Several years ago we complained about a metal detecting rally at Foxham because the organiser said:

“The land has been pasture and undisturbed for approximately one hundred years” (which flouts all guidelines on responsible detecting) and….
“Only finds that are subject to treasure trove are to be divided fifty/fifty with the land owner”
which flouts all notions of fair dealing (everything not treasure, including a Crosby Garrett helmet if found, would belong 100% to the detectorists!)

Today the event is repeated (same organisers, village and landowners), BUT:

“The pasture fields have not been pasture for more than three years” (which complies with responsible detecting) and…..
“Finds over £300 in value are to be divided 50/50 with the landowner”
(which is a shift (albeit inadequate) in the direction of fair dealing)

There’s a lesson for officialdom there maybe. If people are acting badly it’s best to say so. We did, and now both the archaeology and landowners of Foxham (and maybe other places) are a little bit better off – and we didn’t charge the taxpayer a penny.

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More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting

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