At the risk of labouring a point that needs labouring urgently…. we thought it reasonable to point out that our Artefact Erosion Counter hasn’t stopped but has ticked remorselessly onwards since we last highlighted it just two weeks ago. Today it shows an ADDITIONAL eleven thousand artefacts having just been removed from our fields, mostly un-recorded, thus depriving the rest of us of the associated historical knowledge forever.
It is said (guess by whom?) that the Counter is grossly inaccurate (guess in which direction?) We are unconvinced. All it is saying is that an army of ten thousand enthusiasts have found barely more than half a recordable artefact each per week in the past two weeks. Or maybe that half of them stayed at home and the other half found a couple each over the past fortnight!
We don’t think that’s unlikely at all, bearing in mind the number of people involved, what they say on their forums, the massive weekly offerings on EBay, the decades of sustained enthusiasm, the numerous rallies they attend, the vast numbers of metal detecting magazines sold and the millions of pounds worth of detecting equipment that is marketed by a large number of specialist manufacturers and retailers. In fact we think it is beyond the bounds of credibility that the hobby flourishes on the basis of fewer finds than the Counter suggests. We also think that if the true figures were a tenth of that it would still be a disgrace and that it is very wrong, uniquely British (as is the apparent official support it is given) and simply shouldn’t be happening.