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We don’t usually promote commercial items but Nancy Wisser who runs Clonehenge is one of the good guys, so here’s what she has just tweeted …

There is now a Clonehenge shop on Etsy. So far There are only 3 items up: 2 versions of the enamel mug, and a t-shirt for shipping within the U.S. and possibly Canada. I hope to add a ceramic mug plus add print-on-demand companies for the U.K. and Australia”. https://www.etsy.com/shop/Clonehenge

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Of course, there’s already a massive amount of Stonehenge merchandise available at the English Heritage visitor centre. (In fact, 10 years ago to this very day, we remember we published our article complaining that tender documents showed it would have 1,380 sq m of Retail, Catering and Back of House facilities and only 600 sq m for Interpretation and Education!)

But you should always try to shop ethical, and no-one has ever said Clonehenge wasn’t ethical. In particular, so far as we know, Nancy has never ever supported tearing a massive trench across the World Heritage landscape against UNESCO’s wishes and hiding the free view of the stones from millions of travellers, whereas English Heritage …!

So please, when she has them available, buy your Stonehenge-related mugs and t-shirts from Nancy at Clonehenge, not elsewhere!

Update posted by Nancy: Clonehenge Thank you. Please note that people in the U.K. can pay less for shipping by contacting Clonehenge directly! We have arranged to have products made in house by a company in Lancashire and shipped from there, both mugs (£10) and t-shirts (£15).

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Soon, you may have to hand over a picture of Turner every time you want to see the stones. Maybe several.

Who knows? But the organisers of September Detectival, traditionally a huge event attended by a thousand detectorists from all over Europe, are doing so:

“For Detectival 2021 we have arranged a brand new site, this NEW site sits in south Gloucestershire very close to the Wiltshire boarder.(Sic). The new site is in a very historically rich area with everything from standing stones and burial mounds to Roman villas and settlements and Medieval deer parks and much more.
With a beautiful late medieval building sitting in the middle of the site and with a Roman settlement one side of our site and Roman Villa on the other side of the site as well as a number of other features within the search area from crop marks to trackways we will be sure to see some interesting finds..

We can not give you the exact location of the event until closer to the time, we will give little hints and tips as to the area and its history as we get closer to the September Detectival.”

Why so coy? You’d think they’d be proud to have secured such a potentially “productive” area. We do know Let’s Go Digging maintains secrecy up to the night before to avoid “troublemakers”, i.e. concerned archaeologists having time to intervene, so maybe the same applies here. In case that’s true, and for the benefit of any concerned archaeologists, we think the clues point to Badmington House as the beautiful late medieval building with a Medieval deer park, Roman settlement, Roman villa, standing stones and burial mounds all nearby.

We might be wrong, so to allay all fears as to the suitability of the venue, it would be best if the organisers published a detailed location map as soon as possible. Drip-feeding clues might be regarded as amusing but it’s not THEIR archaeology to be put in danger, is it? It’s everyone’s.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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This week the Climate Change Committee painted a bleak picture of numerous British plants and animals facing extinction. Tom Holland probably voices most people’s reaction: “I can’t bear the thought of living in a country without hedgehogs or dormice“.

Of course, being a civilised country, we often mobilise to reverse specific losses. Thus there are now sea eagles on the South Coast of England for the first time in 240 years. However, reintroductions are a double-edged sword, distracting from the fact some extinctions are forever. Hence, few people care that an army of detectorists is engaged in removing archaeological artefacts from the fields.

Yet those losses, especially when not reported, are the worst, for they’re irreversible: not a single unreported archaeological artefact will ever be replaced nor will any archaeological site exhausted in secret. Sadly such losses are both avoidable and unnecessary. They happen only for personal amusement or personal profit, hence toleration of them is largely confined to Britain.

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British extinction sites? No replacement, no reintroduction, no record

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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In the recent BBC 4 series, The Age of the Image, the question is posed whether, in an era in which the image has taken over from the written word as the most powerful engine of change, can we really trust what we see?

Not at Stonehenge, often enough. The most shattering of the changes the tunnel scheme would bring is the fact millions of travellers would be deprived of their free view of the stones, and to justify that inarguably dire loss the pro-tunnel lobby has used many images to imply the A303 is far closer and therefore much more disruptive than it actually is.

It’s a form of constructed fiction, to put it politely, which may well be on show in Court this week. Hopefully the judge will see through it. Here’s another example we came across recently alongside a pro-tunnel article in Apollo magazine:

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Close, huh? But compare that image with the one below, taken from a similar viewpoint but not trying to say anything, just to convey reality…

WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE Extended forty-fourth session Fuzhou (China) / Online meeting

“Regrets that the Development Consent Order (DCO) has been granted for the scheme; and therefore, further considers in conformity with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines that the approved A303 improvement scheme is a potential threat to the property, which – if implemented – could have deleterious effects on its inherent characteristics, notably to its integrity’.

