Good news! I’ve been invited to speak at the PAS Conference on Monday. In my dreams. I’ve already written my speech. Here it is:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
What a fantastic conference this has been! I’m sure we’ll all leave with two enduring memories: first, the delight on the faces of the PAS staff that a lot of their functions are to be taken over by an army of skilled volunteers (or metal detectorists as the Scheme’s founders called them) and second, all the success stories we’ve heard about how well the Scheme has done and how responsible everyone has become. It seems that British artefact hunters and British archaeologists are now largely interchangeable in both competence and motivation. It makes me so, so proud to be British and a taxpayer.
On the other hand …..
Why, when so many hoards are dug up with the haste and finesse of a starving pig, did no-one at this conference propose a solution?
Why, when 99.5% of detecting clubs don’t make reporting recordable finds mandatory, did no-one at this conference propose a solution?
Why, when some rallies have outrageous rules facilitating the ripping off of us farmers, did no-one at this conference propose a solution?
Why, when PAS confirms that vastly more finds are not declared than are, did no-one at this conference propose a solution?
and why, since all the above is the bitter harvest of 18 years of laissez faire, did no-one at this conference propose regulation as the solution?