Nighthawk raiders plunder historic items from Roman town

Started by gash, September 29, 2017, 10:37:26 pm

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Nighthawks using metal detectors are stealing objects from the site of what is the only known major Roman town in the North East.

Archaeologists from Historic England have found evidence of damage being caused by illegal metal detectorists or 'nighthawks' in the scheduled, protected area around the remains of the visitor-attraction Roman Town of Corbridge which forms part of the Hadrian's Wall world heritage site in Northumberland.

The Roman Town of Corbridge is a scheduled monument, which means that it is protected by law against ground disturbance or unlicensed metal detecting.

The illegal operations are taking place at night the farmland protected area around the English heritage town site.

This year - and also the last two years - nighthawks have moved in after ploughing has taken place, which can bring objects closer to the surface and within range of metal detectors.

The latest holes left by the nighthawkers were discovered by English Heritage staff 50 metres to the south of their site.

Mike Collins, inspector of ancient monuments for Hadrian's Wall at Historic England in the North East, said: "Corbridge Roman town has been targeted repeatedly over the years by nighthawks.

"We are working closely with colleagues from English Heritage and Northumbria Police to combat the theft of historic objects and artefacts from the site.

"Nighthawking is a serious offence that robs us all of the information and understanding of our past that the Roman town at Corbridge can give.

"This is a crime pure and simple. They are stealing the information, heritage and understanding that this material can give us and it is immensely frustrating."

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