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The Portable Antiquities Scheme et al have outstripped themselves. For 15 years we’ve begged them to tell farmers the plain truth about the damage metal detecting does. But no…..

When they drafted a letter to landowners detectorists threatened to go on “reporting strike” because they hadn’t been consulted about what it said! When the first metal detecting guide was produced PAS et al made the ludicrous mistake (rectified recently) of allowing detectorists to help – and surprise, surprise the text was virtually castrated and made out metal detecting was a boon to farmers and the nation.

Well, it ain’t. (And if you ask a PAS employee in private in the pub they’ll agree). In the last 15 years up to 9 million recordable artefacts may not have been reported and been lost to science.

So what has been the response? PAS et al are producing a leaflet for landowners called “Metal detecting on your land – know your rights”. That’s fine, albeit 20 years too late, but heaven help Britain they’re doing it in conjunction with The Searcher Magazine! Take a look at that magazine. For conservationists, scientists or archaeologists it ain’t. So you can bet for certain what that leaflet won’t say – and what it will! Mr Landowner, throw open your gates! If a detectorist says he’ll behave according to this booklet, he will! Look at the treasure on the front, yum yum! Metal detecting and metal detectorists are marvellous and do no cultural damage whatsoever.


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PS:

Your rights as a landowner are clear and can be fully expressed in 13 words: “all archaeological finds are YOURS (except the ones classed as Treasure, which aren’t.“) If a quango issues a whole leaflet saying any more than those 13 words you can be sure it is promoting the interests of metal detectorists (who have zero rights to any artefacts ever found, without exception), not yours.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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