Rescue News 115

Catastrophic fire in Egypt

On the 17th December 2011, during the demonstrations and clashes between security forces and protestors, an  important library in central Cairo was gutted by fires. The Egyptian Scientific Institute held an extremely rare collection of Egyptian maps and historical manuscripts, as well as some 200,000 books, including the original volumes of the Description de l’Égypte. This work was started in 1798 by French scholars following Napoleon …

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Wedgewood Collection under threat

At the end of the last year the Guardian newspaper reported that the High Court had ruled that the Wedgwood Museum collection may have to be sold to help pay off a £134m pension fund deficit. The decision relates to the pension problems  left by Waterford Wedgwood Potteries when it went into administration in 2009. The Court decided that the Museum’s administrators were deemed liable for …

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Museums Crisis Deepens

The true impact of the government’s cuts to local authority budgets is now starting to become clear, with average cuts of 25% off museums budgets reported by the Museum Association last year. This is inflicting job losses, shorter opening hours and closures across the country. Outside of the national museums, many of which are concentrated in London, regional museums and heritage centres are really struggling to provide …

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Latest Battersea project stalls

The fate of London’s iconic Battersea Power Station is again unresolved. The latest proposal for the site has failed after the Irish property firm Real Estate Opportunities failed to repay a loan. The site will now be put up for sale, with Chelsea Football Club possibly interested in building a new stadium, retaining as much of the Grade II* listed building as possible. These plans …

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Priddy Circle Arrest

RN 114 reported damage at Priddy Circles near Wells in Somerset. Part of one of the most important Neolithic monuments in the country appeared to have been deliberately flattened, probably with mechanical diggers. In October 2011 the Avon and Somerset Police, following a joint investigation with English Heritage, announced that they had arrested a 72 year-old man on suspicion of criminal damage and causing damage to a …

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Protecting Archaeology

Just before Christmas, the Secretary of State agreed to add the renowned Mesolithic site of Star Carr to the Schedule of Ancient Monuments. It is one of the very oldest of sites to be designated: there are a number of Palaeolithic cave shelters which may trump it in time-depth, but in terms of importance in shedding light on far distant human activity, Star Carr is …

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Stonehenge Update Spring 2012

We were not surprised to learn, late in 2011, that Stopping-up Orders for the eastern end of the A344 (the road that divides Stonehenge from its current visitor facilities) and the B3086 (on the western boundary of the WHS) were approved by the Secretary of State. This decision flies in the face of damage to the setting of the WHS on its western boundaries that would …

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Liverpool’s WHS Status Threatened

Liverpool is facing an increasing prospect of the loss of their World Heritage Site designation. RN 114 reported that UNESCO did not like the plans for a major redevelopment of the waterfront. Following a visit to Liverpool by UNESCO Inspectors that unfortunate decision has taken a step closer. The Inspectors considered the plans submitted by Peel Holdings for the £5.5bn Liverpool Waters. The planed site …

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London Mithraeum moves

Since November 2011 Museum of London Archaeology has been overseeing the dismantling of the Roman Temple of Mithras reconstructed in the 1950s. It is being moved to make way for a new development at Walbrook Square by Bloomberg LP. Discovered in 1952, and excavated by WF Grimes, the site produced a collection of exceptional Roman sculptures of the gods Mithras, Serapis and Minerva now on display at …

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War Grave Looting Goes On

Sunk with the loss of 1,459 Navy sailors by a German submarine in the First World War three Royal Navy cruisers, are now enjoying a new life as source of cheap metal for Dutch commercial salvage ships. The three ships, HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy, were all sunk on the 22 September 1914. The satirical magazine Private Eye revealed in November that the …

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