Central Searchers’ Summer Rally is expanding. This year, 500 people over 3 days, grossing nearly £30,000. Yet sadly, although FLOs will attend, there’s still no rule saying people must show finds to them. But then, it would be ticklish in view of Rule 11 which says anything worth less than £2,000 belongs 100% to the detectorist. Nice. But since it’s the detectorist who decides if it is or isn’t worth less than £2000 it would be awkward, shall we say, if he was told he must expose it to the public gaze. Or that of the farmer.

Now let’s not talk in code, Dear Reader. We all know that rule isn’t there by accident and that the only people who would find it useful are the acquisitive and the dodgy, not lovers of history. Yet there it is, bold as brass, on full and insolent display, with no-one saying a word against it. Certainly not the four FLOs that attended the event last year, And not supposedly rational detectorist John Winter (who attends and praises these rallies and has given them a glowing write-up in The Searcher). So there we are, something bad for heritage knowledge and bad for the landowner is happening and no-one is saying a word. Still, in the immortal words of “Barry Thugwit” uttered at the Near Avebury Rally eight years ago, it’s legal, innit?and that no doubt is the very excuse the Portable Antiquities Scheme would cite in defence of their silence, even though it’s no excuse at all.

Finds Liaison Officer “outreaching” at the Central Searchers Rally. No prizes for guessing what sort of expression lies under the mask! How did Britain get into this embarrassing position?

Finds Liaison Officer delivering “outreach with an enigmatic smile” at the Central Searchers Rally. But is she REALLY smiling? And what does she really think? And what would it do for her employment status if she said? And how did Britain get into this embarrassing, indefensible position? Do the Public realise such state-supported events only happen here, not elsewhere, not even in the least developed, corruption-ridden Third World countries?

Update: We are very sorry about this article. See our apology here.

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More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting

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