So far well over 8,000 people have viewed our recent article about Ed Vaisey. On Friday it was the most-viewed WordPress posting in Britain, and 12th in the world.

We’re glad it’s been widely seen as it happened to contain an outline of our whole thesis (in contrast to the image of us as heritage crazies that some people put about!) In truth we’ve no issue with metal detecting providing it’s properly regulated so it’s in the public interest, not the reverse. No archaeologist would disagree with that and we know that thoughtful detectorists are of the same view so we’re grateful Ed’s faux pas has highlighted the issue to so many people. Henceforth no-one can claim the cat isn’t well and truly out of the bag – and applauded!

It would be good if the Minister’s clumsy remarks turned out to be the nadir of the 15 year “laissez-faire and-pretend it’s fine” policy. It’s certainly high time archaeologists and heritage professionals – and any detectorist who aspires to the label “history lover” – told him that the Emperor has no clothes, the voluntary system hasn’t delivered what’s needed and his heroes need to be properly regulated. He definitely needs to be better briefed about what are the proper priorities for a Culture Secretary (which are, well, culture!) …..

At the launch of the annual Portable Antiquities and Treasure report in May 2011 Ed refused to answer questions (on the future   of the library service, which was looking bleak) and turned to a government press officer and said: “I’m not sure what to do. Can I speak? You are here to protect me from things like this.”  On the other hand he was far less reticent about speaking to artefact hunters: “After the launch, he again refused to discuss his party’s policy on libraries and instead chatted with a treasure hunting “mud larker”, securing a promise of a guided trip to the tidal banks of the Thames with his five-year-old child.” No surprise there though as at the equivalent launch the previous year he boasted that he was proud of “being cover boy for a metal detecting magazine”....

At the launch of the annual Portable Antiquities and Treasure report in May 2011 Ed refused to answer questions (on the looming bleak future of the library service) and turned to a government press officer saying “I’m not sure what to do. Can I speak? You are here to protect me from things like this.”
Yet he was less reticent about speaking to artefact hunters: “After the launch, he again refused to discuss his party’s policy on libraries and instead chatted with a treasure hunting “mud larker”, securing a promise of a guided trip to the tidal banks of the Thames with his 5 year-old child.”
No surprise there though. At the equivalent launch the previous year he boasted that he was proud of “being cover boy for a metal detecting magazine”…. (On pasture Ed? At a club that doesn’t insist members must report all finds to PAS? You haven’t been properly briefed, have you? Shouldn’t you be asking WHY?) 

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More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting

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