You are currently browsing the daily archive for 27/12/2020.

As most people would agree, 2020 has been a hell of a year! With lockdown effectively cancelling all our planned spring, summer and autumn field trips, we make no excuse for handing the vast majority of the Heritage Journal entries over to the most important story of the year;  the ongoing saga of the Stonehenge Tunnel. As regular readers will be aware, we strongly oppose the tunnel in its proposed form, and have fought bitterly against the propaganda pushed out by the establishment organisations and those with a vested interest in the short tunnel going ahead. At all times we have provided our readers with what we believe to be the true picture, from the viewpoint of what is best for the archaeology, and for the heritage owners – the public.

But away from that, and our ongoing campaign to highlight the damage done by artefact hunters, what else have we covered this year?

January

We began the year with a pop or two at the National Trust who, despite several pleas from us, are still allowing trail hunting to take place on their land. Of course, as many know, ‘trail-hunting’ is now NewSpeak for ‘fox-hunting’, yet the National Trust still support this barbarism.

February

We reported on the petition to save the Rollright Stones, which are under threat from yet another road-building scheme. Also, we covered two landscape projects. The first called for volunteers to refresh the chalk figure at Uffington, scene of the first meeting of Heritage Action, the Heritage Journal’s mother organisation. The second was ‘Kerdroya’, the Cornish Hedge Community Heritage Project, which culminated in a vast (56m) wide labyrinth built of Cornish Hedging, near to Colliford Lake on Bodmin Moor. It is hoped that the finished article will be open to the public in Spring 2021.

March

This month began with some good news: the three monuments of the Rollright Stones came under single ownership for the first time, the King Stone being added to the Kings Men circle and the Whispering Knights tomb under the auspices of the Rollright Trust.  

In our occasional ‘Fascinating Facts’ series, we looked at Dartmoor’s Sacred Circle, whilst in development news, it was good and bad for Oswestry as the developers withdrew their plans for housing, only to return with an amended plan later in the month. The obligatory appeal for objections was raised, and gained considerable support from our readers before the April deadline.

And then it hit. COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown. As the prospect of staring at the four walls loomed large, with no definitive end in sight, we made some suggestions for lockdown activities.  

April

Oswestry. Due to the pandemic, the deadline for objections was extended and such was the response that the website for objections struggled to stay online.

Sadly this month, we lost one of the greats with the news of Aubrey Burl’s passing.

We rounded off the month with a ‘what if?’ question for our readers.

We’ll continue our review of 2020 in part 2, tomorrow.

Landowners might well consult Wikipedia to learn about nighthawks but it’s clear that whoever wrote the entry deliberately distorted the truth. For instance:

1.) “Nighthawkers, being criminals, are distinct from law-abiding metal detectorists.”

Obviously. But that diverts from the important truth, useful to landowners, that nighthawks are NOT distinct from detectorists in general. The two groups occuply the same space, the same clubs, the same forums and the same Finds Liaison Officers. How else could nighthawks gain intellgence and professional identifications and Treasure rewards? Why doesn’t Wikipedia make THAT clear for the benefit of landowners?

2.) “The National Council for Metal Detecting or the Federation of Independent Detectorists are not to be confused with such criminal activity”.

But as explained above, that can’t be true! Of course nighthawks are likely to be members of those bodies since nighthawks aren’t a distinct species they are simply metal detectorists. Why doesn’t Wikipedia make THAT clear for the benefit of landowners?

3.) “Furthermore, it has been claimed, but not proven, that nighthawkers use such groups as a method of obtaining information about archaeological sites.”

But why wouldn’t they, being metal detectorists, every one of whom do exactly that? Why doesn’t Wikipedia make THAT clear for the benefit of landowners?

4.) “It has also been claimed that criminal gangs have been directed to archaeological sites by rogue archaeologists seeking a share of ill-gotten spoils.”

Claimed by whom? Evidenced when? Why would a rogue archaeologist intent on ill-gotten spoils have a need to enlist the help of a scruff with a spade? The statement serves simply to make it crystal clear who wrote the page. It is to be hoped that landowners will take heed.

PS … and this one’s a doozy!

5. Regarding Treasure, “Nighthawkers rarely declare their finds due to the method of acquisition”.

What utter, utter rot! If you’d nighthawked something valuable and had no conscience you’d simply tell PAS and the Treasure Registrar you found it elsewhere, at a rally, surely?!

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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…my true love gave to me:

Three French hens.

Here we have two Roman (or Roman-style) mosaics, and a Gallo-Romano ceramic hen. Gallo is almost French, isn’t it?

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