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By Nigel Swift

PAS and tens of thousands of detectorists tell farmers and the public that metal detecting is mostly beneficial. Clearly that implies that well ordered and aspirational detecting should be called “beneficial metal detecting”. But it can’t be, for such a phrase would  stick in the craw of the authorities since random removal just isn’t beneficial. Hence they’ve come up with a different term: “responsible metal detecting”. That has 8,300  Google hits and an official Code of Conduct and is defined as doing it in a recommended responsible fashion. Not a beneficial fashion, NB.

I think it’s high time the tricksy linguistic cover provided by the term “responsible metal detecting” was replaced by a more accurate and aspirational one both as a guide to proper behaviour by detectorists and as an aid to better decision making by farmers. I think the proper term for gold standard, acceptable detecting is “sustainable metal detecting”. That says it all. I support sustainable metal detecting one hundred percent.

Bizarrely “sustainable metal detecting” gets you zero Google hits but we’ll now try to change that radically. By all that’s fair and honest and “responsible”, detectorists and PAS should adopt it too. If they don’t it will speak volumes.

So let’s see ….

After just 24 hours “sustainable metal detecting” now gets you 144 Google hits – 143 from us, 1 from Paul Barford (who originated the term with reference to Beach detecting) and NONE from PAS or metal detectorists. We’ll let you know how the phrase progresses and who uses it…… Updates: Now, after 48 hours it gives you 298 Google hits and after 3 days you get 517 Google hits.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


October 2018

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