Some British detectorist super brains have been debating how many rallies or club digs you can have on a field before it becomes not worth detecting. What they mean is how long before the archaeological record has been destroyed. The answer seems to vary between a few times and many but they all understand  it will happen sooner or later and not one of them ever, ever expresses remorse. That’s why we think they and their hobby are a disgrace.

Coincidentally, another complainant, Paul Barford, highlighted yesterday how whole sites abroad have been completely destroyed by collecting activity. Such things are made far worse of course when archaeologists act as cheerleaders and defenders of the process or even encourage it by pretending it isn’t happening, hence the title of his article: “Archaeologists Getting Comfy with Site Eroders“….

Of course, that’s abroad, it’s not like that in Britain, one of the countries that invented conservation. We wish! Britain has invested millions in the Portable Antiquities Scheme, something which records a tiny proportion of detecting finds and keeps quiet about the fact that in so doing it provides a cover for the non-reporting of the great majority of finds. That, in itself, would be bad enough. But why oh why must PAS so rarely express opposition to the depletion of sites by those who mine the same fields over and over again? Why doesn’t the Code of Practice forbid it? Why aren’t they asking the Government to say “only one rally per field, ever?” Why are PAS archaeologists invariably Getting Comfy with Site Eroders“….

And why, for heavens sake, do they backslap at mass, repeated rallies and constantly smile at detectorists as if they approve of what they’re doing when they don’t?


Update 5 March 2018

Here we had an image of a FLO smiling at a Finds Day. Well not a FLO smiling, we blanked out the FLO and left only the smile! We were told to take it down to avoid further action. We don’t think there were grounds for action or for complying but we have removed it for a quiet life. Also because it serves to illustrate something we’ve long experienced and pointed out about PAS: people who exploit archaeology for their own benefit always get broad smiles and praise. People who strive for 20 years for conservation get treated with hostility.

Another Update

We’ve had a further claim from the FLO that we were in the wrong. We prefer Paul Barford’s statement: “Now, personally I take the view also that the photo was there for the purpose of valid comment and is in the public domain here (note, no credits are given to the photographer on the Colchester and Ipswich Museums website, nor indeed in the records they incorporate into the PASD).”

PLUS we altered the image so radically there’s zero chance we’ve done anything wrong.

But that’s not now our main beef. It’s this from the FLO: “As someone who I know is keen to mitigate the ‘theft’ of the historic environment, it would be a shame to show any sort of hypocrisy when it comes to theft of another’s digital content after all.” So we’re hypocrites and thieves, we who have been fighting daily against the widespread knowledge theft on the part of PAS’s “partners” since before most FLOs left school!    Amazing.