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It would be crass for finds made in work time and the law precludes it. But what about in their spare time, as happened recently? At present, yes, they’re eligible. But should they be detecting at all? We think not, as ethics aren’t portable. PAS clearly agrees, which is presumably why you’ll have never, ever seen an image of a Finds Liaison Officers detecting! Only ex Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey didn’t get that memo!

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Comfortingly, a poll on the ethics of the matter on the BAJR Facebook group reveals that of 464 archaeologists only 6% thought an archaeologist getting a reward for spare time detecting was OK, and then only if he acted like an archaeologist. That sounds fine at first, but we do wonder how you can act like an archaeologist if, as happened in this case, the archaeologist was part of a detecting rally?

PAS tells landowners that most archaeologists (all?) think rallies are damaging and for our part we wonder how the blue blazes random digging and artefact selectivity in anticipation of personal wonga has anything to do with scientific endeavour worthy of respect and reward?

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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A detectorist has claimed those who want detecting regulated are incapable of seeing they’re wrong. We confess it’s true: we think people shouldn’t steal heritage knowledge by not reporting finds and we’re certain we’re right.

But he’s wrong about one thing: we wouldn’t prefer to live under a dictatorship than democracy“. However, anarchy isn’t democracy and there’s overwhelming evidence that unrestricted mob rule is massively harming our nation’s heritage!

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anarchy
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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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Actually, we don’t know ourselves!

It’s an oil painting by Alphonse Marx (1853-1918) owned by our Chairman, and he’d like to know!

(Possibly Saint-Jeures Menhir?)

It’s all gone quiet, but the fate of Stonehenge is currently being discussed (or confirmed) in private, pending a final decision (or confirmation) by “I see many ships” Chris Grayling.

Here is JMW Turner’s 207 year old view of the stones, the very one English Heritage, Historic England and the hapless National Trust have urged him should be hidden from the travelling public forever, from everyone.

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Dear Colleagues,

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Heritage poison? Administered by a paid heritage carer? Surely not? And yet …

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First, in its Guidance for Landowners, PAS says some detectorists (almost all, actually) follow the National Council for Metal Detecting or Federation of Independent Detectorists codes. But why mention that? Those codes allow non-reporting, in blatant defiance and avoidance of the proper one! How is mentioning and legitimising codes that give farmers false reassurance about how detectorists will act NOT administering heritage poison?

Second, they freely admit “most archaeologists think metal-detecting rallies can be damaging to archaeology yet they dedicate numerous pages to details of many hundreds of rallies over the past 14 years, thus implying they’re acceptable instead of some of the World’s most heritage-poisonous events!


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So, friends, if PAS won’t do the right thing by either you or the public or the resource for fear of upsetting detectorists, YOU CAN. Tell anyone waving a “code of fake conduct” to go away – and tell anyone wanting to hold a rally (including “for charity”) they can’t, because PAS disapproves but is frit to say so!

Cheers

Silas Brown
Grunters Hollow
Worfield
Salop

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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The nasty (and let’s leave him nameless) detectorist and website owner who wanted to make all detectorists aware of our Chairman’s photograph and home address for obvious reasons ….


“I have photos of him …. I’m anxious to let anybody who wants them, have them…. if he is frightened for his own safety he should have considered his actions …. Throw the shyster to the dogs”


and only desisted after being spoken to by the police, has now turned his bile onto Britain’s two main archaeological charities – The Council for British Archaeology and Rescue, The British Archaeological Trust, threatening them with all sorts of bad stuff for maintaining that metal detecting is a net problem for Britain….

  • “a charity campaigning to restrict the rights of others might very well find itself in very hot water.”
  • “Were a complaint to be made to the Charity Commissioners and subsequently upheld that “… detriment or harm…” was or could be caused to that particular pastime and/or its devotees, the offending charity may well find itself in serious trouble.”
  • “Penalties are harsh and can lead to forfeiture of charitable status and associated fiscal benefits.”

He then lists the contact details of various charity regulators in the hope no doubt that his followers, not him, will act accordingly (see the pattern?). Somehow, we doubt they will. Or, if they do, that the Charity Commissioners won’t find it hilarious.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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Paul Barford highlights a report saying this is now one of the most nature-deprived countries in the world. “Nature is falling silent, and the impact on our environment, culture, health and happiness should not be underestimated.” He adds (of course!) that there is parallel heritage impoverishment due to metal detecting. For our part we’d add a further regret – the damage to the settings of many ancient sites through encroachment or unimaginative and intensive land use. Here’s our 2011 account of our visit to Hetty Peglar’s Tump …..

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“Context and “setting” are almost everything in the world of megaliths but unfortunately no-one told the twenty first century.  Although Hetty Pegler’s Tump (or Uley Long Barrow) was placed with great care at the summit of the Cotswold scarp, its magnificent 40 mile views to the West across the Severn Estuary to the Brecon Beacons are entirely lost due to a narrow belt of trees. At the same time the opposite outlook, that could well have once been bursting with variety and life, is today victim to soulless monoculture, 30 acres of barley so chemically tweaked that hardly a weed or bug is allowed.”

The view to the East ….

And to the West ….

And to the West, but for the belt of trees ….

 

 

 

 

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