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!) …..