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To clarify yesterday’s article, hundreds of farmers annually give permission for metal detecting having been told it’s “for charity”. Yet the finds never go to the charity, they go to the detectorists. In our 2011 article “Charity Metal Detecting Rallies: A racket exposed” we showed them up for what they are:

  • If communities are dead set on allowing the digging up of their local archaeological record to raise charity money (and they shouldn’t be – let them ask PAS or any archaeologist in private what they think) they’d be vastly better off hiring a few detecting machines for their local amateur archaeology society to do it (although their ethics would hopefully preclude it).
  • That way, 100% of any government Treasure rewards could go to the charity, 100% of all the other finds could go to the charity and 100% of the finds would be willingly and accurately reported to PAS (making the exercise less damaging than any metal detecting rally in history!)
  • Let’s hope it never happens but tell me Dear Reader, if avoidable archaeological damage had to take place would you rather it was on the basis that £2.3 million might go to a church restoration fund or to self-proclaimed history lovers every one of whom had signed a contract ensuring every single last penny went to themselves and not the landowner or charity?
  • The Establishment would never get involved in a stunt by a local community to dig up artefacts to raise money for charity. They’d see it as crass and uncivilised. Yet that’s what they do in the case of charity detecting rallies.


No, it isn’t going to the charity. “Charity rally” didn’t mean that mate.

More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


August 2018

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