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Professor David Gill is withering about the recent PAS-organised attack on Dr Sam Hardy’s conclusions (that “laissez faire” doesn’t work and that more than 90% of British recordable detecting finds may be being lost to science) : “Their unconvincing paper made an attempt to dismiss Hardy’s careful research …Deckers et al. will need to revise their confrontational response.” Who can disagree? Those receiving public funds have no right to deliberately downplay the degree of knowledge theft by an unregulated “hobby”.  Here’s just one example:

“It is true that a number of finds go unreported, even under a permissive legislation and with a recording scheme in place. However, his unreported information is not necessarily lost; often [artefact hunters] keep private records of their finds and finds locations […], many […] are open to collaboration and willingly give access to this information when asked by professional archaeologists, even if they ave not reported on their own initiative….”

So the message is that public should relax about the massive knowledge loss caused through 90%+ non-reporting because those who don’t report in the first place are the sort of people who “often” reveal their finds years later. Logic and human nature suggest otherwise. Just how many instances of “often” exist – and if it’s a miniscule proportion of the over 20,000 non-reporters per year Dr Hardy proposes we mere amateurs are entitled to ask why say it and what is the agenda here?

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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