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This week Richard Lincoln (a.k.a. “Sheddy”), proprietor of The European Federation Of Independent Detectorists, was on Radio 2 debating metal detecting with archaeologist Professor Mark Horton (a.k.a. Mark). They both condemned nighthawking, obviously, but Professor Horton is less than certain that metal detecting in general is spiffing whereas Mr Lincoln said many archaeologists are “closed minded” and detectorists have every right and every virtue. However he must have been wearing his radio hat for this is what he wrote on his forum in 2013:

On Feb 5 (in a discussion about whether detectorists lose access to land with archaeological significance) he wrote: “it’s only fair to say that I am one who hasn’t lost any permissions …. but then again I don’t record! Then on Feb 7 he addressed his colleagues saying: “If you want to show the world that your a great guy by making the right noises about recording, you go for it. I’ll carry on calling things as I see them and for the most part, detectorists are hypocrites. They spew forth the mantra of showing the farmers everything they find, but they are selective in what they show the farmer. they spew forth the mantra of recording, but they are selective in what they record. if you think that they way forward is to promote hypocrisy then you have my pity.”

Mr Lincoln has presided over more than 200,000 contributions to his forum so he’s well placed to know what goes on – and he thinks most detectorists steal knowledge from the community and money from the landowners!  How will detectorists react? Will they hurl invective against him like they do against any critic of laissez faire artefact hunting? Will they say he is a liar, an exaggerator, ill-informed, a publicity seeker, an elitist, a fascist, a communist, psychologically damaged, trying to get detecting banned? We can assume so.

Not that their reaction matters any more. The “listening and detente” that were the buzzwords for many years have been found wanting and have been dropped. What matters now is that the powers that be are coming to the profound realisation, drip by drip, that the happy-happy propaganda of success churned out for so many years by PAS is no longer convincing. “Old PAS” finally signed off by revealing they thought that 70% of recordable finds don’t come to them, which fits with what we and Paul Barford and now Sheddy have suggested. Exposing what Sheddy really thinks when he’s not on the radio won’t bring Britain into line with the rest of the world, but it’s a small positive step towards it.

Update, next day…. Some simple actions for the short term.

Last night yet another metal detecting thread (on a different, massive forum) was hastily deleted because “some forum members were not exactly following metal detecting code of conduct etiquette“and “it didn’t make good reading” Fair enough, but why not leave it in place and explain for the benefit of all members the right way to conduct themselves? Well we know don’t we? It’s Sheddyism. Think one thing and let the public see something else.

But it’s worse than that. Member Allecticus explained what had happened in the crudest of terms: “I can tell you what happened. A couple of the do gooding ‘don’t dig too deep’, ‘it’s below the plough’ blah blah, fecking blah blah fecking two-bob depth brigade turned up!…. fecking blah, blah planks! Just why the post got pulled because of them jealous cnuts…. I’ve no idea.” In addition, his strapline is “Is that below plough depth? Who gives a ‘flying’… hoik it out!!

Surely no-one, whether responsible detectorist, archaeologist or ordinary member of the public thinks people who talk and act like that should be on the fields, even in ultra-liberal Britain? It may be some time before Britain gets round to regulating the activity but in the short term can’t detectorists exclude destructive oiks from their forums, clubs and rallies and can’t New PAS put an article in the farming press warning farmers to make sure anyone on their fields is respectable and responsible?

PS…. still more Sheddyism today of a blatant nature. “Omegamike” makes the required noises:”We all know, well, sensible detectorists, once such a find is obvious it’s time to bring in the FLO and the Archies and leave everything well alone”. And Omega Mike’s strapline??? …..

If in doubt…… DIG IT!

PPS…. Incidentally, the obnoxious posting by Allectus quoted above has now disappeared – but rather than slinging him off the forum in disgrace they’ve allowed this equally unacceptable posting from him to remain: “Grow a pair, put the thread back up & don’t let the ‘don’t dig too deep’ planks win! To those who disagree with digging deep there’s always………. knitting”. What can one say? It’s all legal, innit?

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