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Or is it some sort of twisted hoax?

Either way, it’s certainly twisted!

Skip along, in particular, to 3.00 minutes. Sick and moronic.

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Shropshire’s latest five-year housing figures make a re-think obligatory say the campaigners. The new figures show the latest Salop 5 year housing land supply is in surplus, with a 6.04 years supply of deliverable housing land, equating to 2,140 homes above target. This opens the way for the 117 houses in the hillfort’s setting to be reviewed with a view to removal.
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Dr George Nash, heritage adviser to HOOOH commented: “Shropshire planners have clearly been working hard to turn around housing land supply and should be congratulated on the new figures. This must now provide the basis to review the hillfort allocation which is strongly opposed by many County electors, national heritage and environmental groups, and at the highest levels of British archaeology.”  .

It’s hard to see how his  request can be refused in logic – and not just for now, but forever! Plus, there’s another massive reason why the Hill Fort’s setting should be respected at last: Shropshire Council have just given permission for the erection near Wem of Britain’s third replica ancient burial mound!

Bravo! Giving heritage-aware Salopians exactly what they want – and why not?

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Surely, if public appreciation and demand for replica ancient sites is being acknowledged so publicly and clearly then public appreciation and demand for the preservation of Shropshire’s own genuine ancient landscape should also be acknowledged publicly and clearly!

Watch this space!

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March 2014: “John Glen MP:  “A tunnel is the only realistic solution to protect Stonehenge”

September 2017: John Glen MP, Minister for Culture: “By ratifying the Hague Convention and both its Protocols, the UK underlines our absolute commitment to protecting cultural heritage, both here and across the globe.”

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Here are some egregious whoppers from the USA. If they seem familiar, particularly at Stonehenge, it might suggest the same hymn sheet is being used!

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“He goes on to mostly dismiss the arguments of people who commented pro-monument and to give entirely unjustified weight to the anti-monument comments. The thing is, the public opinion delivered during the four-month comment period could not be clearer—over 2.8 million people participated in the process, and 99.2 percent of the comments were in favor of preserving the monuments. Giving equal weight to a 99.2-to-0.8 percent divide is textbook false equivalency.”


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Inappropriate weighting and false equivalency…… aren’t Highways England et al employing precisely those techniques to the results of the public consultation at Stonehenge? Are the British public’s instinctive feelings that the world heritage landscape shouldn’t be subject to massive intrusion being trumped?

 

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Not for the first time The Beeb is supporting a false image of metal detecting. Prof Michael Wood makes 3 statements in the latest offshoot of BBC History Magazine which we feel should be challenged:. .


“Metal detecting was once frowned upon. Now it is a valuable tool”.
Actually, it was always a valuable tool, but always sadly misused by tens of thousands of people. It still is.

“By properly recording their finds and liaising with archaeologists, metal detectorists are placing vital material in the hands of historians.”
Actually, the great majority don’t and are therefore destroying that vital material by their silence.

“The exciting prospect is that – as long as things are properly reported and recorded – there is much, much more to be found.”
Actually, see above. There’s no call for excitement as there’s no evidence that most finds won’t continue to go unreported and be lost to science.


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We get it that a proportion of artefact hunters act “responsibly” within a charitable definition of the term – the fact has been trumpeted ad nauseam for 20 years – but, as Dr Sam Hardy has so clearly established – more than 90% of British recordable detecting finds are still  being lost to science. Surely a public service broadcaster (and a professor of Public Archaeology) should be conveying that true reality to the public?

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Our article on Tuesday drew Tweets from a commercial archaeologist who questions: “So it’s ok for academics to destroy archaeology at Blick Mead, is commercial archaeology so bad?”

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In response we would underline that we are discussing what happens within the boundaries of a World Heritage site (WHS).

At Blick Mead 100% of excavated material is sampled from comparatively small trenches, the project is painstakingly carried out so time consuming and labour intensive.

Where the Blick Mead project has taken years to progress, the commercial operation at the nearby eastern portal saw a large number of trenches excavated over a huge area and backfilled in a matter of days (pictured).

Commercial archaeology has its well deserved place, indeed we gladly point out that some of the most eminent academics researching in the WHS honed their skills at the sharp end, but within a WHS this comparison of slow microsurgery and speedy results surely speaks for itself.


 

It’s high time the British press recognised that blatant Government attacks on protected places wasn’t something that only happened in “Trumpland”. See this, an American report in the Guardian:

“Just weeks into his presidency, Trump hamfisted the Dakota Access Pipeline through the graves and homelands of the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota.
Now, thanks to a leaked memo from interior secretary Ryan Zinke, we know the president plans to shrink protected areas and lift restrictions on extractive developments at 10 national monuments across the country – including the sacred Bears Ears national monument in southern Utah.”

That phrase “shrink protected areas” is precisely what links President Trump with English Heritage, Historic England, The National Trust and Highways England – for that is exactly what they are pushing to happen at the Stonehenge World Heritage Site – to shrink the protected area. (Let them try to deny it if they dare). There’s one difference though: in percentage terms they are trying to shrink the protected Stonehenge landscape to a far greater extent than the President is trying to shrink the Bears Ears national monument!

Please read this.
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It says excavation = learning. Therefore excavating a large swathe of the Stonehenge landscape of all places for a road, against UNESCO’s wishes, should be welcomed.
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We are only amateurs but we profoundly disagree. It seems to us to be a worryingly damaging stance.

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But …..
In December they spooked local villagers by concocting and publishing an embarrassingly inappropriate peak-time traffic relief route directing all the A303 traffic straight through a small local community and announcing it in an apparently innocent, chirpy fashion:Stuck in traffic on the A303 Stonehenge? Our planned upgrades will ease congestion, making journeys faster and more reliable(and they had to apologise within days) ….

Then in June, just before the solstice celebrations, we had “Delays expected on A303 ahead of Summer Solstice/Highways England is warning drivers of the risk of potential delays/ Congestion can be expected/a 40mph speed limit will be in place on the A303 between the Countess roundabout and Longbarrow roundabout/ lay-bys closed/ dual carriageway between Countess roundabout and Stonehenge Cottages will be reduced to a single lane” … and so on.

….. and now, days after their preferred route has been confirmed AND with their fiirst”drop in” session about it starting today, we have “Misery for motorists as stretch of the A303 closes for weekend” ….. The closure’s expected to have an impact on traffic in Durrington, Tidworth and Ludgershall. Amesbury, Salisbury, and Andover are also likely to be affected. It’s expected to have even more of an impact due to the existing roadworks in Larkhill and Durrington.”

Can you believe it?  130 Tasmanian Aboriginal relics have been seized after a tip off that they were being offered for sale. Under the Tasmanian Aboriginal Heritage Act, it is an offence to destroy, conceal, remove or sell Aboriginal relics and the maximum penalty is $795,000.

Compare and contrast the (maybe) 300 mostly legally acquired but unreported British relics held on average by each of 24,000 British relic hunters. Clearly, whatever concerns exist about cultural damage due to the digging up of 130 Aboriginal relics in Australia, the damage is utterly inconsequential compared with Britain where the number of cultural losses is demonstrably more than 50,000 times greater.

But here in Britain we don’t legislate. We ingratiate. It’s the best way, don’tcha know!

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