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A detectorist says he has found some crop marks and “the Church Commissioners are happy to grant me a contract for a nominal £1.00 fee” (plus £240 for the Land Agent to draw up the contract). A colleague advises him to contact the commission direct and draw up the usual contract (50/50) with them, “i wouldnt want to pay that for land that could have very little in the way of good finds”.

But it’s strange that the Commission allows detecting at all when organisations with similar curatorial roles like The National Trust don’t do so. In addition:

1. They’re committed to strive for “the best return from their assets to help sustain the nationwide ministry of the Church, without undue risk and in line with their ethical investment policy” – so selling artefacts that are sometimes worth thousands and occasionally millions for a pound or even a half share is hardly in line with that.

2. English Heritage (in Our Portable Past ) says it supports “the general principle that “archaeological material should not be sold for profit” and “unless part of an excavation, metal detecting should normally only take place on land under arable conditions, and as part of a properly structured field survey project” – and specifies that in the matter of Portable Antiquities the Church Commissioners are one of its “Key Partners”!


BTW if you like or dislike this article, you could always mention it elsewhere. The Church of England is on Twitter….


More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting



October 2013

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