Faced with wrongdoing by colleagues, detectorists often use the “Not Me” defence. Fair enough if true but not if not. For example, we recently cited a detectorist (“Mr A***r”) saying he doesn’t report all finds to PAS and is threatening to not report Treasure – whereupon the Chairman of his previous club left a “Not Me” comment saying they had ejected him for misbehaviour.

But since we replied as follows he has fallen silent: “Thanks. I take it your club’s mandatory code of conduct is the official one? It could hardly be otherwise as if your members aren’t bound by that you’d have no way of knowing or insisting that they recorded all their finds with PAS – in other words, that they are any better than Mr A***r.” The problem is that, incredibly, despite masses of virtuous talk, hardly any detecting clubs insist on members keeping to the official code or reporting all finds to PAS ! That’s why “Not Me” is an uncomfortable defence.

Luckily for them though this is Bonkers Britain so despite saying that keeping to the official code is the only acceptable way to conduct the hobby, neither the Government nor PAS say a word about the fact the detecting clubs don’t make it a condition of membership. In addition, in the academic corner of Bonkers Britain there’s no comment about it either. Indeed, sometimes things are said there that beggar belief:

And in Bonkers Academic Britain, here's a genuine statement just made about artefact hunting abroad: Archaeology is: "inherently (neo)colonialist, in denial of its own criminogenic creations and, therefore, eventually and essentially state-corporate crime enhancing". (So we got it wrong. The loss of knowledge that metal detecting involves is the fault of Archaeology not of selfish people not reporting stuff!

A recent statement by an academic (about artefact hunting abroad): Archaeology is “inherently (neo)colonialist, in denial of its own criminogenic creations and, therefore, eventually and essentially state-corporate crime enhancing”. So the massive loss of cultural knowledge isn’t the fault of non-reporting artefact hunters, the poor innocent puppies, they are simply “the criminogenic creations” of Archaeology. Bloody archaeologists!

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[“When are you going to stop banging on about the same thing week after week, who the hell do you think you are?” writes a detectorist yesterday. To which we’d reply: the day after you all stop stealing the public’s knowledge – who the hell do you think YOU are?]

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

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