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Not your laws (they protect archaeology far better than ours). The problem is your words. Both your academics and media repeatedly call detectorists “archéologues amateurs” which misleads landowners and insults real amateur archaeologists – who are in it for knowledge not personal gain. Why doesn’t France make it clear that people who pocket finds are not archaeologists?

In contrast such confusion no longer exists in Britain and pardon us for being proud of the fact but the change happened in 2012 when we shamed the BBC into desisting from calling detectorists amateur archaeologists. Almost immediately everyone in Britain including the BBC and PAS stopped saying it and substituted the coy phrase “metal detecting enthusiasts” (a Google search of that now gets you 16,200 hits where previously it got you none!)

We hope our French counterparts,  Halte au pillage du Patrimoine Archéologique et Historique, will try to bring about a similar change in France.
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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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