Fellow Landowners,


As golden rules go it couldn’t be simpler: never sign a finds agreement without seeing what you are giving away….

It’s obvious isn’t it: the finds are your property so you should control what happens to them,  once you have them in your hand. Obvious yes, yet since I mentioned it last week lots of detectorists have been trying to deny it – which tells a dodgy tale I think. Some have been leaning over to a ludicrous degree to oppose its implications, saying it’s OK to take the finds home in the first instance because “sometimes you cannot get to see the farmer straight after a dig.” Yeah right. Not possible or respectful or responsible or practical to restrict your detecting to just those days when the owner IS there, eh?!

So Friends, to repeat: there’s no good reason for things to be taken straight home nor for you not to be given the opportunity to  take independent advice on them. So if someone asks you to agree to it you ought to ask yourself why. The sale of British artefacts is a multi-million pound industry in which the owners get a lamb’s share (how about you?) Most artefact hunters won’t tell you that, nor will anyone working for the Portable Antiquities Scheme. But take a look at Ebay, Treasure Hunting Magazine, The Searcher and coin dealers’ catalogues and see for yourself. The evidence is overwhelming.

Your friend

Silas Brown,
Grunter’s Hollow Farm,




Wording to look out for and avoid:
A portion of the National Council for Metal Detecting Model Finds Agreement showing the two crucial phrases that make the detectorist, alone in the field, the sole arbiter of the value of each object and hence whether you get any money for it or even ever see it. As contracts go, it must surely be one of the most manipulative in history.



And now comes yet more defence of the “take it home without showing him” system!  “You wouldn’t find a person who shoots pigeons on behalf of a landowner having to go along to the farmhouse at the end of the day to show the farmer how many birds they shot…. “

Eh??!! What a desperate comparison to make – and how strongly it signals there’s no respectable defence?! It’s up to you Friends, but I personally see ludicrous gyrations in defence of taking home items of yours that might be worth multi thousands of pounds without showing them to you as instructive. The question that remains hanging  in the air is why, why, why would anyone NOT want you to see what they’ve found?

The same fellow even has the almighty neck to conclude with: “Truth, openness and honesty with your landowners is all that is required”  Too damn right it is, Sunshine, the same as Tesco’s require of their customers! Just bring every farmer everything you’ve found before you leave their premises, using the moral standards of normal people outside your circle, and stop trying to wriggle out of it. Grrrr.


Another one has just said: “The ‘Farmer Brown’ character in these posts is a joke in terms of a balanced attitude”. Damn right,  Moonbeam! I’m a farmer that’s pro-Farmer, what’s wrong with that? Have years of PAS flattery and talking to your mates convinced you you’re owed a balanced attitude? Truth is, you’re simply random people who turn up at our gates proposing you go on our fields and keep everything of ours worth up to 300 or 500 pounds while saying you’re mad keen on history. Is that not 100% accurate? Yes it is. So how is saying so not a “balanced attitude”? Do you mean you want me to pretend it’s not true and that you’re some sort of national hero? The brass monkeys in Hell will be crying their eyes out before that happens, ooh arr.

Oh, and here’s a true jewel of detectorists’ self-delusionary self-praise from one of his colleagues…

I bet every detectorist on this forum has a good relationship with their farmer/landowner(s)“. (I’ll bet they do!). “Honesty and trust is paramount.” Oh really! Then how come, instead of getting farmers to sign binding contracts you just trust them to give you some of them back when you deliver them?  Oooh, er, ummm, ignore Farmer Brown he’s an extremist who presents an unfair image of us…. !!   [And predictably, the remarks have now been hidden. Makes you proud to be British doesn’t it!]

And someone else doesn’t like facing up to reality….
“I for one am sick to death of having my words twisted, ignored and dismissed by these seemingly educated people who are only interested in the improvements that are offered on their terms.Therefore rather than keep on banging my head against a brick wall, I have decided to shut down this blog and just get on with my metal detecting…the way that I like it.!”

To clarify: They aren’t terms and they aren’t ours. They are a description of civilised behaviour  If he doesn’t want to comply when other detectorists have happily done so without difficulty or complaint for many years then so be it, but don’t blame us or civilisation. No-one is being fooled.

And another equally uncomprehending fellow chips in … accusing us of “extremist demands” that have caused “responsible detectorist Steve Broom to vacate his responsible metal detecting blog”. Makes us sound more like  terrorists than conservationists. Boo hoo.  That comes of us taking stuff home without showing the owner and saying it’s the responsible thing to do. Oh no, that’s not us is it?!


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting