You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2022.

As usual, it was gentle, clever, and beguiling. Maybe a little short of its own previous heights but a triumph nevertheless. However:

As James Delingpole wrote in The Spectator “The Christmas special focused on the great moral dilemma faced by all detectorists: what to do if you find something totally amazing. Legally (and ethically) there’s only one option, you have to declare it” (to which we’d add, morally, also the hundreds of thousands of non-Treasure items that may be found).

Yet when the two main characters find an important Anglo-Saxon battlefield site one of them, Lance, is determined to keep it quiet and mine it for artefacts before telling the authorities. That is a crime under the terms of the Treasure Act and it’s also a moral crime against all of us – metal detecting only exists in Britain thanks to a 23-year-old social contract whereby it is tolerated providing detectorists report their finds.

He did start reporting eventually but the damage is done: the message is that cultural knowledge theft is merely amusing and harmless if the programme is gentle, clever, and beguiling. There are now said to be 40,000 detectorists and it may be that 90% of what they find isn’t revealed. Does highlighting the damage make one a spoilsport? No, ask the Portable Antiquities Scheme directly if you doubt it.



More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

Here’s the oldest, recently displayed in the British Museum …


And here’s the newest, visible in the sky above Stonehenge yesterday and tonight …

Mercury rise and set in Stonehenge

Fairly close to the Sun. Visible only after sunset.

Thu, 29 Dec ↓20:23

Venus rise and set in Stonehenge

View just after sunset.

Thu, 29 Dec ↓20:26

Mars rise and set in Stonehenge

After sunset and most of the night. Fri, 30 Dec ↓03:38

Jupiter rise and set in Stonehenge

View after sunset. Fri, 30 Dec ↓00:04

Saturn rise and set in Stonehenge

View after sunset. Thu, 29 Dec ↓22:06

Uranus rise and set in Stonehenge

View after sunset. Bring binoculars. Fri, 30 Dec ↓02:18

Neptune rise and set in Stonehenge

View after sunset. Use binoculars. Thu, 29 Dec ↓23:40



Here’s an irony: the oldest will be carefully preserved forever, and the newest, the one which will appear above an ancient observatory, (and all the ones that follow) will soon be deliberately hidden forever from travelers passing Stonehenge.

Let’s hope we can repeat it in 2023.

“We are delighted to join with many other concerned bodies such as the National Trust and the Stonehenge Alliance in welcoming the government’s announcement that not only have they cancelled the Stonehenge Project and any intention to construct new roads over the World Heritage Site but also that they now favour all the non-damaging improvements which we and many others have been calling for.”


We like “Stonehenge Dronescapes” but not this image …


Its not quite the 42nd “yowling moggy” (our list of the visual and textual tricks that the pro-tunnel bodies have used) because they say it’s just a “vision” of post-tunnel Stonehenge but nevertheless it persuades people that the tunnel will be a good thing on the basis of false information: the footpath has been photoshopped out even though there are no plans to remove it, tunnel project or not. The result is that the public may well think the tunnel is something to be supported on those grounds.

It’s not.

By Nigel Swift


As an original Shropshire lad, I tend to be very protective towards Shropshire …


So you can guess how I felt when I found that fifty metal detectorists intend to drive 100 miles to Craven Arms from Leicester next month for the sole purpose of collecting Shropshire’s history for themselves. I don’t think much will go to the farmer as this club’s policy is to just send photos instead. All I know is that an unknown number of finders will tell PAS what they found and an unknown number of those will be accepted for recording by PAS. So maybe 10% in total?

So where are the Shropshire gainers? Or the national ones? It would be marginally less unacceptable if they left all their finds with a Shropshire museum, as true history lovers would do. And conveniently, there’s one right there in Craven Arms, the gloriously named Land of Lost Content, a private museum that lacks government support and is on the brink of having to close. They would absolutely love (and deserve), to be given all the detecting finds free of charge. Maybe that’s what will happen. Or maybe not. Sad, is it not?

The Land of Lost Content Museum, Craven Arms


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

Stonehenge, Wiltshire

Zennor Quoit, Cornwall

Last night, yes last night Wednesday 21st, the Solstice lantern was taken from Amesbury to both Stonehenge and Blick Mead in an act reconnecting with Stonehenge and the Mesolithic community that inhabited Blick Mead thousands of years ago.

Why last night, many hours before the English Heritage sunrise gathering this morning? Because the Winter solstice sunset was what probably mattered originally and what the locals did may well have been closer to the first celebration. Bravo!


Silbury Hill, Wiltshire

Dear Heritage Journal,

Please explain. The Winter Solstice is today, Wednesday 21st, close to sunset. Yet English Heritage saysbased on advice from the druid and pagan communities, the Solstice will be marked at Stonehenge on the morning of Thursday December 22 – the first sunrise following the astronomical solstice which occurs after sunset the previous day.”

Umm. I thought Stonehenge was mainly built to celebrate the Winter Solstice sunset. English Heritage thinks so. It should at least say so – it has a duty to inform. Yet it’s not the first time: they said exactly the same in 2017! And also, in 2013, in your article “Mystic Meg to be given an advisory role at Stonehenge” in which it was pointed out that English Heritage had “liaised” with the President of the British Astrologers Association on the matter.

Plus, umm, while I can see holding the gathering at night might be impractical, why can’t English Heritage make the decision instead of claiming”advice from the Druid and Pagan communities”? Come on English Heritage, it’s bad enough doing the bidding of the Government, why cede control to Druids and Pagans as well?

Seasons Greetings,

Eric Butane-Mogg


December 2022

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