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Our recent article has evoked massive abuse from some detectorists. In Britain we’re “idiots”; in the States we’re “ass hats” and “haemorrhoids”. No matter, far more significant is that only insults have been forthcoming. No-one has ventured to say any of the ten Pledges are invalid or why. With good reason: the Pledges say to the Public “is this how you think things should be done to ensure both landowners and you get what you’re entitled to?” and the Public will certainly say yes, because it is. That puts artefact hunters and others in the mother of all pickles:

For 15 years detectorists have described what they do using vague but virtuous platitudes whereas the Pledges are neither vague nor platitudinous and, since the Public will approve of them (ask them, don’t take our word) anyone who disputed them would be seen as flouting the public will. Further, the Pledges are no more than what the authorities privately agree with and know they should have published many years ago, so there’ll be not a molecule of criticism of them from that quarter either.

If you put forward a set of ethical standards, and one side keeps quiet because it daren’t  be seen to disagree and the other side keeps quiet because it daren’t be seen to agree you’ve probably got it right – especially if you know they would be approved by those who really matter: landowners (who are the owners,  stewards and gatekeepers of the resource) and the Public (who are the main stakeholders in the resource). Against all that, the insults really don’t matter.

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Finally here’s a not-unexpected reaction to the above from American detectorist Dick Stout. It demonstrates elegantly how vital it is for a clear and unambiguous set of ethical standards to be laid out:

“their 10 point pledge a joke and insult to us all. I don’t really care what they think. They can piss and moan all they want…”

So, he rejects those 10 ethical standards entirely, whereas it’s clear the public would accept them entirely! So, Dear Reader, would you want someone who said those ten ethical pledges were a joke and that they didn’t care what you thought and you could piss and moan all you want – on your land ?!  Probably not. That’s the absolute beauty of published, well-publicised ethical standards, they invariably sort the ethical from the unethical whereas vague and virtuous platitudes do the opposite and have been doing so at farm gates for far too many years.

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More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting

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