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It has just been announced that the famous pigs of the Wiltshire town of Calne have been stolen….

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But in fact it’s now clear they went under their own steam for one of them has been sighted not far away at Stonehenge murmuring “I feel at home here, there are loads of porkies flying about”.

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Staff at the US Department of Agriculture have been told to avoid using the term climate change and to use “weather extremes” instead. (See here).

Meanwhile at Stonehenge there’s a similar phenomenon. UNESCO says a short tunnel could “damage” the World Heritage Site, cause “adverse impact” and “fundamentally compromise” its Outstanding Universal Value, but neither English Heritage, Historic England nor The Trust is admitting it’s true or even claiming it’s not. They can’t, because everyone can see it is. Instead they use substitute language which the US Dept of Agriculture would be proud of….

Damage is “enhancement“,
Adverse Impact is “improvement” and
Fundamentally Compromise becomes “offer enormous gains”, “remove existing road damage”, “reunite the landscape”, “do justice to our greatest prehistoric monument”, “reinstate the line of the Stonehenge Avenue”, “improve public understanding”, “cut congestion”, “improve journey times” and “boost the South Western economy”.

None of those hint that they involve damaging the Outstanding Universal Value of Europe’s greatest prehistoric World Heritage Site” yet they all do. The question surely arises, wouldn’t English Heritage, Historic England and The National Trust be better employed saying that to the public and that all the advantages could be delivered without damaging Stonehenge at all – by spending a lot less than the DUP bribe!

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Gary Cutlack. Didn’t get the memo.

Clearly no-one told him he was supposed to keep to the official fib so when he reported that detectorists had illegally plundered Roman sites he failed to employ the well-worn term “nighthawks”! So instead he called them “men of a certain age and persuasion” and” late-night detection enthusiasts” indulging in “late-night metal detectorist action of a criminal sort”…..

He got it right. That’s exactly what they were – yet a quite different story – a detector lie – has been served up by both officialdom and detectorists for 20 years. The public has been asked to accept  detectorists who commit crimes are from that moment no longer detectorists, they’re nighthawks, an entirely different species who can never revert back to being detectorists. The effect is as intended: it leaves all detectorists squeaky clean and suitable people to be invited onto the fields and immune from the least criticism by PAS or the BBC!

Well, it’s irrational nonsense, as we’ve been trying to get across for nearly 20 years. It’s impossible for a nighthawk to get information or obtain professional advice or launder looted objects unless they are “responsible detectorists”, rally attendees and regular club members most of the time. Let the BBC and Academia take note (PAS have known all along). As we said back in 2010:

“The difference is simple alright, but wafer thin – since it actually boils down to a purely spatial distinction. A metal detectorist that steps through a hedge becomes a nighthawk and is the devil’s companion according to all other detectorists and PAS – and a nighthawk that hops back over a fence becomes a metal detectorist, and a saint according to all other detectorists and PAS – with all the praise, honour and professional lickspittling that is instantly due to anyone that buys a metal detector in Britain. Like photons, these human versions of the wave-particle duality can flit from one state of reality to the other, depending upon where they are at any particular moment – which no-one can ever know for certain, on account of how dark it gets at night in this country.

All we do know for certain is that the nighthawk manifestation comprises a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny minority. We know this for certain because the ten thousand detectorist manifestations all tell us so (on the basis, presumably, that each of them personally knows and can absolutely vouch for every single movement, throughout the night, of each of the other 9,999) and on that rock solid and logical basis heritage professionals have loudly asserted in countless press releases for at least thirteen years [20 now – Ed] and at prestigious international conferences that nighthawks are a vanishingly small part of the whole and Britain has built a complete resource protection strategy accordingly. Impressive, eh? A castle built on jelly supplied by the beseigers! The name of one fundamental particle is a “charm” is it not? That’s them, pretty much. Charmed Teflon heroes, unique to Britain, “outreached to” not criticised and permanently bathed in PAS’s purple praise and blinkered bravos!”

Interestingly, the sick clown we highlighted yesterday isn’t a despicable nighthawk, he’s a legal metal detectorist, acting despicably, and embarrassing proof that the human wave-particle duality is real and that the detectorist-nighthawk distinction beloved by PAS press releases is hogwash. Hurrah for Gary Cutlack, the man who inadvertently blurted out that the Emperor has no clothes!

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Or is it some sort of twisted hoax?

Either way, it’s certainly twisted!

Skip along, in particular, to 3.00 minutes. Sick and moronic.

