[For more on Dr Hardy’s conclusions put “Sam Hardy” in our search box].

As Paul Barford has highlighted, a US antiquities dealer has confessed he avoids “unwarranted attention” from officialdom by posting out coins in boxes marked as “numismatic tokens“. He says you can buy and sell anything if you avoid being transparent about what you’re actually doing. Sadly, he’s right. Misdescription is power – as any scruffy drug dealer outside a school knows. Packaging drugs as sweets avoids “unwarranted attention” from officialdom!

Misdescription certainly underlies most British metal detecting. “I’m an amateur archaeologist“, “I’m only in it for the history” and “I found it at [insert false location]” to name just three. It’s high time truth ruled. It would if PAS and The Establishment said in public what they say in private: not reporting finds makes you a knowledge thief, morally no better than a nighthawk.

Instead, we have what Paul Barford calls “the insidious creep of acceptance of knowledge theft“. Rather than condemning non-recording, and admitting to the Government and Parliament that non-recording is absolutely rife, PAS has embraced, liaised, engaged, backslapped, bootlicked and flattered those who do it in the hope that will work. After 20 years it hasn’t, as Dr Sam Hardy has shown.

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UNESCO condemns the theft of 1,000 objects from Egyptian museum but not the millions of unreported artefacts removed from Britain’s fields. (Why? Because the British don’t tell them).

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