This week a bloke with a plastic halo and a large finds bag asked if I’d host a detecting rally “for charity”. I pointed out that he wasn’t the first and that every other detecting rally is now pitched to landowners and local communities as “for charity”, clearly to increase the likelihood that people would allow them to be held. But the truth is, although a footling entrance fee goes to the charities, they don’t get a molecule of what is found so it’s actually acquisitiveness dressed as altruism and I told him to clear off with his “for the love of history and charity” claptrap..
Scandalously, neither the Government nor PAS say a word about these charity rallies (and PAS even attends them!) Here’s what they ought to be saying out loud, if they were honest and acting like the rest of the world, something the Journal said back in 2011 ….
“If communities are dead set on allowing the digging up of their local archaeological record to raise charity money (and they shouldn’t be – let them ask PAS or any archaeologist in private what they think) they’d be vastly better off hiring a few detecting machines for their local amateur archaeology society to do it (although their ethics would hopefully preclude it).
That way, 100% of any government Treasure rewards could go to the charity, 100% of all the other finds could go to the charity and 100% of the finds would be willingly and accurately reported to PAS (making the exercise less damaging than any metal detecting rally in history!“