To clarify:
Our recent story, “NCMD to make reporting all finds to PAS compulsory!” wasn’t a hoax. Their  Chairman’s statement  is on the PAS website and is very clear:

The National Council for Metal Detecting will be replacing its existing Code, a part of its Constitution, with the new one. Adherence to the Code when metal detecting is a condition of membership

Of course, that was said back in May 2006 and has been neither amended nor actioned. As a result for more than six years countless landowners have been given the false message that NCMD membership obliged people to adhere to the official code and to report all finds to PAS, when it did no such thing.

So to be clear: our article wasn’t a massive hoax, it was ABOUT one.”


The NCMD has now explained how this all came about. No, they are NOT going to adopt the official Code and make it obligatory for all members to report all their finds to PAS. It was all a silly “mistake” on their part as when they announced in May 2006 they’d replace their Code with “the new one” they actually meant to say “a new one” but they spotted the error too late! Imagine, Dear Reader, suddenly telling your Bank after six years you hadn’t meant you’d pay the loan back but a loan back. Or telling your wife after six years you hadn’t meant you’d marry this woman but a woman!

It doesn’t add up, as the other signatories would surely agree. If you make a mistake you admit it as soon as you know. Yet it has taken till now, (and our article) for them to confess. And what a stunning confession it is: the “historic agreement” wasn’t ever an agreement because it’s wording, “all parties are committed to ensuring its members abide by the advice set out in the document” was untrue.

Whether it was a mistake or deliberate hardly matters since it wasn’t corrected. But for what it’s worth our bet is that there was no mistake and that they signed it knowingly – but then found their members wouldn’t play ball. There was certainly an unholy row to that effect on the forums. Then came the real mistake. Instead of saying so and honorably withdrawing from the agreement on the grounds they couldn’t deliver, they let it stand.

Anyway, they’ve now publicly admitted they aren’t and never were intending to insist members adhere to the official Code so it’s incumbent on The Archaeological Establishment to acknowledge the fact. In particular they really have a duty of care towards the landowners of Britain to explain that an NCMD card is not evidence a man at their door is obliged to act responsibly and report all finds to PAS. The sooner the better. How many false claims along those lines have been made in order to gain access to fields since 2006?


More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting