Yet another Minister, Michael Ellis, as inadequately briefed as his Culture Secretary predecessors, has just voiced another egregious and damaging falsehood about metal detecting. Referring to a DCMS study which showed that 1.5% of adults in England had taken part in metal detecting in the last year, he said:

“This increase in detecting has contributed hugely to the extension of our knowledge of our past.”

Think about it! Out of 675,000 adults who said they’d metal detected last year, only 241 of them (one in 2,800) had a find declared as Treasure and the other 99.96% drew a blank. You’d have to be pretty gullible to believe that, and that metal detecting doesn’t involve wholesale net loss of cultural knowledge, but Mr Ellis wants you to, for reasons entirely unfathomable except by those who briefed him.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting