Sunday 7 February 2010

Revisiting November 09: Infra-red cameras catch Illegal Artefact Hunting in the UK

While I was away in Egypt friends were passing to my inbox material they think might be interesting for my research on the antiquities market and associated issues (and this blog too). The next few posts here will be connected with them as I go through the several thousand unanswered emails I have found waiting in my Warsaw inbox (I set up a temporary account in Egypt to which I gave the address to a favoured few). I will not put them all up, but just a few things that take my fancy.

The first (7-9th November) is this clip from a TV programe on BBC1's "Inside Out" (South) programme which had a piece on illegal nighthawking on it. The short clip shows a bit where they film some nighthawks at work on a Scheduled Monument, and then attempt to confront them. Apparently there was a piece of fiulm whener the illegally operating artefact hunters try to whack the reporter with a spade.

Interestingly, on an archaeology discussion list there was discussion of this programme we learn this "When watching the BBC programme this evening they showed a map of the area placed on a car bonnet. I instantly recognised the area, as I used to live very close to it. The sites marked on the map are all in the Butser, south of Petersfield area within very close proximity to Peter Reynold's ancient farm. I know from when I worked at EH, on the Record of Scheduled Ancient Monuments that there is a very important Roman site in that location, spot finds have been located, though no excavation as far as I am aware have taken place. One area even has extant earthworks, perhaps evidence of buildings [...] the nighthawk who was caught walking down the lane had a Hampshire/Sussex accent, perhaps a Portsmouth accent. The location of the site could indicate the latter as the A3(M) from Portsmouth runs right through this location with slip roads again at this location". There are two SAMs with Roman archaeology immediately east of the A road, 33595 and HA542 and Anglo-Saxon cemetery 33410 at Chalton village and some round barrows.

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