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Shropshire’s latest five-year housing figures make a re-think obligatory say the campaigners. The new figures show the latest Salop 5 year housing land supply is in surplus, with a 6.04 years supply of deliverable housing land, equating to 2,140 homes above target. This opens the way for the 117 houses in the hillfort’s setting to be reviewed with a view to removal.
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Dr George Nash, heritage adviser to HOOOH commented: “Shropshire planners have clearly been working hard to turn around housing land supply and should be congratulated on the new figures. This must now provide the basis to review the hillfort allocation which is strongly opposed by many County electors, national heritage and environmental groups, and at the highest levels of British archaeology.”  .

It’s hard to see how his  request can be refused in logic – and not just for now, but forever! Plus, there’s another massive reason why the Hill Fort’s setting should be respected at last: Shropshire Council have just given permission for the erection near Wem of Britain’s third replica ancient burial mound!

Bravo! Giving heritage-aware Salopians exactly what they want – and why not?

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Surely, if public appreciation and demand for replica ancient sites is being acknowledged so publicly and clearly then public appreciation and demand for the preservation of Shropshire’s own genuine ancient landscape should also be acknowledged publicly and clearly!

Watch this space!

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March 2014: “John Glen MP:  “A tunnel is the only realistic solution to protect Stonehenge”

September 2017: John Glen MP, Minister for Culture: “By ratifying the Hague Convention and both its Protocols, the UK underlines our absolute commitment to protecting cultural heritage, both here and across the globe.”

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Here are some egregious whoppers from the USA. If they seem familiar, particularly at Stonehenge, it might suggest the same hymn sheet is being used!

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“He goes on to mostly dismiss the arguments of people who commented pro-monument and to give entirely unjustified weight to the anti-monument comments. The thing is, the public opinion delivered during the four-month comment period could not be clearer—over 2.8 million people participated in the process, and 99.2 percent of the comments were in favor of preserving the monuments. Giving equal weight to a 99.2-to-0.8 percent divide is textbook false equivalency.”


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Inappropriate weighting and false equivalency…… aren’t Highways England et al employing precisely those techniques to the results of the public consultation at Stonehenge? Are the British public’s instinctive feelings that the world heritage landscape shouldn’t be subject to massive intrusion being trumped?

 

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Not for the first time The Beeb is supporting a false image of metal detecting. Prof Michael Wood makes 3 statements in the latest offshoot of BBC History Magazine which we feel should be challenged:. .


“Metal detecting was once frowned upon. Now it is a valuable tool”.
Actually, it was always a valuable tool, but always sadly misused by tens of thousands of people. It still is.

“By properly recording their finds and liaising with archaeologists, metal detectorists are placing vital material in the hands of historians.”
Actually, the great majority don’t and are therefore destroying that vital material by their silence.

“The exciting prospect is that – as long as things are properly reported and recorded – there is much, much more to be found.”
Actually, see above. There’s no call for excitement as there’s no evidence that most finds won’t continue to go unreported and be lost to science.


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We get it that a proportion of artefact hunters act “responsibly” within a charitable definition of the term – the fact has been trumpeted ad nauseam for 20 years – but, as Dr Sam Hardy has so clearly established – more than 90% of British recordable detecting finds are still  being lost to science. Surely a public service broadcaster (and a professor of Public Archaeology) should be conveying that true reality to the public?

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Our article on Tuesday drew Tweets from a commercial archaeologist who questions: “So it’s ok for academics to destroy archaeology at Blick Mead, is commercial archaeology so bad?”

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In response we would underline that we are discussing what happens within the boundaries of a World Heritage site (WHS).

At Blick Mead 100% of excavated material is sampled from comparatively small trenches, the project is painstakingly carried out so time consuming and labour intensive.

Where the Blick Mead project has taken years to progress, the commercial operation at the nearby eastern portal saw a large number of trenches excavated over a huge area and backfilled in a matter of days (pictured).

Commercial archaeology has its well deserved place, indeed we gladly point out that some of the most eminent academics researching in the WHS honed their skills at the sharp end, but within a WHS this comparison of slow microsurgery and speedy results surely speaks for itself.


 

It’s high time the British press recognised that blatant Government attacks on protected places wasn’t something that only happened in “Trumpland”. See this, an American report in the Guardian:

“Just weeks into his presidency, Trump hamfisted the Dakota Access Pipeline through the graves and homelands of the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota.
Now, thanks to a leaked memo from interior secretary Ryan Zinke, we know the president plans to shrink protected areas and lift restrictions on extractive developments at 10 national monuments across the country – including the sacred Bears Ears national monument in southern Utah.”

That phrase “shrink protected areas” is precisely what links President Trump with English Heritage, Historic England, The National Trust and Highways England – for that is exactly what they are pushing to happen at the Stonehenge World Heritage Site – to shrink the protected area. (Let them try to deny it if they dare). There’s one difference though: in percentage terms they are trying to shrink the protected Stonehenge landscape to a far greater extent than the President is trying to shrink the Bears Ears national monument!

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