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Remember the Polish detecting rally? Last week Britain was taken for an even bigger ride, this time by XP, the French detector manufacturers. They held a 1,000 person “European Gold Rally” in the lush, archaeologically rich Cotswold landscape near Burford.

Detectorists from many countries were invited and XP took the liberty of providing a link on their posters to the Historic England  database showing “History in a 5 km radius of our search area”. Also helpful was the attendance of several FLOs  and 3 coin dealers. Those so inclined could dig up, get valued and sell finds in minutes, even things brought from elsewhere (and who’ll dare pretend that facility isn’t known about and appreciated Europe-wide?)

So a uniquely British spectacle. Hundreds of foreign detectorists (300 French, 30 German, many more from Italy, Ireland, Austria, Portugal, Holland, USA, Belgium and Australia) detecting in the Cotswolds instead of at home. Why? Because they know that Britain is uniquely careless about protecting its buried heritage, that’s why!

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A French promotional video for the event. The Cotswold scenery is beguiling, the music is lyrical and the commentary begins “Ah, L’Angleterre….” Quite right. So why not just visit, like normal respectful people?

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