... to claim we can validate climbing on monuments because no-one has taken a picture of the top of it is akin to saying, lets dig into every barrow, tumulus or cairn because no-one has ever taken pictures of the stones inside or digging up standing stones and toppling them over to get pictures of the base. This IMO is the domain of "professionals" whether we agree or not..because they supposedly have the manpower to set them back in situ and "officially" record their findings.
The professional bodies do not have manpower to visit and record ten thousand or more obscure, semi-ruined and remote sites. They are being cut to pieces by the goverment. If EH is losing people like Stewart Ainsworth because of cuts, what possible chance do they have of doing what you are suggesting? I'm not knocking them , but this is the reality.
I'm sorry that you feel only "professionals" are up to the job, because all that will be left on that basis is a few show sites where "the public" can be properly observed, corralled through the gift shop and visitor centre and generally made to enjoy the "prehistoric experience", whilst buying a nice National Trust tea towel.
The remaining 10,000 sites will continue to be ploughed, bulldozed, dug into, re-arranged, spray painted, fly tipped, covered in rusty wire and then forgotten about. But at least we'll be able to say we kept everyone off the grass at Avebury.
As Gladman said, with far more restraint and less of the blood boiling annoyance this thread is making me feel, WE are the ones who need to be championing the sites that are losing the battle, because no-one else fucking well is. I also agree with Tony that the basis of any sort of code ought to be "leave the monument as you found it". Taking a picture from the top of a cairn is NOT CAUSING ANY DAMAGE. Goff's cupmark picture DID NOT CAUSE ANY DAMAGE. It's NOTHING like saying let's dig into a barrow.
I do wonder what draws some people to TMA. This website has inspired me, directly, to go out and see those sites that aren't in the Costa-sponsored road atlases. I find many of them in heartbreakingly poor condition, which will only deteriorate if no-one highlights their plight. But I find others to be hidden gems, amazing places where you can practically smell the past. And these places also need to be highlighted, celebrated and publicised. They need to LIVE, not to be locked away from the light, decaying and unloved. Because this leads to public indifference. Public indifference means that when Priddy is bulldozed, the nation collectively shrugs. "So what?" they say, "it wasn't as Stonehenge was it?" And public indifference also means that funding will not be forthcoming, because something the public do not care about does not win votes. And then where with the "professionals" and their "manpower" be?
I, personally, see the contributions that people make to TMA, fieldnotes, photos, information from archives, to be immensely valuable and inspiring. It shows that people care, and it provides a priceless resource for people who want to care but don't know where to start. So, I'm afraid, to be told by someone who has never contributed a single post, about any prehistoric site anywhere, that I should "leave it to the professionals" makes me want to scream.