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“Never before has so much archaeological material been removed from the earth through illegal looting as it has since the 1990s. We are witness to a ‘decontextualisation process’ on an enormous scale which affects all archaeological objects……This is a loss of historical source material that is without comparison, and it cannot be replaced”
H.-M von Kaenel, Coins in Context I: New Perspectives for the Interpretation of Coin Finds, Studien zu Fundmünzen der Antike 23 – Mainz) 2009.
What has this to do with British metal detecting since most of it takes place with permission, on non-scheduled sites and is legal, encouraged, partnered, subsidised and described by a government minister as heroic?
It’s simple: beyond Britain no-one pretends recreational and entrepreneurial metal detecting isn’t erosive, profoundly damaging and involves a loss of historical source material that is without comparison.
Brtitish metal detecting. Not looting. Merely the cause of vastly more damage in total than looting.
This is not something that is mentioned on the website of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.