Treasure has been found at Barlaston, Staffs. But Councillor Follows of Stoke-on-Trent City Council didn’t get it about conservation saying “It is a real credit to the finder for treating the discovery so responsibly and reporting it correctly”
But in fact the finder was legally obliged to report it. Who but detectorists get praised for obeying the law? Not you, dear Reader, or me – else we’d need choirs of angels singing our praises full time!) As for him acting responsibly, he didn’t. He flouted reponsible behaviour in multiple ways, dug down more than a meter, and totally destroyed the historical context. Worst of all, he dug it out himself because, diddums, archaeologists hadn’t arrived for an hour and a half. If that’s not irresponsible, selfish and ignorant goodness knows what is.
But let’s not blame the Councillor. The blame lies with PAS for not outreaching to him and the whole country about how detectorists ought to behave.
PS, a small glimmer of hope though: the PAS officer urged the finder to waive some of his fee to help the musum exhibit it. That’s the first time PAS has had the testicular fortitude to say that. Let’s hope they’ll now do it routinely. Let’s also hope the Treasure Committee slashes the reward in token of the detectorist’s behaviour. It’s high time this dreary succession of “I dug it up myself” incidents was stopped in its tracks.