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A MAN found Anglo Saxon jewellery while digging a fence post in his York garden and, inspired by the Treasure Act, was  furious after it was valued at a “paltry” £2,800. He said he had rejected the “disgusting and insulting” offer.

…. and then there’s Eilith who found a bead from a necklace that may be 7,000 years old and, inspired by an old-fashioned pre-Act sense of morality, gave it to her local museum.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the Government, the British Museum and PAS jubilated about people like Eilith and never about her avaricious, unthinking, “sense of entitlement” elders?

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PS …. Any similarity between the case of Eilith and the one of 7 year old Isobel is purely accurate. 8 years ago she found a bronze age arrowhead while helping clear an allotment and promptly donated it to the town museum. We did wonder if PAS would feature her on their website, as an example of proper behaviour but suspected they wouldn’t for fear of offending the “I found it so I want paying for it” brigade. It seems we were right. Maybe they could now feature Eilith?

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Four eminent legal scholars have concluded that nothing gives U.S. presidents the authority to abolish, shrink or otherwise weaken national monuments. Sixteen presidents have designated 157 monuments and no president has ever tried to revoke a monument designation.

However, President Trump is determined to rescind or at least shrink monument status on 27 such sites (including the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah).

 

President Trump displays an executive order reviewing previous national monument designations made under the Antiquities Act at a signing ceremony on April 26.

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It can be confidently assumed that over in Britain the leaders of English Heritage, Historic England and The National Trust are privately dismayed. How then can they justify the fact they are actively lobbying for the shrinking of the protection and sacrosanct status given to the World Heritage Site at Stonehenge?

 

We’re proud to have been highlighting heritage issues for over fourteen years so we were interested to see that a special international meeting to discuss research and global policy focusing on the communication of World Heritage values is to be held (7-8 October, Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site). The event will be immediately followed (9-10th October) by the third annual conference of World Heritage UK, where practitioners will join to explore the many ways to communicate World Heritage to different audiences.

The Stonehenge World Heritage Site has straddled 3.5 miles of the A303 for 30 years and the only attempt to communicate the outstanding features of the landscape to the occupants of in excess of 8 million vehicles a year which pass through it, were tiny entrance sign at either end, signs that were unreadably filthy until replacement this year to mark the 30th anniversary of the WHS.

“Communication” is not a term that Historic England , the National Trust and the English Heritage Trust are famous for. Perhaps they will attend the conference and learn about “focusing on the communication of World Heritage values”.

It will be hard to do both: continuing to allow fox hunting on its land while marketing this ….

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Watch this space in the next few weeks.

(Maybe they’ll re-think their support for damaging the Stonehenge landscape at the same time?)

Despite remaining unswerving in its support for major damage to the Stonehenge landscape The Trust has been given a golden opportunity to partly mend its conservation credentials. It arises from this news item:

“Pro-fox hunting campaigners are plotting to use a predicted Conservative landslide at the general election to repeal a 2004 ban of the blood sport, according to a report. Tory Lord Mancroft, chairman of the Council of Hunting Associations, described the 8 June vote as “the chance we have been waiting for” to overturn the ban, according to an email seen by the Daily Mirror.”

If ever there was a moment for The Trust to announce it is going to ban fox hunting of any sort on its land it’s now!

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….of which Thomas Hardy wrote in 1881:

“To the south, in the direction of the young shepherd’s idle gaze, there rose one conspicuous object above the uniform moonlit plateau, and only one. It was a Druidical trilithon, consisting of three oblong stones in the form of a doorway, two on end, and one across as a lintel. Each stone had been worn, scratched, washed, nibbled, split, and otherwise attacked by ten thousand different weathers; but now the blocks looked shapely and little the worse for wear, so beautifully were they silvered over by the light of the moon.”

[ Clue: it appeared in the Heritage Journal in 2005. ]

***************   Image by Jane Tomlinson, Heritage Action

Whitehall’s spending watchdog has suggested that sixteen upgrades to England’s busiest roads could be scrapped because they do not represent value for money. See details here. Great news for Stonehenge World Heritage Site, so long as value for money is given its proper meaning…….

Is it value for money to spend £1.3 billion of taxpayer’s money on a tunnel that would cause almost incalculable  damage to a World Heritage site?

Is it value for money to spend £1.3 billion of taxpayer’s money to remove the public’s favourite free view of Stonehenge?

Is it value for money to spend £1.3 billion of taxpayer’s money on a road scheme that doesn’t include spending a single penny on direct traffic calming in the local villages?

Is it value for money to spend £1.3 billion of taxpayer’s money to grant the National Trust’s wish for a theme park walk? 

If those questions are properly asked then there’s no way spending £1.3 billion can be justified. What’s more, if the tunnel scheme is cancelled there will be no negative impact whatsoever on the cultural value of the World Heritage Site. Only a false, illusory, let’s-pretend vision will shatter. As indeed it should.

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