Don’t Go There

May 4, 2009 at 6:20 am | Posted in News | Leave a comment

300px-f-86a_01This is one of those things that gives us a bad name. “Scavengers at Jet Smash Site” is the headline of a story in yesterday’s Darlington-Stockton Times, a local paper in Great Britain’s northeast.

“Macabre treasure hunters have been using metal detectors to search for souvenirs from the scene of a horrific jet crash more than 50 years ago. An RAF Sabre fighter from Linton-on-Ouse near York plunged into Hood Hill, near Sutton Bank on the North York Moors, in September 1954 and was blown to pieces in the high-speed impact. The pilot, 23-year-old Flying Officer Colin ‘Snatch’ Grabham, born in Dover, was killed instantly and the crater left by the smash is still visible to this day.

“But souvenir scavengers, thought to be military aircraft enthusiasts, have been search for highly-collectable fragments of the jet and left signs of digging. And officials have condemned the practice and called for its immediate end. ‘It is highly likely the remains of Flying Officer Grabham are still on the site and therefore the site should be treated with the respect it deserves,’ said a Ministry of Defence spokesman. ‘In addition, there is a chance that ordnance may remain at the site and it can become unstable when exposed to the air, leading to death or serious injury.'”

“He also warned that it was an offence to tamper with, damage, move or unearth any remains under the Protection of Military Remains Act….

“The site is within the National Park and … digging near the crash crater [is] also restricted by law due to its importance as the site of a medieval fortification.”

Which means that those treasure-seekers are breaking Commandment 5 of our Scavenging Code of Ethics, as detailed in our book The Scavengers’ Manifesto:

“Don’t remove historical or archaeological artifacts from areas where they are protected. [Such areas include] battlefields, ghost towns, Native American settlements, archaeological sites, historic buildings, and so on. As tempting as it might be, never ever remove any artifacts of any kind from protected sites such as these. It might feel like scavenging, especially when no one else is around, but there’s another name for it: looting.”

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