On Twitter, English Heritage has just asked:
“From wonderful Whitby and spectacular Stonehenge to glorious Goodrich and terrific Tintagel. With so many of you receiving a shiny new membership for Christmas, which historic places are top of the list to visit this year?”
It’s obvious!  Stonehenge before they damage it forever.

Quick, before they also close the curtains on the “Turner view” on the A303 and start charging you a fortune to even look at our national icon!

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has just said that targeting cultural sites in Iran would breach international warfare conventions. He did not criticise the US president directly over his threats but said: “We have been very clear that cultural sites are protected under international law and we would expect that to be respected.”

This makes Grant Shapps’ decision very simple: will he authorise massive damage to Stonehenge and such monuments in peacetime which Britain wouldn’t countenance in wartime?

How many cups of coffee will it take?


Will the President’s threat to target sites important to Iranian culture work against Stonehenge?

  • At this moment Grant Shapps is making the final decision on the tunnel and everyone knows it will be a political decision, not one based on the merits of the case.
  • It will be against the background that we have just voted to make ourselves totally dependant on Donald Trump’s goodwill.

So … what are the chances the British Government will make a big declaration that it is profoundly wrong to deliberately damage our leading cultural site at the very moment when Trump is threatening, perhaps with our help, to damage Iranian ones? Slim, it would seem.


Given their well-known willingness to support damage to Oswestry Hillfort’s setting, you might think they’d also be pro-metal detecting. But actually, they subtly signal the opposite:

  • “Metal detectors can be valuable archaeological tools when used responsibly”. On the face of it, that would please detectorists and PAS but significantly they say they are valuable archaeological tools, not acquisition aids!
  • “Metal detectors are sometimes used to check the spoil for any objects missed”. Indeed. But again, they are careful to say detectors are useful in archaeological excavations, not detectorists!

So it’s pretty clear what they think. But in case there’s a scintilla of doubt this statement makes it crystal clear, beyond all argument or denial:

“Metal detecting on land owned by Shropshire Council is not permitted”


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


Hounds ‘rip seven-month-old kitten to pieces’


The mind boggles about how the National Trust would spin it if the above “accident” happened at one of the many hunts they allow.

Yet whatever they claim, similar things have happened before and are just a bite away at every single one of their approved events. Please keep that in mind when the matter comes up for a vote later this year.

Last year at this time we pointed out the ironic fact The National Trust was supporting Trail Hunting while cashing in on numerous expensive fox gifts

This year they have reduced it to only one …

Coincidence? Or evidence they’ve finally accepted their stance on Trail Hunting is embarrassing and damaging to their reputation? Does this bode well for their next AGM?

Another “accident” about to happen, “forever, for everyone”


  1. Strengthen the Hunting Act
  2. Penalise those who allow Hunting and Commercial Shooting
  3. Increase the pitiful custodial sentences for animal cruelty
  4. Hope that at last, at this year’s National Trust AGM, there will be an unmanipulated vote, this time rejecting support for the cruel hypocrisy known as Trail Hunting.

Dear Friends,

My cousin Silas told me (via Paul Barford): “Sam Hardy’s work suggests there are 1,447 detectorists in Scotland. Yet according to the last report, less than 200 items or groups of items were reported as the law requires.”

But as we all know, Britain has been occupied for millennia and it’s just not possible to walk the fields for long periods, with or without a detector, without finding reportable stuff. Yet PAS has sponsored a group of archaeologists to say Sam’s findings are invalid.

Still, one reality they haven’t denied is that at least 6 out of 7 Scottish detectorists don’t declare their finds. So, Scottish Friends, if anyone knocks your door saying they’ll add to society’s knowledge or look after your interest, keep in mind there’s an 86% chance they won’t.


Happy Hogmanay!

Jock Brown


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting




Is it a hole left after someone stole a 4,000-year-old rock art panel? Or a hole left after metal detectorists dug up a hoard without waiting for archaeologists? The former happened recently in Galacia. The latter has happened hundreds of times in Britain.

But which is it? It’s impossible to know because holes left by stolen culture all look the same. But there IS a way to tell, eventually: in Galicia, the culprits will be punished. In Britain, they never are.



[PS: It’s actually the Galician hole!]


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting





You can go inside the circle four times a year, but only if you are fit enough to stand in the cold and dark for many hours. If you aren’t, well, your only option is to pay a truly extortionate £47. On which planet is that possibly fair?

It’s easily fixed: far more access sessions inside the stones at more convenient times, straight after closing time on summer evenings. Pre-booked to limit numbers and not free but at a much lower charge.

Shouldn’t the full Stonehenge experience be available to everyone at a reasonable cost – including the unfit, the unspiritual and those who don’t want to dress up as ducks? Why is the current access policy discriminatory?



January 2020
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