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Love history? We want to hear your stories. Historic places are hugely important to our wellbeing, identity and sense of community. We want to hear what you’ve done to support a historic place, whether it’s big or small



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Yes, well, what we’ve done is to campaign weekly for years and years to oppose the Stonehenge short tunnel scheme which YOU have tried so ruthlessly to bring about in the teeth of UNESCO’s opposition!
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Is that the sort of story you were looking for?

According to English Heritage, Historic England, The National Trust, and Highways England, spending £2 billion pounds and wrecking our most iconic prehistoric landscape will regenerate the West Country. We beg to differ.

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Average time to drive from Highways England’s Head Office in Guildford to St Ives now: 4 hours 36 minutes

Average time to drive from Highways England’s Head Office in Guildford to St Ives post-tunnel: 4 hours 28 minutes

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What YOU can do!



 

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Andrew Adonis has tweeted:.


“I cancelled Stonehenge tunnel as Transport Secretary a decade ago, it was such a waste of money at £300m.

Now it is being prosecuted by Cummings at £1.7bn, despite huge concern from archaeologists & transport experts.

Just cancel it. Invest in local rail in the south-west instead.”


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Which inspired one of our readers to produce this …
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Alas, circumstances preclude it. We shall have to wait until next year.

In the meantime, here’s a reminder of our 2014 Megameet, held at the Rollright Stones..

” Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me, those have always
been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James

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See you at Avebury next year for the 18th!

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It’ll be plain sailing Capn!

 

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[Based on a suggestion by paulintheswim@hotmail.com]

Just now, as PAS teeters on the edge of being a victim of post-COVID-austerity, one might ask: why don’t those tens of thousands of artefact hunters who benefit from it’s existence offer it financial help? Why doesn’t PAS ask them? Well in fact it already has – see its 2015 Just Giving page! So far, £1,248 has been raised – from 30 supporters (including us!) That’s £41.60 each, not bad.

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However, when PAS loses its funding, and detectorists shed tears because they so love to record finds (apart from most of them!),  keep in mind that between 27,000 of them they’ve given less than 1p a year each to keep it going! To put 1p in context: “Kimbo’s Rally Week” at Boxted next September costs £100!

Saying one thing and doing another has been the defining characteristic of  most UK artefact hunters for two long decades. So it’s ironic that when PAS ends it will expose one last artefact hunting hypocrisy.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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“It’s OK officer, I have my own version of the Highway Code. It says I’ve done nothing wrong!”

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Ludicrous, yes. But did you know tens of thousands of detectorists show farmers the NCMD code not the official one? Under it, they aren’t required to report recordable items to PAS (and the NCMD has refused to endorse the proper one.)

Every time PAS or other archaeological bodies praise “responsible detecting”, landowners assume that’s what must be happening in their fields as they’ve been shown “the code”. But no, they’re nearly always shown the detectorists’ own self-written code, which is totally different and inferior to the official one.

You might ask why!

If only PAS would simply tell farmers to beware of fake codes – certificates of false valour – they’d do more good for conservation and the fight against knowledge theft than anything they’ve ever done before.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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The last AGM was in 2017 when their Chairman used the proxy votes entrusted to him to cast them to keep trail hunting on Trust land for another 3 years, until the 2020 AGM. But that has just been canceled, ending expectations that with opposition to trail hunting having grown so high no amount of management tinkering would have prevented a vote to end it.

But here’s a funny thing:

The Trust has just said about the cancellation: “The temporary constitutional changes required have all been agreed with the Charity Commission and are supported by the National Trust Council” and in the very next sentence “There is currently no provision within the Trust’s constitution for an online AGM so this was not an option.

Hmmm. Leopard. Spots. We bet there’s nothing in the Constitution precluding the AGM being held online!

 

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The above should not be taken as a criticism of NT’s highly dedicated staff, only of their senior management. We should also like to express sympathy for the many staff members who are to be made redundant. (They will have reflected that holding an online AGM this year rather than an actual one next year would have saved enough money to pay the salaries of several of them!)


 

 

What’s going on? These two stories are over 100 years old. Why has English Heritage tweeted them just now of all times?

Stonehenge@EH_Stonehenge (Sunday): “Stonehenge was in private ownership until 1918 when Cecil Chubb, who’d purchased Stonehenge at auction in 1915, gave it to the nation. It then became the state’s duty to conserve the monument: English Heritage perform this role on its behalf today.” [Link to “100 years of care”]

Stonehenge@EH_Stonehenge (Monday): “A programme of restoration began at Stonehenge in 1919 with the stones that were leaning the most, starting with Stones 6 & 7 of the outer sarsen circle.”

The contents and timing are, well, interesting. Could it be that on Sunday the public was being reminded English Heritage has a duty to conserve and on Monday a duty to restore – with the unspoken implication that therefore it has a duty to support a massive Government road scheme opposed by UNESCO?

If so, it was always a ridiculous stretch. When damage is huge it can no longer be said to be conservation or restoration – and particularly since last Friday when the true extent of the damage became evident. English Heritage is now in the position that it is supporting the destruction of the fundamental significance of the Stonehenge landscape. We hope it will now reconsider. Grant Shapps is back in the country this morning. Let them ring him.

There’s a suspicion that on Thursday the Government told Parliament the delay was due to the new discoveries to conceal the true technical and financial reasons. Plus, it gave them a tactical advantage: if they did go ahead they could easily show the new features were too far away to be affected, and thus tell the public “we’ve won the archaeological argument”! A perfect sleight of hand!

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Is Machiavelli at No. 10?

But on Friday everything changed! Simon Banton’s game-changing article revealed the pits were placed to command an extensive ceremonial viewshed over much of the World Heritage landscape. So the pits are safe alright, but their stunning setting isn’t! The sleight of hand has been snatched away.

As Simon says, “What a majestic achievement, still appreciable across open farmland nearly 5000 years after it was laid out“. It’s inconceivable that it could be spoiled by a 6 lane expressway right through it. So claims that the World Heritage landscape’s Outstanding Universal Value won’t be massively damaged (EH, HE, NT et al) have been totally confounded.

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