Paul Barford did it in just 120 forthright words : “The PAS tries to make out that the “metal detecting community” is for the most part composed of normal, concerned, responsible, intelligent folk engaged in a “study of the past”, but who are just misunderstood. They need to because the government would not give them money otherwise.The actual picture is far more complex, the thrusting on us all of the PAS one-sided rose-tinted spectacle vision totally obscures (and, shamefully, is meant to obscure) the huge element, an undercurrent, of individuals that are portrayed on this blog by the metaphorical device of the fictional Thugwit Brothers. These are the people we need to take into account whenever assessing the hobby, not the 20% who can be brought with varying degrees of success into the fold by persuasion and logic, but the 80% who are totally resistant to anything like that.” 

I agree with every word, There is compelling statistical evidence it is true. Knowledge theft is rife in the world of artefact hunting.

Mike Heyworth of the CBA (Farming Today, Radio 4, 6.00 minutes in) was far more circumspect yet said the same thing in even fewer words: “you can get hundreds if not thousands of metal detectorists converging on very sensitive archaeological sites and that can cause a huge amount of damage to that archaeology and that information is completely lost …. I’d like to see much more of a clampdown on those sort of rallies because I don’t think they’re in the public benefit

How come I say they are saying the same thing when Dr Heyworth only mentions rallies? Well, because if he thinks 500 people at a rally can cause a huge amount of damage and aren’t in the public benefit then he’d have to say the same about the activities of 10,000 detectorists acting alone. The logic is inescapable, if not politically convenient. So the two of them are actually saying precisely the same thing (as am I). Paul and Mike, peas in a pod, united in thinking this bar chart can’t be ignored…

Artefact Counter 2 as at March 2013.


More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting