BAJR Federation Archaeology

Full Version: Update on the Priddy Circle Case
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The archaeological community is looking for guidance from the case of a Mendip landowner into the penalty that may be imposed for damaging historic sites, a court was told.

Taunton Crown Court heard that Roger Maxwell Penny, 73, who admits destroying part of the Priddy Circles ancient earthworks, dating back to 3,000BC, would like to do what he can to put the damage right.

David Maunder, for English Heritage, proposed that the work be done or supervised using Mr Penny's resources "under the eye of English Heritage".

The judge said the simplest way was for Mr Penny to agree to permit English Heritage to enter his land for up to 18 months to carry out archaeological works to reinstate the area.

Hmmmm so we teh public pay for the work then?
Until relatively recently, the farmer at Castlethorn in West Lothian had 4x4 events through the middle of the hill fort. They now skirt the centre following intervention by Historic Scotland ;o)
Contrary to the Land Reform Act here in Scotland, he chases people off 'his' hills with varied threats.
The land is rented form Lord Torphichen.
I'm guessing though that the line 'at the landowners resources', infer he will be paying for the restorative works....and his lawyer has clearly spotted that a 'final' situation where minimal damage is observable, might mitigate the level of the inevitable fine.
I've recently been looking at the 1882 Ancient Monuments Act, and it is surprising how reluctant the state has always been to punish those 'defacing an ancient monument'. On the question of fines, the low levels set may reflect the difficulty of setting a monetary value on something that is literally invaluable.
Mr Penny has been fined only ?2,500, but has to pay costs of ?7,500. Furthermore he has agreed to pay (which reduced his fine) for 'repairs' and 'other mitigation works' to an estimated cost of ?38,000.
I think this is a case of justice done and justice seen to be done....although a small amendment to the 1979 Act allowing English Heritage to seize a heritage asset where evidence of criminal neglect could be proved. might be a more effective deterrent to future offenders.