An interesting programme condemning Nighthawking on BBC Inside Out West last night. At least, it was meant to be about condemning just nighthawking but it had the effect of condemning all “detecting without reporting” (which PAS has acknowledged is most of it) thanks to this great quote (6 mins 15 secs) from Graham, a Gloucestershire farmer with scheduled Roman archaeology on his land, being interviewed by Mark Horton:
“I’m not so worried about the value of what they’re stealing, I’m more concerned that they’re raping this ground. This is Roman history. Once they’ve dug it up it can never be replaced.”
Bravo. And here’s the crux: Graham’s site is scheduled but Britain has thousands of other Roman sites which aren’t and those are the target of choice for most detectorists. This weekend literally thousands of people will be out detecting Roman sites, perfectly legally. Mostly they won’t be reporting what they find. In other words, as Graham puts it so inarguably, they’ll be “raping the ground”.