You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2017.

Western Black Rhinos became extinct recently, but we still have pictures.

Northern Black Rhinos are about to join them, but we’ll still have pictures.

Thirteen million bundles of knowledge haven’t been reported by metal detectorists. We don’t have pictures….





Back in 2010 we bemoaned the fact that so few prehistoric sites were in Britain’s tentative list for nomination as candidates for World Heritage status. So we suggested….

“If there aren’t going to be any specific prehistoric sites amongst the front runners, we’d probably support The Lake District – on the grounds that it includes many amazing prehistoric sites – and is anyway a marvellously strong contender for a host of other reasons as well.”

We’re delighted to say it made it! UNESCO has just announced The Lake District will be our new World Heritage Site. What with that and UNESCO formally telling Britain the short tunnel at Stonehenge is unacceptable it’s been a good week for heritage.

Sunkenkirk Stone Circle, Cumbria – (Image credit Tim Clark, Heritage Action)


  “We pay up to £1,000 per visit for our members to metal detect your fields…”

Hey, PAS, EH, HE, CBA, NFU, CIfA, ALGAO, RCHAM, BM, APPAG why so quiet?

Are you content that this is happening weekly in Britain but nowhere else, not even in North Korea?


We’ve had this response from a metal detectorist:

“Yes I am very happy that in Britain, detectorists are allowed, and encouraged, to contribute to the PAS. Whereas, in North Korea:-

It is illegal for the North Korean people to leave their country without the regime’s permission, and the regime attempts to restrict the people’s movement even inside their own country.

If you wish to travel to another part of the country, you are supposed to have a specific purpose and obtain permission from your work unit. If you do not live in Pyongyang, the showcase capital where most resources are concentrated, you will likely be denied access.

The regime has also forcibly relocated hundreds of thousands of North Koreans to less favourable parts of the country as a form of punishment and political persecution.

If Heritage Action’s disciples want to compete with the UK’s ‘Tekkies’ in the heritage stakes, then they should stump up the cash: That’s democracy, but I recognise, such a political concept is alien to many of your bag-carriers – poets, ‘writers on the edge’ (of what remains unclear) – who’d apparently like to foist North Korea’s values on Britain.

There’s no dissension in North Korea, in case you hadn’t noticed. Were Heritage Action/Journal to lampoon North Korea’s government under that regime, Nigel Swift, Sandy whats-her-name, et al, ad nauseam, would end up with a bullet in the back of the neck. So, not all bad then, some might say!

I’d reckon, 1K per farmer to hunt is good value.”

Says it all. North Korea is a terrible regime and yet ….




Krakow, 6 July 2017

UNESCO’S World Heritage Committee agreed in Krakow yesterday morning that the benefits a 2.9km tunnel would bring to the centre of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS) cannot be offset against the damage it would cause to other parts of the WHS. It recommends that the Government reviews the scheme to widen the A303 road so that it does not adversely affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the WHS.


Paddy Power has been brandalising again,  this time at the Cerne Abbas Giant.

They are well aware they shouldn’t (because of the danger of unauthorised and damaging copycatting) for back in 2012 they brandalised Uffington (see below) and dealt with the criticism by donating some penance money to charity, whereupon they seem to have been forgiven.


But the message from the Trust has never been firm enough. Of the latest Paddy Power stunt they said they didn’t encourage that sort of thing but in 2003 they accepted £2,000 for allowing this, see below, promoting Big Brother and then, after complaints about the lack of respect for monuments and the bad example it set, their spokesman announced “we might have got this wrong”. Too true. How about a policy stronger than “we do not encourage”?


A while back Stewart Lee in the Observer had a powerful message for both Paddy Power and the Trust:

Last weekend, the world woke to find Morrisons had projected an image of a cut-price baguette on to the outstretched wings of Antony Gormley’s iconic public artwork The Angel of the North. The stick of bread was the perfect shape to occupy the Angel’s wingspan, and one wonders what other products Morrisons might have filled Gormley’s emotionally resonant secular sacred space with next. A toilet brush perhaps?

In March 2012, the stupid bookmakers Paddy Power celebrated the Cheltenham horse murdering festival by drawing a jockey overnight on to the 3,000-year-old chalky flanks of White Horse of Uffington. Paddy Power claim to have done no damage and instead their own blog invited us to think of them as “lovable scamps” and “mischief makers”, the Horrid Henrys of wilful cultural vandalism.

