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Another “accident” about to happen, “forever, for everyone”

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  1. Strengthen the Hunting Act
  2. Penalise those who allow Hunting and Commercial Shooting
  3. Increase the pitiful custodial sentences for animal cruelty
  4. Hope that at last, at this year’s National Trust AGM, there will be an unmanipulated vote, this time rejecting support for the cruel hypocrisy known as Trail Hunting.

Dear Friends,

My cousin Silas told me (via Paul Barford): “Sam Hardy’s work suggests there are 1,447 detectorists in Scotland. Yet according to the last report, less than 200 items or groups of items were reported as the law requires.”

But as we all know, Britain has been occupied for millennia and it’s just not possible to walk the fields for long periods, with or without a detector, without finding reportable stuff. Yet PAS has sponsored a group of archaeologists to say Sam’s findings are invalid.

Still, one reality they haven’t denied is that at least 6 out of 7 Scottish detectorists don’t declare their finds. So, Scottish Friends, if anyone knocks your door saying they’ll add to society’s knowledge or look after your interest, keep in mind there’s an 86% chance they won’t.

 

Happy Hogmanay!

Jock Brown

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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Is it a hole left after someone stole a 4,000-year-old rock art panel? Or a hole left after metal detectorists dug up a hoard without waiting for archaeologists? The former happened recently in Galacia. The latter has happened hundreds of times in Britain.

But which is it? It’s impossible to know because holes left by stolen culture all look the same. But there IS a way to tell, eventually: in Galicia, the culprits will be punished. In Britain, they never are.

 

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[PS: It’s actually the Galician hole!]

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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You can go inside the circle four times a year, but only if you are fit enough to stand in the cold and dark for many hours. If you aren’t, well, your only option is to pay a truly extortionate £47. On which planet is that possibly fair?

It’s easily fixed: far more access sessions inside the stones at more convenient times, straight after closing time on summer evenings. Pre-booked to limit numbers and not free but at a much lower charge.

Shouldn’t the full Stonehenge experience be available to everyone at a reasonable cost – including the unfit, the unspiritual and those who don’t want to dress up as ducks? Why is the current access policy discriminatory?

 

by Nigel Swift

In a recent chat with some prominent archaeologists, I was surprised to hear:
There is absolutely no foolproof method for extracting every single scrap of a disturbed hoard from the ploughsoil. Like any archaeological project, pragmatic decisions have to be made about whether the majority and/or a representative sample have been recovered.

But don’t exceptional assets warrant exceptional measures? Modern detectors now go far deeper so the logic is inescapable: they need to go back. It wouldn’t even be expensive: 50 archaeology students with 50 GPX 5000 machines loaned by Minelab would be a response worthy of this hoard – at last!

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The “illusory truth effect” dictates that when people hear a false statement multiple times they perceive it as true. Hence people are prepared to be repeatedly reassured that the original searches using Ebex 420H machines reaching down 30cm were adequate. The nighthawk who subsequently dug this hole knew better and may well have used a GPX 5000  machine which can go down to 85cm.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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Highways England is campaigning for the short tunnel, but did you know its shares are all owned by the Secretary of State for Transport, the person who will make the final decision? It means he’s judge, jury, and advocate! To which you can add sneaky: here’s the pro-tunnel campaigning advice Highways England has been spreading around to sympathizers:

Social Media: You could follow A303 Twitter (and Facebook when we launch that), and encourage local community contacts to do the same.  You can comment – potentially tagging political and other influencers, and share with your own followers. You can also create and use community hashtag eg #4stonehengetunnel (which other community supporters can use) – this helps extend the reach of Tweets. You could follow scheme opponents on social media, correcting misinformation where you are qualified (and comfortable) to do so I do appreciate many of you don’t use Twitter/Facebook, but there will be people in your groups/communities that do.

Advice on proactively lobbying/adding support to scheme: You could write a letter to political/influencers expressing your local opinion, and copy to local papers. Or write a letter to local papers or specific national titles (e.g the Guardian) asking for the opportunity to put the case for your community. These could be from either individuals, communities or groups of communities. You could do a similar thing via social media tagging specific people/media. You could express your opinion by participating in a corridor advocacy video we are planning, or volunteer to be included in our upcoming campaign activity. (This does not need to be a video!) You could also be prepared to be approached by the media for comment.

Use existing business connections/memberships (eg chamber of commerce?
Talk about scheme 1-2-1 or at networking events. Identify potential speaking and engagement opportunities, and of course potential new supporters. Put forward scheme as agenda points during parish meetings – we could provide updates

Widen A303 comms reach: Sign up (via re-vamped scheme website – it’s worth a look) to newsletter and forward to contacts. Share content with community social media and publications

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Grant Shapps, who failed O-Level Science and is now judge, jury, and advocate for the short tunnel.

 

The account of the latest investigations sounds reassuring. But, as usual, there are glaring omissions (what did they actually find?) and distortions (the tunnel will avoid “important archaeological sites” (of course it will, it will be 40 m deep! But why no mention of a mile of new approach roads on the surface?!)

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Not that the potential contractors are so coy. It’s reported they are nervous about “the archaeology risk.” That risk is twofold: when archaeology is found there will be unpaid delays while it is recorded and then when it’s finally bulldozed away huge negative publicity will fall on the hapless contractors!

 

 

A group of bikers spent a pleasant afternoon at their national icon…

It won’t happen again. For one thing, these days they wouldn’t be allowed to bring their bikes. For another, English Heritage would charge them a total of £625 to stand just there (or £1,550 to go inside the stones!) So what’s behind the change? Clearly, it’s because English Heritage has been given a monopoly and so is free to charge as much as the market will bear.

But people DO have an alternative, of sorts, which monopolies hate. Get rid of that and the demand – and the price – will continue to rise. You can view the stones for free from a distance, without paying a penny and, coincidentally or not, English Heritage is working flat out to hide that free view enjoyed by millions of people forever as part of the hugely damaging short tunnel scheme.

Anyone care to guess the price they’ll charge to see the stones in five years if their monopoly on even seeing Stonehenge becomes absolute?


Update: We have received a Comment from paulintheswimhotmailcom which adds to the story. He explains that it is The National Trust which will share the monopoly (EH owning the monument and NT owning the land surrounding it) and The National Trust is ALSO supporting the short tunnel scheme!

 

The Bill is making rapid progress through the House. It requires dealers to report even small transactions to the government and keep extensive records. This is all entirely true, except it isn’t happening in Britain, it’s happening in the States and not in the House of Commons but in the House of Representatives.

But it will benefit Britain. If some of the hundreds of American detectorists who pay £2,000 for detecting holidays here decide to reimburse themselves by taking finds home to sell, US dealers will have to check where they came from, whether they’re Treasure items and whether the farmer is aware – and was paid!

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What level of shame should Britain be feeling over the fact it is Trump’s America, not Britain which is putting a lid on our heritage cookie jar!

 

 

 

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It’s because inflation has reduced the wages of these highly educated, dedicated professionals to an unsustainable level. That’s bad enough, but it’s even worse when you remember the financial rewards which come to the self-seekers below are entirely inflation-proofed and have been for decades!

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How ironic that dozens of archaeologists on very modest salaries are employed to offer encouragement to such people as if doing so is the norm elsewhere in the world. Anyone think Britain is bonkers?

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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