Professor David Gill has been musing about “the alleged burial place of the so called  Crosby Garrett helmet” and the “unsubstantiated rumours” highlighted in the latest Current Archaeology that perhaps it was found elsewhere and relocated in order to give it a false provenance. I have no idea about that but it put me in mind of a section of our recent wall chart


It illustrates that some dug up artefacts  pass through a criminal “Laundry” or a legal “Fibbery”. A Laundry of course is where criminals launder their loot by giving it a false provenance. But the process of Fibbery is less spoken of yet may be vastly more common. It’s where something is dug up perfectly legally but then a big fib is told about where. There are many motivations for doing it but the big one is where you have a 50-50 agreement with one farmer but not with another and so …..

That’s very rare” detectorists would say without knowing if it was, “don’t insult the rest of us”. But actually it’s merely saying detectorists are no more saintly than anyone else. So (in best margarine ad style): 10,000 random people were asked “if you could double your money by saying you got something in Harrow when you got it in Jarrow would you do it?”  X% said yes.

Now, unless you can say how much X is, which you can’t, you’d have to accept that to a degree that can never be known,  a portion of PAS’s data is deliberately falsified. So, Professor Gill, never mind where the helmet came from, the pressing question for Britain is where did all the other finds come from?



More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting