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Simon Richardson, one of the metal detectorists most experienced in conducting archaeological surveys on English battlefields, working on the Bosworth survey.
 
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Metal detecting can either unlock or destroy critical evidence
Helping the Trust to conserve our battlefields

Please help the Battlefields Trust to conserve and enhance Britainís battlefield heritage. Report potential problems or needs to us so that we know where action or assistance is required.

METAL DETECTING

The Battlefields Trust is working with and encouraging metal detectorists to carry out systematic, well recorded surveys on a number of our battlefields, because such work can unlock the unique evidence contained in the battlefield itself. But illicit and ill informed metal detecting is also the greatest threat to our battlefields. Just as surely as allowing souvenir hunters to take a little piece of the Bayeux Tapestry would soon destroy that remarkable record of the battle of Hastings, so inappropriate metal detecting is destroying the unique archaeological record that our battlefields hold. But, unlike the tapestry, the story from the earth has never been read or recorded. Every battle artefact removed from the field is the destruction of another small part of the story.

Report when and where you see metal detecting on a battlefield. It may be a genuine, well recorded survey. It might be illicit destruction without permission. We need to know so that we can work with landowners, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, other conservation organisations and genuine metal detectorists to conserve and record the archaeology of our battlefields to enhance our understanding of these important historical events.

ACCESS AND INTERPRETATION

Where are there access problems? A stile may be broken, waymarks may have been lost or new ones may be needed.  Interpretation panels may have been vandalised or be in need of repair or replacement. The Trust can only work with landowners, local authorities and other organisations to improve and enhance public access to and enjoyment of our battlefields if we are aware of the needs. We can only help to ensure that access is responsible and does not cause difficulties for those who own or farm the sites if we know where the difficulties are arising.

DEVELOPMENT AND OTHER THREATS

Forty three of the most important sites, all in England, are protected as Registered Battlefields. A handful of others are, in part, owned and managed for their historic value by conservation organisations such as the National Trust for Scotland. Even these sites will come under threat from time to time, but for the vast majority of our battlefields there is no such safeguard. We need your help to find out where potential problems exist. Where a battlefield is threatened by development the local planning authority may not be aware or not taking account of the historic and archaeological interest of the site as a battlefield. Or there may be important features like an ancient hedgerow or wall or archaeological evidence like ridge and furrow, which may date from the time of the battle and is under threat of destruction. We need to know what is being lost and where it may be possible to work with the landowner, local authority or other relevant people to achieve effective conservation. It may be advising on grants and other conservation strategies which may enable a landowner to preserve important historic features or on an appropriate recording strategy to follow prior to destruction.

 

   
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