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Last week President Macron addressed the UN saying: “We need to find a new method, reverse the terms of the contract, and ensure our voice is heard loud and clear when others pride themselves on signing up to alliances and their principles, organizations, and their principles, just to trample them in reality.”

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Who did he mean by “others”? Rogue states? Banana republics? Yes. But sadly, the US as well. And UK which has just said it’s willing to break international law, in a “specific and limited” way.

But that’s no surprise. We would breach our international treaty obligations with the short tunnel scheme. Ask UNESCO. So next time we admonish another state for breaching international law, we shouldn’t be surprised if we’re told it was only in a “specific and limited way” or that they were only

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                                        “Doing a Stonehenge”.


This is at Tara, not Stonehenge, as mysteriously Highways England hasn’t published an artist’s impression of the work at Stonehenge. Although, they have told the Government and the public there’ll be no damage to archaeology.

 

The Government’s lax COVID regulation for detecting rallies (hundreds of people allowed so long as “social interaction limited to groups of six or less which do not mingle”) has allowed large scale events to continue weekly. Just today 260 detectorists are in Wilsford, Wiltshire “next to and joining the Roman hoard field and fields we had the 12 silver densrius coins and hundreds of Roman bronze , hammered coins , Axe heads , Celtic units , Saxon & Roman brooches“.

At present rallies carry an obvious health risk for both participants and locals (see yesterday’s article). Plus, at all times, they cause massive heritage damage through non-reporting of finds, Their only “defence” is they reveal hidden history but non-reporting shows the opposite and a recent announcement by Let’s Go Digging, the company running today’s event, reveals the true motivation: “Anything you find under £3000 is yours without having to split with farmers“.

Rallies really have no place in a self-respecting society and their rarity elsewhere proves the point – 99% of the world’s metal detecting rallies take place here in Britain. The Government should find a way to make them legally impossible – and would do so if only PAS would advise them to. They still could, today, with a simple phone call.

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A very British scene

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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Villagers in Ancaster, Lincs are worried a metal detecting rally brings a health risk. It’s legal under COVID regulations (“social interaction limited to groups of six or less which do not mingle”) but the locals know that’s unsafe. As the Parish Council chairman points out:

“They say they’re Covid safe” but “they’re saying they’ve got stalls and they’ve got a bar and they’re all stopping overnight. All of a sudden you’ve got 230 people from all parts of the country all heading into Ancaster. Presumably, they’ll be going to the local shops and things like that and all I’m worried about is, is it covid safe for us?”

Of course it’s not, either for participants or locals. Add to that the fact rallies damage everyone’s heritage and it’s inarguable that the holding of such events, especially just now, is plain wrong.

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Ancaster – what did it do to deserve a metal detecting rally nearby?

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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Images of the A303 by short tunnel supporters always show it at a standstill. But that’s selective and dishonest as this National Trust video proves:

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That’s Stonehenge in the centre, on the skyline. Two things are worth noting:

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1. The diagonal green stripe to the side of it is the old A344 road, long closed and grassed over – you know, the one the tunnel lobby keeps publishing 7-year-old images of!

2. The road on the left, well away from the stones, is the A303 – you know, the one the tunnel lobby says is always at a standstill. Not on that day it wasn’t!

English Heritage’s conservation of the Iron Bridge has been admirable. Now it has contributed to a further programme in which the bridge and other parts of the Ironbridge World Heritage site are being lit up at night for a few weekends using a colour evocative of the glow from the blast furnaces that once lit up the Ironbridge Gorge during its industrial past.

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What a great project! But also, what a clear admission that the vital component of World Heritage sites is visibility. Without that the “outstanding universal value” of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site wouldn’t exist.

So why then is English Heritage supporting a scheme to hide Stonehenge from tens of millions of travellers forever? If you think it’s utterly wrong and a flagrant theft from the past, the present and the future, please sign the petition.

We make that SEVEN bodies that have now done it. What’s going on?

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They’ve written to their Members with a warning that a rival organisation

“states that they intend to become “a recognised membership body which is able to set and monitor standards of metal detecting”. We believe the AoD is a threat because there are individuals who manage and run it who have publicly stated that restrictions on our hobby are needed. So would you want the AoD to set and monitor standards of metal detecting?

Oh, the horror! Ethical standards! This reaction will surprise no-one for over the years they have 1.) opposed and threatened strike action whenever previous reforms were proposed 2.) instructed members to boycott OUR attempt to form an association of responsible detectorists and 3.) most telling of all, refused to sign the (very mild) official Responsibility Code!

What will it take and how much damage must happen before PAS and archaeologists admit the truth? If even its national association quacks like a duck it’s not right to tell parliament and the public it’s not a duck.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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Numismatist and Treasure Valuation Panel member Richard Falkiner has been quoted by Country Life as saying:

“If someone digs something up, it’s not their property. If it doesn’t belong to somebody because it was lost, it belongs to the state.”
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But it’s not true. What’s going on? Why no mention of the landowner? Almost everything found on his land belongs to him, no-one else! Don’t the readers of Country Life, many of whom own land, deserve to know that? Perhaps, to put things right, PAS should issue a clarification for all landowners:

“99.9% of finds from your land belong to YOU, no-one else (and 0.1% to the state), so if you want them all put in your hand, say so, and if you then want to get your own independent reports on their significance and value then do so. In fact, we very strongly advise it.”

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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Ever wondered why they don’t make the tunnel longer than 2.9 km and save all this argument? Well, Highways England implies it’s because “2.9 km is the maximum length a tunnel can have before it becomes necessary to install ventilation shafts along its length.” So not money then! It’s because a longer tunnel would mean unsightly ventilation shafts sticking up. 

But we’re puzzled. There are zero shafts in the English Channel and only four in the 27 km Gotthard Road Tunnel in Switzerland, built 40 years ago! So we searched “types of tunnel ventilation” and the answer popped straight up: For short tunnels that are 3 km or less in length, longitudinal ventilation systems are generally preferred due to their modest construction cost“.

So there we are! “Modest construction cost“! The shortness of the tunnel isn’t about care – but cost! This is the 39th Yowling Moggy (the sound made by the truth being tortured by the pro-short tunnel lobby). The others are here.

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English Heritage has done it. So have Historic England, The National Trust, and Highways England. They’ve all put their names to outdated or misleading images suggesting the stones are far closer to the traffic than is honest.

Now (last Friday) Highways England’s best mate, the New Civil Engineer, has done it with an image that is both outdated AND misleading. That side road, the A344, has been closed and grassed over for SEVEN YEARS and New Civil Engineer has carried references to the fact several times.

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What’s going on? Perhaps one organisation might have done it once, by mistake. But five of them, repeatedly? Maybe it’s time it was explained?

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