It’s been put about that we country folk all support foxhunting and the like. Don’t you believe it, a lot of us don’t. Personally I’d rather eat my own turnips than support it. So I was shocked that last Sunday at Tisbury, Wiltshire there was a metal detecting day in support of the Chilmark and Clifton Foot Beagles. Lots of detectorists turned up and many hundreds of pounds were raised.
Hunting hares is illegal these days so they make do with watching rabbits being torn apart (well it’s legal, innit?!) They want the Hunting Act repealed (so they can resume killing hares) and I wonder how much of the metal detecting money will be put towards that noble aim? Not that there’s any point telling the attendees, they obviously don’t mind but that doesn’t mean other people (including the ladies and gentlemen of PAS and the British Museum) might not be affronted by the spectacle of cultural exploiters filling the coffers of wildlife exploiters. PAS was scheduled to attend, thereby legitimising all concerned. I don’t know if they did. I hope they didn’t and that they don’t go next year when the whole sorry, uniquely British spectacle is to be repeated. Uniquely British? Yes, you can travel the world and never come across such a grotesque event.
On the subject of awful, the fragrant Central Searchers are holding their massive annual Summer Rally. today and tomorrow. It ought to be called “The Convenience Rally” because look:
1. Their usual rule applies – if you find something which you alone reckon is worth less than £2,000 you can just pocket it and the farmer can whistle for a share. Very convenient. 2. Dealer John Phippotts will be there to “identify, value and buy any finds, he’s interested in single pieces or whole collections”. Even more convenient. 3. As he says in his adverts, “Confidentiality assured. Discreet and professional service “. Yet more convenient! And all for just £44 a ticket.
Are the Archaeological Establishment looking? How’s the voluntary reporting system going chaps? Really well, with nearly all finds being declared? No need to call for proper regulation? And English Heritage, are you still standing by your stated position: “English Heritage will support the general principle that archaeological material should not be sold for profit” or were you just kidding?