by Nigel Swift
There’s a big shadow over Britain’s portable antiquities policy. It’s that PAS’s data can’t be authenticated. So it’s right to speculate on the level of false reporting. Many nighthawks lie about findspots, for obvious reasons, but PAS data is likely to be further corrupted due to what I term the “share gap”. See below, two very different documents dealing with the sharing of finds:
Detectorists can insert whatever figures they wish in the first. Typically they offer a 50% share of items worth over £300, whereas under the second they don’t have to share at all if items are worth below £2,000. That’s the share gap. Clearly, if you find a £1,900 item at one farm you can “save” £800 by “finding” it at a Central Searchers’ rally down the road and have it laundered and enhanced to boot by getting it authenticated by PAS. Common sense suggests masses of findspots get falsified that way but the matter is never mentioned by PAS. We’re all losing out in secret due to the survival instinct of a small quango.