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We’ve had a message from Farmer Brown’s mum…..

Dear Heritage Journal,
I hear there’s talk of reforming metal detecting. Maybe a word from the victims – the public – ought to be borne in mind during the high fallutin, discussions, so here’s what I wrote some years ago:


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“The trouble with my lad Silas is he’s too trusting. Last night some metal detectorists came, asking to hold a “charity rally” on our top field. Why? says Silas. We’re history lovers they says. And saints? says Silas. Well, yes, that too they says, Well I wondered about that as when you see pictures of saints they never have pockets but this lot had loads. So I looked on Silas’s computer to see if there was a problem with them and now I know, the fawning, rough-hewn poverty-toothed grabmoles.

There’s a “charity rally” due at Cranfield, Bedfordshire. “In aid of Farmers Contribution To Homeless Children” it says. But it doesn’t say how much. Or if the event will comply with the official guidelines. Or if PAS will be there to record stuff. But it DOES say “dealers” will attend. That’s so people can convert finds into wonga in moments – and not for the benefit of the farmer or homeless children. Does that sound like history loving? Or charity? Or more like dissembling, brazen-faced, hedge-born scuts? I know what I think and what The Archaeological Establishment thinks. It’s pretty obvious to anyone that thinks about it, even Silas: IF: 1.) the finances aren’t clear, 2.) it’s not guideline-compliant, 3.) PAS aren’t there or 4.) dealers are there, it’s not a history event or a charity one, it’s a grabfest.

Oh, and if the detectorists at your door are in any detecting club that isn’t the one in Crawley, West Sussex tell them to go to hell. Only that club makes reporting finds compulsory – “Any person found not declaring finds to the Finds Liaison Officer will be expelled immediately“. They only have 30 members which means only 3 in every thousand detectorists are in clubs that insist on decent, history-loving behaviour. (Ask the other 9970 WHY and don’t let them wriggle! And if any club wants to claim THEY are “responsible” tell them it’s not hard, they can adopt the Crawley rule in moments and then you’ll believe them).

Anyway, if you don’t want to take the word of a Salopian centenarian about all this, show this letter to any archaeologist and ask if they agree with every word. They will. But don’t let them mumble. And remember: do NOT let any club onto your land that doesn’t have the established, written club rule: “Any person found not declaring finds to the Finds Liaison Officer will be expelled immediately” All archaeologists think that’s sound advice so please follow it.

Your friend,

Tryphena Brown


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