Looting at Corbridge

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Corbridge © David Gill

Historic England has noted that metal-detectorists have been active on part of the scheduled Roman site at Corbridge in Northumberland.

Do we need to change the language used to describe such activity? Do archaeologists need to start talking about the intellectual implications of such illegal activity? What information is being lost from the finite archaeological record?

Further details can be found on Looting Matters.

UK UNESCO World Heritage site damaged

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Brunton Turret, Hadrian’s Wall © David Gill

Part of Hadrian’s Wall at Brunton Turret has been damaged by metal-detectorists “‘Nighthawk’ metal detectorists damage Hadrian’s Wall“, BBC News 20 June 2018). Some 50 holes have been noted around this well-preserved section of the Roman frontier. This raises questions about how internationally significant heritage assets can be protected for future generations. Equally important is the question, how can the archaeological and heritage communities make it clear that such activity cannot be accepted?

Images from Greek Police Raid Used to Identify Amphora due to be Auctioned in London

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Image of Athenian amphora attributed to the Bucci painter seized in Greek police raid (2007). Source: Dr Christos Tsirogiannis.

Dr Christos Tsirogannis has identified an Attic amphora due to be auctioned in London next week as the one shown in two images seized during a Greek police raid in 2007. The auction house concerned needs to demonstrate the full collecting history.

More details are available on Looting Matters.

Lanercost Priory: tombs

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Lanercost Priory © David Gill

Some of the most important tombs at Lanercost are found in the eastern part of the priory church. This tomb in the north transept appears to date from the late 14th century and probably was for a member of the Dacre family. The sign suggests that more recent visitors to the site were in the habit of adding their initials or names to the monument.

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Tomb in north transepct, Lanercost Priory © David Gill

Rollright Stones: King Stone

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Rollright Stones: King Stone, c. 1993 © David Gill

The Rollright Stones lie in Oxfordshire. The King Stone lies outside the main circle.

This image was taken about 1993. Sadly in 2007 the sign was vandalised and had to be removed (details here).

Getty to return further head to Italy

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Terracotta head of Hades found near Morgantina. Source: MiBACT

The J. Paul Getty Museum is to hand over a terracotta head to Italian authorities tomorrow (details on Looting Matters). It will then be put on display in the museum at Aidone, alongside other objects returned from North American collections.

The head’s return raises wider questions about how the Getty acquired material from private collections in the 1980s in spite of the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

Woodhenge Heritage Signs Stolen

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Ministry of Works plaques stolen from Woodhenge. Source: Historic England

HF has a keen interest in heritage signs especially those linked to the Ministry of Works. It has been reported that the Ministry of Works signs from Woodhenge, an early example of interpretative plaques, have been stolen.

Further details are available from Looting Matters.

Lead Thefts in Suffolk

Lavenham Church, Suffolk © David Gill
Lavenham Church, Suffolk © David Gill

There have been a number of lead thefts across East Anglia and in particular from historic churches in Suffolk. St Peter and St Paul at Lavenham is one of the latest to have been stripped: there have been 12 instances in the county since July this year. The damage to Lavenham’s church has been put in the region of £150,000 (see news report). Earlier this month the church at Groton was the subject of a theft (see news report). Reports are highlighting the difference between the value of the lead and the cost of the repairs.

Source: Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich
Source: Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich

The Church of England Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has issued new guidance to churches (see here).

Bishop Martin said: “We live in a low crime county but our community’s heritage has recently been prone to major thefts. A number of churches have had their lead roofs stolen and therefore the launch of these guidance notes is very timely. Working in partnership with the Church, the police forces in Suffolk and Norfolk have produced an easy to follow leaflet for Parochial Church Councils and I hope that they will be read and acted upon in order to keep our places of worship open and available to all.”

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore added: “Our beautiful buildings need to be cherished and we must do whatever we can to combat heritage crime. The dedicated rural crime team is doing an excellent job. This team, supported by Suffolk’s two dedicated rural Special Constabulary units, has a very good understanding of the negative impact heritage crime has in rural areas. We all have a role to play to protect our county’s beautiful churches but so often they are in remote areas so I would urge everyone to keep their eyes peeled and report any suspicious activity.”

The Suffolk Constabulary has also issued a statement.

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