Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that they are lobbying for the Stonehenge World Heritage site to be grievously damaged, but Heritage England has just retweeted this from its archive:.


In 2007 Homer Simpson took a trip to Dorset…….. 


What possessed them to drag that up again after a decade and without a word of criticism? We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve asked heritage guardians not to publicise cheap brandalism stunts at heritage sites, particularly without condemning them, for fear copycatting will happen, but it’s well over twenty. Perhaps an article we published back in 2010 best sums up our feelings:

With the most recent incidents of vandalism affecting the Uffington White Horse and the Wilmington Long Man, the history of hill figures in the present century is dominated by turn overs – adoptions and adaptations by such as political groups, fundraisers, television and film stunts, advertisers, sporting patriots, and pranksters. In some cases this has been done with the consent and assistance of site guardians and heritage organisations that claim it could be achieved anyway with photography or mock-ups so they decide to control and financially benefit. In cases where it was not with the consent of such bodies, whether graffiti spraying, digging, or burning, it can have a lasting impact on the archaeology as well as the appearance. In all of these cases without exception, whether officially sanctioned or disapproved, it has lowered the public perception and esteem of hill figures as monuments.

Time to change stance guardians and heritage organisations – let the media know you disapprove of turn overs and why. Let’s get these cheapening stunts seen for what they are by the public, and let us all afford these unique monuments the time honoured respect they deserve.

Of course, we’re mere amateurs and not being paid so we’re unlikely to be listened to on this subject (and haven’t been for 15 years) but that doesn’t mean we aren’t dead right. It will be interesting to see how Houdini, Historic England’s new media manager, will comply in this case with his/her job description to “respond to sensitive stories that may put the organisation’s reputation at risk“.