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By Nigel Swift

The point of banging a drum is that it needs to be a repetitive process. One drum that I’ve been banging for many years is yet to be heard, as was illustrated yet again this week by a detectorist. Asked what a farmer should be told he says:

The recommended PAS reporting procedure should be broached to ensure he’s agreeable with your reporting finds to your FLO (if that’s your intention). If he’s not sure, confirm your willingness to abide by his decision.”

Yet metal detecting is only tolerated in Britain on the basis that it is “responsible”, i.e. finds will be reported. Anything else is unacceptable and damaging. Why won’t PAS tell farmers so?


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

This magnificent image of winter solstice 2021 from English Heritage encapsulates the very purpose of Stonehenge. It also illustrates something that ought to be expressed far and wide: the existence of the road has a minute effect on the spectacle and the purpose. Why then pretend otherwise?


Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AIWS) involves an alteration of visual perception in which the sizes of external objects are perceived incorrectly. Surely English Heritage is affected by that when it advertises for a Head of Visitor Attraction at Stonehenge (see below) and cites a key role as “maintaining exemplary conservation of the monument and landscape”.

As Professor Mike Parker Pearson explained to the Observer: “The world heritage site where Stonehenge sits is over 5km long but the tunnel is under 3km. This means a dual carriageway will emerge from both portals within this unique and protected landscape. There will be almost total destruction of all archaeological remains within its path.

Imagine that! More damage to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site than has ever been caused, and English Heritage is supporting it! How will the new Head of Visitor Attraction paint that as “maintaining exemplary conservation of the monument and landscape”?

“What a tiny doorway” thought Alice.

The Winter Solstice is imminent when people can visit without having to pay. That’s nice. But the event highlights something important about how things will be if a tunnel is constructed …

One of the HS2 machines.

(Bear in mind a 4-lane road is far wider than railway lines).

Where and when??

Listen to the sound of the Iron Age. Here is musician John Kenny playing a replica of the Deskford carnyx, an Iron Age war trumpet that dates from 80-200AD. The original was found in Scotland and is the only one known in Britain – until recently.

A miniature one was found in Surrey by a metal detectorist. Most people would think it should have been donated to a museum yet it has just been sold at auction for a modest £3,400, hardly a king’s ransom after commission and sharing with the landowner.

How did this happen? How could a detectorist with 30 years of experience ignore the obvious fact that it belonged in a museum and should have been donated? And what of the landowner? Who advised him in the matter? Would he have acted differently if he had been asked?


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

It’s time to dream

Of Summer …

As everyone knows, The Transport Secretary has openly admitted that the road scheme would cause permanent and irreversible harm to the World Heritage Site.

Yet National Highways has just told the public that the scheme will “remove the sight and the sound of the traffic from the Stonehenge landscape and the World Heritage Site.”

Oh dear.



January 2022

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