by discussing the embarrassing issues in Bonkers Britain as usual. So don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter or here on WordPress/RSS to make sure you don’t miss anything. And if you’d like to contribute, either a one-off or on a more regular basis, please get in touch!