As everyone knows, selectivity is akin to lying. What then should be made of the succession of recent stories praising detectorists for having donated their finds to museums when the reality is that more than 90% of them don’t do so?

Instead they are paid handsomely. That’s the law, so they’re entitled, but you might think there’s a distinction between legal entitlement and doing what’s right, and it would do no harm at all for the difference to be made clear, not obscured. Here’s a very typical recent example (from Ely Museum) of it being obscured …..

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The public had just paid for its own property. Why present it as a triumph, when it was avoidable? Much better if the reality was clearly expressed:

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When did the Truth ever hurt? Might not the number of selfless “donors” be thereby increased from the current very low level?  And might not claims such as “only in it for the history” and “citizen archaeologists” start to look less like calculated fibs designed to mislead landowners and taxpayers?

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