You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2021.

We always knew this, having held at least 15 annual megameets there, but now it has been confirmed!

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Gratifyingly, there wasn’t a single mention of the National Trust!

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Here’s the proof alluded to yesterday that most detectorists don’t give a damn about PAS, other than to use it as a cloak of false responsibility to wrap themselves in when asking landowners for permission to detect:

The PAS fundraising appeal

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Since it started in 2015 just 30 people (including ourselves) have donated only £1,248 to supporting PAS. Bear in mind most detectorists spend thousands a year on equipment, search fees, rally fees and petrol, and almost all of them tell farmers they’re PAS supporters. It’s pretty shocking that of 27,000 detectorists only one in 900 of them has contributed to the maintenance or continuance of PAS.

We have put a permanent link to the appeal in our left hand column to remind landowners, taxpayers, legislators and those currently contemplating reforms of the reality.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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Paul Barford has today written:

Archaeologists trot out the mantras, “be nice, they’ll come round”, “progress is being made” … and think that simply by saying the palliative words in a self-assured way, they’ve convinced everyone that the problem has been dealt with. Well, I disagree.

And so do we.

I think that huge damage has been done by current policies on artefact hunting and the unfulfilled hope that “huge progress” will “one day” be made if you all just grit your teeth and wait long enough. As what we can see on the forums and through the blossoming of commercial digging firms, it’s just not happening. I see nothing wrong with pointing that out.”

And nor do we.

So tomorrow we’ll post a permanent, inarguable means by which everyone can see daily that he and we et al are right and PAS et al are wrong.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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As if they couldn’t sink lower, here is the Countryside Alliance’s counter-protest against Extinction Rebellion

“THE Countryside Alliance has urged people to enjoy a “Great British steak” this week rather than feeding the egos of Extinction Rebellion activists who will launch a “whirlwind” of protests over the next fortnight in the City of London.”

If detecting rallies left visible scars they’d have been banned decades ago. But they don’t. Here’s one held just below the Hackpen White Horse in 2005. “Don’t worry, we all report everything to PAS” they told the elderly landowner, the late Lord Onslow.

And here’s the site just this week …

The horse is still visible thanks to the efforts of the dedicated volunteers who re-chalk it periodically, but gone are the cars of the 420 detectorists, and gone are the artefacts they found which are now in Leicester, Liverpool and Leeds and which will never return.

It is to be hoped those currently considering reforms will bear in mind that the scars left across our countryside by thousands of rallies are massive but subterranean and invisible.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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We are pleased to be able to report the new discovery of a possible inscribed stone in Cornwall. 

It was noticed by a friend of the Heritage Journal during a recent family walk approximately 2.5 kilometres south of Tintagel. The stone has been reused as a gatepost and is currently part of a stile construct on a public footpath, hidden in plain sight!

There appears to be faint lettering and Ogham script on the stone and a later incised cross symbol near the top of the stone. Initially, it was thought that the inscriptions may be a trick of the light (as at Kea, near Truro where at certain times of day the outline of a sword is visible on an upright stone in the churchyard), but viewing the stone from different angles confirmed the inscriptions, which are also faintly traceable with a finger.

The discovery has been reported to, and accepted by, the Cornwall HER for further investigation. Once confirmed, we hope to be able to report back here with the official description and location details.

As happens every summer, we have received various reports of ‘incidents’ at some of our wonderful ancient heritage sites. 

In Oxfordshire, at the Rollright Stones, some idiots recently lit a fire in the centre of the Kings Men circle. This has caused damage to the grass in the centre, potentially damaging archaeology. 

This is not the first time that the circle has been subjected to an attack by inconsiderate idiots. In the past, the stones have been daubed with paint, and in one incident, a burning tyre was hung over some of the stones. The ranger’s hut at the stones was also the subject of a deliberate arson attack a few years ago, meaning that those who volunteer to watch the stones overnight no longer had a place to shelter.

Meanwhile, in Wiltshire, we have heard of attacks on cars parked at Silbury Hill and in the West Kennet lay-by, resulting in valuables being removed (stolen) from those cars. Sadly, this is a common problem throughout the year, but such activity always seems to increase in the summer.

And in Cornwall, one of the holed stones on Tregeseal Common has been toppled. At the moment it has not been determined whether this was a deliberate act or an accident caused by the cattle that roam the moor.

Sadly, there is no easy answer to these seasonal problems. Whilst it’s easy to call for harsher penalties for the culprits, actually identifying and apprehending them is another issue entirely. Heritage crime is acknowledged by the police and is being given a higher priority than in the past, but the resources are just not there to deal with it effectively. 

Education can help, but often these crimes are caused not by locals, but by visitors. The lack of consideration for local heritage has been exacerbated this year by the sense of entitlement that many holidaymakers have been displaying, often stating things like “I deserve a holiday after being locked in because of the pandemic, you’ll just have to put up with it”.

Have there been any such incidents in your area? Do you have any ideas on how such issues can be tackled? Please let us know in the comments.

We are reminded by one of our regular readers that there are just two weeks left in which to visit the Ways of Seeing Wiltshire exhibition at Wiltshire Museum in Devizes.

Echoing ideas of England’s heritage landscape pioneered across the 18th and 19th centuries, 20th century artists introduced new ways of appreciating chalk hill figures and prehistoric remains. This exhibition at Wiltshire Museum will highlight some of these works, held in the Museum’s own collection.

Between the First and Second World Wars, less travelled ways became routes to the past. The surrounding countryside developed creatively charged mysteries, evocatively punctuated by furrows, signposts and rolling cloud shadows. The absorbingly ambiguous was witnessed beyond hedgerows, railed fencing and wire strung between posts. Much was encountered and recorded as if noticed for the first time, if not at the point of being permanently lost from view.

Artists who would become household names were joined by educators, the tutored and the self-taught. The gateways to their timeless explorations, the customs and backwaters of sleepy villages and slower paced market towns. The diversity of architectural materials, shapes and styles, meeting with sequences of decline, weathering and repair, lent to the impression of all history being represented across the centuries.

Ways of Seeing Wiltshire offers opportunities to engage with these relatively recent times when, alongside the adoption of an ‘idealized’ English rural landscape, considering and interpreting the distant past and its unfamiliar cultures became increasingly significant. It was, after all, the evolving way in which the natural, built, and working heritage was being witnessed, reimagined and remembered, that shaped the ever extending present’s sense of attachment and belonging.

So PAS and others would have you believe: a novice detectorist not asking for permission or a more seasoned detectorists not reporting what they find is down to a lack of “education”. It’s not. The rest of the population have zero trouble knowing they shouldn’t go to a farm (or indeed a neighbour’s garden) and help themselves to spuds, flowers, peas, pheasants eggs and anything else they come across, and that they shouldn’t avoid telling others what they have found.

It’s stealing. Only detectorists claim it’s an honest mistake. Diddums. Look how false and irrational it is …..

“I’m a novice rambler/ birdwatcher/ angler/ greengrocer and haven’t been “educated” so naturally I thought I had every right to go anywhere I wanted and steal anything I found.”

So it’s not education that’s needed. It’s punishment. Let the pending reforms embrace that concept.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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