Our last culture minister suggested that public art’s only value was commercial, and our new culture minister supports ticket touts, suggesting culture’s value is merely whatever the market wants to pay for it. In receipt of such mixed messages, is it any wonder Morrisons looked at the aching wingspan of Gormley’s Angel and saw only an empty space that wasn’t being maximally monetised?

And that’s where we are now. Ancient forests can be destroyed, if equal amounts of trees are planted somewhere else, an inherent sense of place and historical resonance translated into the worth of its mere weight in wood. It’s me that’s out of step, I am sure.”

Transport Minister John Hayes has just been mocked in Parliament for refusing to take interventions from MPs without ties. Much fun ensued, with one female MP subsequently saying she wouldn’t answer anyone who wasn’t wearing a feather boa and another saying she’d only speak to people wearing their pants on their heads. But maybe it’s not so hilarious. Might it be that the Transport Minister feared one of the questions would be about what he thought about UNESCO saying it was not acceptable to say the short tunnel’s benefits outweighed the damage?

English Heritage, Historic England and the National Trust have taken a different route. They too have opted to answer no questions from people without ties, or with them, but have issued a joint statement saying they’re “disappointed” by what UNESCO say.

WHY? Since when is protection by a world body disappointing? Will they be “disappointed” if the scheme is cancelled and will they then remain loudly resentful for the next few decades that they’ve been prevented from ripping massive tears across a World Heritage Landscape? What a grotesque stance that would be for conservation bodies to take, but that’s the logical consequence of their current stance.

The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is seeking to appoint a new Chair of Trustees from November 2017. There are also vacancies for four Trustees.


Voluntary and unremunerated: reasonable expenses reimbursed.

Location: Flexible

The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is seeking to appoint a new Chair of Trustees from November 2017. The CBA, based in York, is a UK-wide educational charity working to involve people in archaeology and promote the appreciation and care of the historic environment.

Working with the Trustee Board and Executive, the new Chair will make sure that the Council for British Archaeology develops and delivers a new ambitious strategy for change in accordance with its charitable aims and to secure its long-term sustainability. The new Chair will champion the educational objectives of the Council, recognising how access to archaeology can inspire young people across the UK.

The Chair will lead the organisation in the next phase of its development to build the role that a progressive archaeological organisation can play in the twenty-first century, growing its impact, profile and financial sustainability.

The Board is seeking someone with good change and business experience as well as strong ambassadorial skills to work with a wide range of stakeholders. In the new Chair the Board is seeking someone with experience and enthusiasm for heritage or archaeology to provide leadership for the Board along with support and challenge to the Executive.

Commitment up to two days per month, term 3 years, renewable.

Closing date for nominations: Friday 21 July 2017

Trustee vacancies

Following the retirement of a number of existing trustees having completed their full term, there are vacancies for four new trustees for election at the AGM in November 2017. The CBA is particularly seeking trustees with strategic experience in fundraising, marketing and communications, and business management.

All trustee nominations for election at the 2017 AGM must be received by 6 August 2017.

For further details and for an informal conversation about any of the above vacancies please contact Dr Mike Heyworth MBE, CBA Director,

Dear Detectorists,
If you find Treasure you may get a reward. Hurrah! But please be warned: Paragraph 81 of the Treasure Act Code of Practice says you won’t if you’re an archaeologist
or “anyone engaged on an archaeological excavation or investigation”.

That matters. It means you’d better not tell your farmer you’re engaged in an archaeological investigation or anything like it and you’d better ask PAS to stop telling all and sundry that detectorists are “citizen archaeologists” and part of “Britain’s largest community archaeology project “. If you find Treasure while doing anything other than plain artefact hunting for your own benefit you might get no reward at all! 

It’s particularly important you take heed just now – for we’ve heard that some conservation busybodies are planning to approach some Treasure inquests and hearings with overwhelming evidence that certain farmers have been told (by both detectorists and PAS, verbally and in writing) that the people they allowed onto their land to metal detect were actually engaged in an archaeological process.

Hope this helps. We hope you’ll amend what you tell farmers. Urgently.



More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting



July 2017

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