This is the Whixall Stone, recently retrieved from a domestic trench by a householder in North Shropshire. The markings are Neolithic/Late Bronze Age and are considered to be of regional, if not national importance.

.

However, something surprising happened in September 2021 when it was being investigated in the Portable Antiquities Scheme laboratory. The owner decided to retrieve it and place it in an online auction house – (Timeline Auctions, Lot 0452).

Brett Hammond, managing director of Timeline Auctions, said the stone was sold to a Californian buyer for a total of £15,240 but “Negotiations are underway to allow Shropshire Museums to have the piece on long-term loan so they can display it to the public.” Why that happened is a matter of speculation.