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A damaged Monet. What has that got to do with it?

A damaged Monet. What has that got to do with it?

In 2014 we complained here and here about a detecting rally on the site of Weyhill fair, saying ….

“Sites really don’t come better than this!” said the organiser, and he was right ….. Everything dropped on those 60 acres forms an almost unique whole, a continuous record of social and commercial interaction in one small place over seven and a half centuries …… So it’s just crying out for a comprehensive archaeological field survey one day ……

Yet instead tomorrow (Sunday) it will be dug over by who knows whom from who knows where with a propensity to report amounting to who knows what, using no survey methodology but instead a totally random approach followed by irrational selectivity. So by Monday the site’s uniqueness will be gone forever as multiple holes will have been punched in the record and an unknown number of material and abstract components of  history will have been respectively quietly pocketed or destroyed and hence put beyond the reach of science…… It’s a bloody shame really. I’m no archaeologist, just a no-account amateur, but I know when something irreplaceable is being needlessly destroyed….. It’s scandalous.”

But they’ve announced they’ll be back again in March (a third visit I think) and this time, for just £35 you can help yourself for the whole weekend! Well worth it, as it includes one field that was “very productive and everyone agreed had a lot more to offer.” Strange, innit. No-one’s allowed to come back and have a second bash at a Monet but you can go back and have multiple bashes at Weyhill Fair ’till it’s all gone!

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“Sites really don’t come better than this!” 700 years of History, and not statutorily protected? Then we all have a legal right to take bits of it home for ourselves, yes? It's legal, innit?

Sites really don’t come better than this!” Absolutely! 750 years of History, entirely unprotected by law. What’s not to like?

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Update 11 Feb 2016 …. We have just been reminded by a correspondent that as a result of a very recent recent legislative change, if Weyhill Fair was in Wales then (in theory anyway) it could be scheduled and protected. It’s as if you are free to mess up a Monet in Minehead but not in Merthyr!

Update 6 March 2016 ….. It has been revealed that PAS “will be in attendance on Saturday only”.  The implications for the site are clear. If the hero-attendees could be trusted to report what they find on Sunday there would be no need for PAS to attend on Saturday.

Update 14 August 2016 ….. Are they going back for a fourth bite in September? “Anton Rotary Club are pleased to announce their autumn dig on land a couple of miles north west of Andover, Hampshire and adjacent to the the fields that we detected last spring” and “Directions and post code will be emailed a few days beforehand”.

Seems possible, but that they realise what they are doing is profoundly wrong so this time they’re not boasting about Weyhill Fair or that “Sites really don’t come better than this!”

Self-centred acquisitive oiks knowing they’re doing wrong but doing it anyway? Surely not?!

PPS, and they say, as do most rally organisers, “As usual ALL profits will go to our chosen charities”.  It’s a lie and a widespread one,  a neat playing with words. What they find goes in their pockets, not to their “chosen charities”. Ask them.

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