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Not exactly dangerous revolutionaries, are they?

Yet Highways England took it upon themselves to send this pally message to a local pro-scheme group…

From: Von Hippel, Yogi
Sent: 27 August 2020 14:55
To: Janice Hassett
Subject: Extinction Rebellion Protest tomorrow 28 August 2020
Hi Janice,
Just to let you know we’ve been informed of an Extinction Rebellion Protest tomorrow on the A303 at Stonehenge road junction. It starts at 9:30am and could be disruptive to drivers.
Why did they send that “warning” to their local allies? To create resentment? To prompt a counter-demonstration? Who knows? Anyway, the climate campaigners seem to have conducted themselves properly, rendering this comment from the pro-scheme lobby rather ironic: “Always knew this was going to get dirty!
Actually, it is Highways England that is famous for Stonehenge-related dirty tricks. See here.

It’s bad news all round, but as the Journal is about “ordinary people caring for extraordinary places” we’ll confine our dismay to that. A Fox News style TV channel is planned for Britain! Surely that spells disaster for heritage?

In the US it provides ultra-populist programming in pursuit of pro-exploitation, right-wing agendas. On that basis, Britain can expect denial of climate change, rejection of UNESCO and a massive reduction in heritage protection.


Impossible in Britain? Have you seen Fox in the States?



More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


As we’ve often said, the British system makes it simple for crooks to make loads of money simply by lying to PAS about findspots. If they want to nighthawk or to cheat on finds agreements with farmers they can simply launder finds by falsifying the findspot. But some FLOs deny it happens:

If there’s something dodgy it’s usually immediately clear. We’re not amateurs at this. I repeat: we do not launder finds/artefacts” … “Plus there’s even a little info box we can fill in on the database if we’ve any spatial doubts”. But in truth, if a Claverley artefact is “relocated” to Clevedon thereby gaining a dishonest metal detectorist a financial advantage then no-one, including the FLO and the farmer, can possibly know.


So let’s have no more silly denials, PAS does launder finds. Unwittingly, obviously. Facing up to it and acknowledging it is the fault of the system would be more constructive than demanding proof or denying it.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

Looters with giant diggers have destroyed the 2,000-year-old historical site of Jabal Maragha deep in the desert of Bayouda, 270 kilometres north of Khartoum. They dug a vast trench, 17 metres deep, and 20 metres long…



… which is absolute peanuts compared with what’s planned for the Stonehenge World Heritage landscape – a trench twice as wide and 80 times longer.


You CAN do something about it! See here.

Highways England has issued a Project Update. A strange, unnecessary document, intended to show they’re still busy. They say they’ll be counting butterflies and monitoring bats, barn owls, badgers, otters, and water voles, because “knowing exactly where plants, animals, and habitats are now is vital to make sure we protect them in the future and avoid or reduce our impact on them. This will help us in our plans to improve biodiversity in the area.

So how will scraping a mile of new dual carriageway through the landscape avoid or reduce the impact on plants and animals? The only person who has so far achieved that is Grant Shapps, by delaying the project! As for their plan to “improve biodiversity in the area” we’d like to humbly suggest that’s baloney.

Highways England is a road organ, not a conservation agency and they really shouldn’t pretend otherwise. Our friend thinks he saw two Camberwell Beauties this month right on the line of the proposed road. What if it turned out they were part of England’s only breeding colony of them? Could we rely on Highways England to protect them?



Malvern Hills Trust @MalvHillsTrust

“Tell us what you’d like to see happen over the next 5 years to the natural and cultural and to improve public on the & Commons” 


Dear Posterity,

Words to the effect:
“We’ve been asked to allow cable cars to be built on the slopes and a visitor centre at the top but we refused as we’re not allowed to say yes and we have a duty to “keep the hills open, unenclosed and unbuilt on“. This has been our gift to you. Enjoy.
The Malvern Hills Conservators, 2015.”


Those aren’t dreams, they’re genuine.

What would be a dream would be if English Heritage talked like that about Stonehenge!

Most right-thinking people will be dismayed by Wiltshire Rural Crime Team’s recent tweet: “Shocking to see illegal metal detecting near Silbury Hill within the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site“. But they’ll no doubt be comforted by the two falsehoods which invariably appear in the press after such incidents: “such cases are rare” and “it was nighthawks not detectorists”.
Yet just this week there has been a spate of cases across the Malvern Hills (and we recently photographed it happening there in broad daylight, right next to a “no detecting” sign). That’s just on one range of hills comprising a 20,000th of the UK area so it can hardly be rare nationally.
As for “it was nighthawks not detectorists”, that’s pure baloney (PAS please note!). There IS no separate species. To nighthawk, you have to avail yourself of whatever “legal” detectorists use, including their clubs, their local knowledge and their access to the local Finds Liaison Officer. Thus you can launder your finds by find-spot falsification, obtaining official identifications, and, if you’re lucky, claim a Treasure reward.
Not that illegality is the biggest problem. Vastly more knowledge theft happens as a result of the majority of “legitimate ” detectorists not reporting their recordable finds. But there are no photographs of that. Not one. And PAS doesn’t talk about it.
If anything WAS found here, it will certainly be laundered by findspot description, shown to PAS and might even earn a juicy Treasure Act reward while museums are left short of funds. As worldwide heritage protection systems go, the British one is surely the craziest?


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


Like most Rotarians, members of Dunmow Rotary club seem a nice, well-meaning group of senior citizens. They’ve just cancelled their “charity metal detecting rally”, ostensibly because of coronavirus. Strange that, as all other rallies are going ahead. Is it because of what we said a couple of weeks ago:

“Rotary Clubs are by far the biggest hosts of Charity detecting rallies. (“Rotary club” + “metal detecting” gets you 15,500 Google hits). It’s due to the kindness of their land-owning members, unaware of the heritage damage, and that the main beneficiaries are the detectorists, who keep the finds, not donate them.”

.Let’s hope so, and that other Rotary clubs will follow suit. It’s a lesson to PAS: we know you don’t like big rallies because of the heritage damage they do, so rather than endlessly shrugging and saying “but they’re legal so we can’t do anything”just tell landowners the truth, starting with all the Rotary clubs?


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


Imagine the righteous fury from English Heritage if UNESCO stuck that second notice on the stones?

But which desecration will posterity think is worst – ignoring the first notice (which the occasional ignorant ruffian has), or defying the second one, which English Heritage intends to do?

If those who support it (who also happen to be archaeologists – people normally renowned for sober, balanced judgment and equitable presentation of the evidence) are offering advice like this to the lay public you can be confident they’re pretty sure the game’s up:

“If you do write to your MP about this, check the facts first. A prehistoric landscape will not be bulldozed (it’s a tunnel underneath the landscape, and where it’s not tunnel it will be excavated ahead of the bulldozers)”

A large section of the world heritage prehistoric landscape (10.75 acres of it, five and a half football pitches) WILL be bulldozed, to a depth that will destroy every speck of ancient archaeology – and it won’t be just a couple of bulldozers, there’ll be dozens of them, working day and night for many weeks. As for “it will be excavated ahead of the bulldozers”, even Highways England admits they’ll only fully investigate a very small proportion of the area they’ll destroy.

So by all means write to your MP, (you can do it here) but make sure you give them those plain facts, plus this additional one: every one of those four million cubic feet of bulldozing of the archaeological levels is opposed by UNESCO!


A prehistoric landscape will not be bulldozed” Really? The area of prehistoric landscape they intend to excavate is about one hundred times larger than the one illustrated above!


August 2020

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