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Two organisations and four foreign universities, all linked through a single project, have published a paper attacking Dr Sam Hardy‘s recent study. Three things they say might make you suspicious there’s an agenda involved:

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  • First they say “it is wrong to simply conflate hobby detectorists [sic] with commercial entrepreneurs as Hardy does” But if that’s true how come that on every detecting forum the dominant concern is “what’s it worth”?
  • Second they say they use terms like amateur detectorist to distinguish the hobby “from illicit detector users driven primarily by financial motivations.” But nighthawks ARE ordinary detectorists most of their time and couldn’t operate if they weren’t, as we’ve pointed out ad nauseam.
  • Third they state that Hardy is “fundamentally wrong” to say detecting is far more destructive than archaeological excavation. But anyone who takes the briefest look at an archaeological dig and then at a mass detecting rally will see it’s scientific chalk versus destructive cheese.

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Quite a set of claims: detectorists shouldn’t be accused of being interested in money, shouldn’t ever be thought of as part time nighthawks and are less destructive than archaeologists! The phrase “leaning over backwards” springs to mind and a couple of questions arise: why? and who organised it?As to why we can’t say for sure but could it be because after 20 years of funded “outreach” by PAS Hardy is saying only 4% of recordable objects may be being reported – and that someone doesn’t want that message echoing along the corridors of power?

As for “who?” we have no idea!

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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