“While it is noted that the State Party is committed to engage further, if the permission which has been granted were to be upheld by the High Court, it is unclear what might be achieved by further engagement, as it would not be possible to compensate for the unacceptable adverse impacts of the present scheme, which the State Party itself has identified …

The approved A303 improvement scheme threatens the integrity of the property within the meaning of Paragraph 179(b) of the Operational Guidelines. It is therefore, recommended that the Committee consider the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger in the event that DCO consent was confirmed by the High Court. Such a decision would exacerbate this threat.

World Heritage Committee finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session in 2022, with a view to considering the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger if the A303 route upgrade scheme is not modified to deliver the best available outcome for the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.”

Due to a delay to lockdown Stonehenge had to be closed for the solstice again this year. However, as you may have seen, English Heritage has placed a webcam in the centre of Stonehenge with the result that, as they say: “Celestial sun-seekers can now enjoy a personal Stonehenge sunrise all year round”. Bravo!

Also, they’re putting another webcam at the place Turner painted his iconic panorama of the stones in their landscape beneath an enormous sky, to compensate for the fact that vista will be hidden from travellers forever by the tunnel scheme.

Ed: That last bit, in red, is a lie. Did you really think they would be planning to compensate tens of millions of ordinary people for the loss of the iconic Turner vista? Doing so by putting a webcam where Turner stood would involve admitting they’re supporting the loss of an immensely precious and irreplacable cultural asset, and you’ll never, ever hear any of the pro-tunnel lobby confessing to that.

[This is the third year we’ve published a version of this article and so far English Heritage hasn’t taken the bait. We believe there is no limit to the amount of embarrassment they should be given on this matter].

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UPDATE: The feed was ended as a lot of people crossed the fence and “invaded” the site. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-57550606.amp?fbclid=IwAR1A_nr2V8hvrSJl6ymbqJoetDV5z8OYyZefta7KBKXD3HOLFBOaQNL8kEE

Bloody idiots. They do nothing but harm to the campaign.

Dear Fellow Landowners,

I see a detectorist has just said, when pressed, they would have “no objection” to a farmer getting an independent appraisal of whatever a detectorist finds on his land. How big of them! Shame they and the rest don’t insist on that without being asked! It reminds me of what I wrote in the Journal seven years ago:

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It was a rumbustious night down at the Black Sheep and Wellies on Friday. I and my farming pals celebrated that a detectorist has just written on his blog: “I will also be letting the farmer know that all items found excluding treasure items belong to him, if there is anything that he does not [want] after the recording of the finds I will let him know I am interested in acquiring them”.

He might have added “once he’s obtained independent advice on them“ but still it’s a step forward and I’ll give a bag of mangel wurzels to any detectorist, archaeologist, lawyer, philosopher or priest that can show why ALL artefact hunters shouldn’t be doing it too.

Regards,

Silas Brown, Grunter’s Hollow Farm, Worfield, Salop

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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A new facility for metal detectorists, just-detect.com, has just been launched. In order to express what we think about it we’re launching a similar system, just-clear-a-grannys-loft.com!

Are you tired of trying to gain permissions to clear lofts? Maybe because a granny didn’t like the look of you? What if you could pick a permission, book and just clear it without ever having to meet her?

We are revolutionising loft clearance in the UK. Annual subscribers can access and book permissions directly from the app, solving the number one issue for most loft clearers in the UK. No more rejections! Become an annual subscriber to unlock loft clearance jobs across 10+ counties in the UK. Just choose a date, book and pay.

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“It was wonderful! I went to see my sister for a couple of days and when I got back the loft had been completely cleared!”

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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According to Dominic Cummings, in January last year the Prime Minister was presented with “garbage” evidence showing exponential increase in HS2 demand – demand that, if taken seriously, would have meant the entire country travelling on high speed rail. However, The Department for Transport said “We do not recognise the evidence being referred to in the blog in question.

This is consistent with the fact they appear not to recognise that the National Audit Office has warned that the Stonehenge scheme “has a significantly lower benefit-cost ratio than is usual in road schemes” and “could move to an even lower or negative value”!

Only good news seems to be admissible and for that English Heritage. Historic England and the National Trust are forever on hand! Want to dig up thousands of square yards of world heritage landscape? Give us a ring, we’ll enthuse about how it will be a cultural triumph!

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