Rescue News No 96, for Summer 2005

Irchester Roman Wall Destroyed! Surely some mistake? By Roy Friendship-Taylor,RESCUE Chairman

Irchester Northants, a Roman walled small-town, covering an area of about 8 hectares, was recently severely damaged by developers who exposed long lengths of masonry while building a road access/exit visual splay at the entrance to a new huge ‘logistics’ park in the western suburbs on the Nene valley side.

The new political landscape: Labour Party Manifesto Promises

With New Labour back in government, RESCUE and other heritage bodies are busy writing letters to present their organisations to a new set of ministers. Meanwhile here are the promises to the Heritage sector on which they were re-elected.

Crisis at EH : Following articles in RN 95, RESCUE Council members have met Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of EH to discuss the prospects for English Heritage’s future, and have also written to a number of peoplerecently in connection with the crisis EH faces.

DCMS reassures EH over ‘You’re history’ story: The Sunday Times article (13 th March 2005) you’re history: Jowell in threat to English Heritage’ provoked immediate fury from both DCMS and English Heritage. The article alleged that the Culture Secretary was `threatening to dismantle English Heritage’ and pass its historic properties to the National Trust. The story has been denied by the Minister.

Thornborough Henges : Date set for planning hearing: Following the long awaited submission from Tarmac showing the results of their pre-application archaeological investigations and environmental impact assessment, North Yorkshire County Council will hold a preliminary hearing of the planning application at their planning meeting on July 17th. Tarmac’s archaeological reports cover both the area of their Ladybridge Application and also an Interim Report on Nosterfield Quarry.

Archaeological Archive Resource Centres by Jannicke Langfeldt

The Society of Museum Archaeologists (SMA) and the Archaeological Archives Forum held a one day conference at the Museum of London on 27th October 2004 on archaeological archive resource centres. There were around 140 attendees; predominately museum professionals rather than representatives from relevant government departments or archaeological contractors.

National Trust: Coastal Management Policy: Shoreline management is one of the most practical responses to long term climate change. The National Trust has published research showing that 60% of the 1,130km of coast it owns could be affected by coastal erosion within the next 100 years. It advocates an urgent need for coherent, long-term planning to address the massive impacts of future sea level rise. Its latest publication Shifting Shores is a wake-up call to recognise that planning for the inevitable, and potentially extensive, impacts of coastal change is now essential.

Meanwhile on land…: David Lovibond in an article in the Financial Times magazine of May 28 th 2005 , entitled Bad Manors? suggests that tenants of some of the more lowly properties in the National Trust’s portfolio are less than happy with their landlord’s management style.

Staff Redundancies here too: In February the National Trust announced that it would lose approximately 250 posts across its central departments as part of the need to increase the Trust’s operating contribution

Minerals: Latest Government Guidance by Tony Scrase

The government is reviewing and updating its planning policy guidance, replacing the old PPGs and MPGs with PPSs and MPSs. RESCUE has already commented on a draft for MPS 2 Controlling and Mitigating the Environmental Effects of Mineral Extraction in England . The final version has now appeared simultaneously with two annexes on noise and dust.

Mellor Hillfort by Kathleen Morris, Secretary, Mellor Archaeological Trust

Mellor, located on a prominent hilltop overlooking the Cheshire plain on the edge of the Peak District hills, now seems the obvious place for a hillfort, but nobody had looked there for one before. In the hot dry summer of 1995 most of the fields were parched yellow, but one showed a curved green line – the only sign that there might be any archaeology there.

Iraq : in May 2005 RESCUE received a response from Oliver Richards, Iraq Policy Unit, of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to our letter to Jack Straw, expressing our concerns at the continuing danger to Iraq ’s cultural heritage of the current political situation there. The main contents are summarised.

Ecclesiastical Exemption in Wales: While the results of the consultation over Ecclesiastical Exemption (the exclusion of places of worship from listed building and conservation area controls) is still awaited in England, over the border in Wales, the similar Review by Peter Howell  concludes that it would appear advisable for the exemption to remain for the immediate future.

Hadrian’s Wall Path: Hadrian’s Wall Footpath was finally opened in April 2003. Farming and tourism organisations had high hopes that the Path would become a major visitor attraction in an area which was in need of economic regeneration following general economic decline in the region and the effects of the disastrous outbreak of foot and mouth. Despite relatively low visitor numbers, monitoring showed damage by visitor erosion and other threats

Environmental Assessment Bill for Scotland: All public programmes will be `green proofed’ under legislation introduced to the Scottish Parliament. The Environmental Assessment Bill aims to put Scotland at the forefront of environmental protection by ensuring that all public sector plans, strategies and programmes are scrutinised for their environmental impact.

Papers from the 2005 Open Meeting Universities and Archaeology:  some personal reflections by John Collis

Dept of Archaeology, Sheffield University : One of the first things I advised my colleagues when I first arrived in Sheffield in 1972 was not to become involved in major rescue excavations …

Prehistory, Research and English Heritage by Jonathan Last ,English Heritage

English Heritage has a variety of responsibilities regarding prehistoric archaeology, as for other periods. One of these is to undertake and commission research. The policy document Power of Place: the future of the historic environment (2000) stresses the need for ‘continuous, thoughtful and well-targeted research’ to produce the understanding that will allow us to care properly for our heritage.

The Community Digs: Contract Archaeology and the General Public by Chris Ellis Wessex Archaeology: In the 15 years that I’ve been involved in contract archaeology I have been struck by a number of paradoxes within the industry, how it is structured and how it carries out its work, and how these practices affect/or not public perception of the profession. Personally, I think the most pressing paradox presently within the contract archaeology profession is the relative lack of physical and intellectual access, to the material we excavate for the general public

Managing Museum Collections : The Museum Documentation Association, the UK ‘s lead organisation on the management of information about museum collections, has published a revised edition of SPECTRUM, the documentation standard for museums.

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