Monday, November 10, 2008

Icklingham: Continued Looting

The fields of Icklingham in Suffolk were the site of a notorious piece of looting in the 1980s when a series of Romano-British bronzes were extracted, removed from Britain, and sold through a New York gallery to a pair of North American private collectors (complete with apparently fictitious history about having been in a Swiss private collection).

Now Paul Barford has drawn attention to a recent newspaper report about John Browning, the farmer at Icklingham ("Thieves target historic site", East Anglian Daily Times, November 7, 2008). The paper reports:
Last night [John Browning] told how his fields had been targeted three times in the past five days by night-time thieves carrying metal detectors. It is understood they dig up the area looking for valuable Roman artefacts following the discovery there of a number of bronze heads and statuettes.

They are the latest in a string of incidents involving treasure hunters. At least 50 people have been caught and penalised over the years and Mr Browning believes more than 100 incidents have gone unpunished.
There are several things to notice. First, that (some) metal detectorists target known (recognised) archaeological sites. Second, that deliberate destruction of an archaeological site (looting?) continues apace. Third, such activity is intense.

And if this is true for Icklingham, what about other scheduled archaeological sites in England and Wales?

Image
EADT

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