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Archaeologists are forbidden by law from selling our history for profit. These are not archaeologists. Nor are they nighthawks.

The detectorists’ breakaway unofficial recording organisation, UKDFD, has issued a Statement criticising the recent Nighthawking Report, alleging inaccuracies about what it said about them – and suggesting these “raise doubts about the validity of the report’s findings” about nighthawking. (That they were exaggerated, presumably, though why the members of UKDFD should be worried about that completely escapes us!).

We are sure the authors of the Nighthawking Report will respond to the allegations so there is no point anyone else passing comment until they do. What is worthy of comment though is that this UKDFD statement contains one self-evidently false assertion: that the PAS and others “introduced a Code of Practice, which, by implication, brands those detectorists who record with the UKDFD as irresponsible”.  That is simply not true. No-one has ever said recording with UKDFD is irresponsible.  All that has happened is that The Code of Responsible Detecting (co-written by the two detectorists’ organisations) simply said responsible detecting means reporting all finds to PAS. Providing that is done then recording with UKDFD as well is perfectly responsible (as is recording on a wall or anywhere else!)  

We suspect (in fact we know, since they have said so and lobbied for it) that UKDFD wishes for the definition to be changed so that it says recording with them instead of PAS is deemed to be responsible.

We suspect they will have a long wait. In fact not until the Devil goes metal detecting on skates. And quite right too. A whole bunch of heritage organisations and indeed Society as a whole is entitled to declare what they regard as responsible behaviour and it would be a sad and chaotic day if those who don’t want to conform are given leave to re-define the term to suit their own, different behaviour!

There really is nothing more to be said.


February 2009

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