Yesterday’s article might have given the impression we think Central Searchers have the dodgiest rules in the whole of metal detecting. That isn’t so. That honour goes to The Somerset Artefact Seekers Metal Detecting Club whose rules include this:

“Any items found that are not Treasure Trove become the property of the finder/s unless otherwise stated.” (Changed the next day! See below).

Can you imagine the extreme degree of fiction regarding what might be found  that would be needed in order to induce a farmer to agree to that? Keep in mind, inter alia, that the Crosby Garrett Helmet, valued at £3,600,000 was a non-treasure item and if found under the above arrangement would have become the property of the detectorist alone.

PAS (and indeed EH and CBA) are very welcome to use our Comments section to indicate if they support artefact hunting on this basis and whether it is possible that outreach to farmers is a neglected element of outreach. It would also be interesting to hear from Glasgow Uni criminologists (thanks, Paul Barford) and the police and members of the Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage about whether such an arrangement, if shown to be ill-understood by one of the parties, could even be illegal. A fascinating topic indeed. Not one that should engender profound silence perhaps.

Update: Ho ho ho!
An April Fool’s joke on a detecting forum this morning: “Metal Detecting ban announced!

But the real irony is this: Britain is the only country on the planet where such an announcement would be seen as a joke!!

NB, not that we’ve ever called for a ban, we’ve only ever suggested there should be a law to compel artefact hunters to behave – for which PAS has called us trolls – and thugs have threatened us with violence. Happy 1st April, PAS and all detectorists.

Another Update (April 2nd): Well, well, well!
The crook-helping Rule of The Somerset Artefact Seekers Metal Detecting Club – “Any items found that are not Treasure Trove become the property of the finder/s unless otherwise stated” has now been changed, thereby delivering a confession of how outrageous it was. Non treasure items now become the property of the finder and farmer on the basis of 50/50!

That’s yet another lesson for PAS: if you criticise people for oikish and exploitative behaviour, sometimes they’re shamed into changing it. Why has it taken a bunch of amateurs like us (like happened in the case of Regtons) to bring about an improvement? It’s not us that are paid and instructed by Parliament to outreach, it’s you. How about you now criticise Central Searchers, as you are duty-bound to do? Maybe you can get a similar result? But please, do it in public, that’s the only thing that works, as we have shown – and of course, it would show you give a damn for the interests of farmers more than artefact hunters, something that’s not at all obvious at present.


More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting