PAS is holding a Conference tomorrow titled “Can detectorists be archaeologists?” Why ask a question the answer to which is obvious: Of course they can, providing they do it for public benefit and in accordance with archaeological methods and morals and they don’t pocket the stuff for themselves!”
Set against the selfless benefits which thousands of amateur archaeologists quietly deliver in exactly that way, cheerleading for artefact hunting looks bizarre, to put it mildly. PAS should have saved their money and breath, cancelled the conference and announced a replacement one titled: “Hurrah for amateur archaeologists!”
The Irish President has just said that teaching philosophy in schools, and promoting it in society, is urgently needed to enable citizens “to discriminate between truthful language and illusory rhetoric”. Nowhere is that more true than in the area of British portable antiquities.