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National Trust Archaeology @NatTrustArch

Have been in touch with our head of archaeology and National comms team this morning to make them aware of this. Utterly appalling.


Quite right. And yet the Trust is supporting the short tunnel project at Stonehenge which, arguably, will result in far more heritage damage than anything Cadburys could ever have caused. Which is even more “Utterly appalling.

(And at least Cadburys have now withdrawn their plans and apologised).

After 20 years of expensive taxpayer-funded “outreach” by many hundreds of PAS employees, American-owned Cadburys and their new English PR firm have shown they are utterly clueless and uninformed about the law, looting and legal knowledge theft. The only question that matters is WHY?.  


“There’s plenty of real treasure out there still to be discovered. So, what are you waiting for?”

Unearth the fortunes of Rome in Somerset Over 52,000 gold and silver coins were discovered by a metal detectorist in Frome, Somerset. So, grab your metal detector and go hunting for Roman riches!

Hunt for precious rings in Fermanagh* Recently discovered deep in a bog in County Fermanagh a priceless jewel laid dormant for 3,000 years. Are you willing to get your hands dirty to discover more? [*Metal detecting is illegal in Ireland!]

Get your hands on gold in Mooghaun FortGold ingots were unearthed 3-feet underground in Rockcorry, Mooghaun. The treasures have been valued to be worth €150 million… Probably, worth a quick check.

Mine for Saxon gold in Chelmsford, Essex Over 1,500 years ago, an Anglo-Saxon King buried his gold in a field in Chelmsford. Now, 1,500 years later, the treasure’s fair game.


Cadburys are getting massive criticism, and, as always, PAS is crying mia non culpa and diverting attention: this is “an opportunity to engage and educate” don’tcha know? No, it’s a scandal: after 20 years of public finance no-one in Britain, not even American chocolate manufacturers, should have been left in a state of damaging ignorance about the law, looting and legal knowledge theft. It is that failure which should be absolutely central to the forthcoming discussions on reform of the Treasure Act and hobby metal detecting.


Update 18 March 2019:
Numerous archaeologists and others have contacted Cadburys over the weekend to explain (in the words of the CBA for instance) “why this is so inappropriate and misguided”. When Cadburys formally respond they are bound to say “we didn’t know” – (what other possible excuse could there be?) If all those archaeologists and others don’t want such a thing to ever happen again perhaps they should then ask themselves

“WHY? How is it possible there is anyone in Britain in 2019 in a state of ignorance about the way to treat buried archaeology?



More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


Remember this from 2017? Advice from a well-known detectorist on how to send coins abroad…. “It helps to mark the envelope ‘Numismatic Specimen’ rather than ‘roman coin’ thus helping to deflect the attention of prying eyes.” It’s not hard to guess why “prying eyes” would be unwelcome. We had hoped PAS and The Treasure Registrar would have reacted.

But no, and now, 2 years later, he has repeated it: Whenever sending cultural goods aboard, particularly coins, ALWAYS mark the envelope, correctly and truthfully, as Numismatic Specimens. This helps deflect the unwanted attentions of prying eyes and those with criminal intent.”



Let’s hope that this time, belatedly, PAS and The Treasure Registrar will take note and warn landowners and HM Revenue & Customs about this “advice” and the behaviour of some detectorists.

More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


First, the good news: If you damage a scheduled monument with a bulldozer English Heritage will ensure you’re punished (ask Mr Penny – he was fined and very nearly jailed for damaging the Priddy Circles), but if you get a contract to damage the Stonehenge World Heritage landscape with lots of bulldozers, they’ll say you’re doing improvement work and you’ll be fine.

However, there are 3 big risks for would-be contractors:
1.) Mr Parody of Highways England has said: “potential contractors are nervous about the risk of tunnelling at a World Heritage Site. The things still being addressed that are perhaps making people slightly restless is say, the risk allocation. For example the archelogy [sic] where does the archology [sic] risk sit?” And (amazingly): “I didn’t list archaeology as a challenge as the archaeology of the WHS is really well understood. We know what’s there ….” (Er, no, no-one knows everything that’s there and, as a potential contractor, you would be wise to be very worried about that!)

2.) and 3.) There are also dire financial and reputational risks, as recently explained by Adam Woods on the FB page of the Stonehenge Alliance: If I was a construction company, thinking of bidding on driving a tunnel and associated works through a World Heritage Site, working to what was publicly acknowledged as an impossible budget. I would be very nervous, I would be looking for other projects to bid on” and:It could adversely affect my share price, give me very bad PR “the company that ruined Stonehenge” .

The company that ruined Stonehenge? ….. Not a good label to be stuck with forever more in Wiltshire, The Stock Exchange and across the world. So if you’re still determined to tender you’d be wise to pitch very, very high as it may cost you very dear in the end. Digging deep and wide across nearly a mile of Europe’s most precious pre-historic landscape involves multiple huge unknown archaeological risks and is unlikely to end well for anyone controlling a fleet of bulldozers displaying their name and logo. The spreading of asbestos close to the stones and the Blick Mead debacle were indicative of the many things that could go wrong and are only the start.

