Remember how British detectorists going to France were advised by their official to lie through their teeth? (“It’s best to specify you are searching for modern losses“.) Well something similar is about to happen in Northern Ireland.

On May 14 Minelab will once again be staging their annual marketing exercise – International Metal Detecting Day. It involves them sponsoring detecting rallies (and selling their wares) worldwide. There are several in the British Isles and the one in Herefordshire is the world’s worst, as it’s legal here to dig what you can and take it home or sell it and as a bonus you can get your finds valued but not by a Finds Liaison Officer but an obliging dealer who’ll be on site. Lovely! Citizen Archaeology at its British best!

The event in Northern Ireland (at Delamont Country Park of all places) is different as over there it’s illegal to search for archaeological artefacts without a license so it’s being advertised as a search just for “tokens”. If you want to believe that’s all they’ll be looking for and all they’ll find and all they’ll quietly take home then that’s up to you. Hence the mention of Elvis. In our view though it’s just a couple of tricky words away from an organised crime and the authorities should examine it closely.

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