This week a number of pro-detecting academics have presented a pre-determined view of detecting. We think numbers of detectorists versus the number who report all their finds is all that matters, nothing else, so Dr Sam Hardy’s conclusions can’t be wished away or spun. It’s the numbers, stupid.

Anyway, for now, perhaps we can demolish one of the planks of pro-detecting, the claim that nighthawks have no connection to “ordinary detectorists”. Logic, not spin, says otherwise. From gathering information at club nights to laundering finds by reporting them to PAS, it’s impossible to be an efficient wrongdoer without being “respectable” much of the time. Plus, as we said back in 2010:.

“It actually boils down to a spatial distinction. A metal detectorist that steps through a hedge becomes a nighthawk and is the devil’s companion according to all other detectorists and PAS – and a nighthawk that hops back over a fence becomes a metal detectorist, and a saint according to all other detectorists and PAS. Like photons, these human versions of the wave-particle duality can flit from one state of reality to the other, depending upon where they are at any particular moment – which no-one can ever know for certain, on account of how dark it gets at night in this country.

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Here’s how it works….

1. Ed Vaizey, Britain’s most respectable detectorist.
2. Ed if he stepped through the nearest hedge.
3. Ed Vaizey, Britain’s most respectable detectorist, next day.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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