While our conservation bodies are pretending that massive new damage is a net gain and that UNESCO’s opposition can be ignored, it’s possible that lack of government finance will thwart them again:

1.) As early as July 2017 the Infrastructure and Projects Authority gave the project a red rating (meaning without urgent action it may be undeliverable). Then, after changes the rating was altered to reflect “increased confidence” the project would happen – but not to green, just to “amber/red”!

2.) Last April Highways England said the project was already straining against the £1.6 bn affordability limit set by government! It seems certain that the project is about to go massively over budget.

3.) Whatever form Brexit takes, or doesn’t, the UK is going to be a lot poorer than when the scheme was first proposed!

So it’s perfectly possible the thing could be cancelled. At which point it will be fascinating to see whether Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust have the almighty neck to claim they’re pleased!

Hurrah! Thanks to us the World Heritage Site has been saved from massive damage!

We’ve had a message from Farmer Brown’s mum…..

Dear Heritage Journal,
I hear there’s talk of reforming metal detecting. Maybe a word from the victims – the public – ought to be borne in mind during the high fallutin, discussions, so here’s what I wrote some years ago:


“The trouble with my lad Silas is he’s too trusting. Last night some metal detectorists came, asking to hold a “charity rally” on our top field. Why? says Silas. We’re history lovers they says. And saints? says Silas. Well, yes, that too they says, Well I wondered about that as when you see pictures of saints they never have pockets but this lot had loads. So I looked on Silas’s computer to see if there was a problem with them and now I know, the fawning, rough-hewn poverty-toothed grabmoles.

There’s a “charity rally” due at Cranfield, Bedfordshire. “In aid of Farmers Contribution To Homeless Children” it says. But it doesn’t say how much. Or if the event will comply with the official guidelines. Or if PAS will be there to record stuff. But it DOES say “dealers” will attend. That’s so people can convert finds into wonga in moments – and not for the benefit of the farmer or homeless children. Does that sound like history loving? Or charity? Or more like dissembling, brazen-faced, hedge-born scuts? I know what I think and what The Archaeological Establishment thinks. It’s pretty obvious to anyone that thinks about it, even Silas: IF: 1.) the finances aren’t clear, 2.) it’s not guideline-compliant, 3.) PAS aren’t there or 4.) dealers are there, it’s not a history event or a charity one, it’s a grabfest.

Oh, and if the detectorists at your door are in any detecting club that isn’t the one in Crawley, West Sussex tell them to go to hell. Only that club makes reporting finds compulsory – “Any person found not declaring finds to the Finds Liaison Officer will be expelled immediately“. They only have 30 members which means only 3 in every thousand detectorists are in clubs that insist on decent, history-loving behaviour. (Ask the other 9970 WHY and don’t let them wriggle! And if any club wants to claim THEY are “responsible” tell them it’s not hard, they can adopt the Crawley rule in moments and then you’ll believe them).

Anyway, if you don’t want to take the word of a Salopian centenarian about all this, show this letter to any archaeologist and ask if they agree with every word. They will. But don’t let them mumble. And remember: do NOT let any club onto your land that doesn’t have the established, written club rule: “Any person found not declaring finds to the Finds Liaison Officer will be expelled immediately” All archaeologists think that’s sound advice so please follow it.

Your friend,

Tryphena Brown


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

Our Artefact Erosion Counter is currently showing 6,447,350 finds made (and mostly not recorded) since PAS was formed. We trust that appalling figure will be borne in mind at this time when laissez faire metal detecting is in the spotlight.

But on 15th July last year Paul Barford began an Artefact Erosion Counter Mark ll, based on the figures proposed as realistic by Dr Sam Hardy in 2017. That Counter now stands at 6,849,712 ….


Which is 402,000 more artefacts, all of them unrecorded, than proposed by our original counter. We hope that too will be borne in mind in discussions.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting



(C) Stonehenge Dronescapes


For some time we’ve likened the distortions of the pro-short tunnel lobby to the sound of “yowling moggies” (see them all here). Now it’s clear there was a 34th one dropped into the press over three years ago:

  • “In an email, seen by the BBC, Highways England suggests a southern bypass route would be “considered” as part of the “design consultation” phase of the upgrade.”
  • In a statement, Highways England said: “As part of our public engagement we are committed to considering the alternative routes that are being suggested and will look at these as part of our engagement work.”

It’s now clear, three years later, that was just tokenism with no serious intent. Consequently the cost of that “insincere research” can be added to the vast sums Chris Grayling has wasted while in power – recently estimated at £2.7 billion – an amount which could have gone towards a longer tunnel!


March 2019

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