Not all of them call us ignorant and not all are purveyors of PAS’s 20 year old “we’ve converted most detectorists” mantra. Adam Daubney has published an overview of his remarks at last year’s PAS conference and there’s much with which we agree, especially his coy “There are many who would like to see greater regulation of metal detecting”.

He asks “If the law is unlikely to change, how do we ensure that we share knowledge in way that changes the culture to one in which non-reporting is seen as unethical?” But it seems reform of the Treasure Act IS imminent and since Rescue has made its position clear (PAS has been unable to sufficiently advocate for archaeological methodologies and rigorous survey practices…” ) it looks like culture change is finally likely. Certainly the 20 year “we’ve converted most  detectorists” mantra is no longer going to be Britain’s conservation stance.

Perhaps PAS’s best contribution to reform would be to acknowledge that most detectorists have not been converted and that therefore knowledge theft is still the norm – in public instead of in private? “Lasting cultural change will come when the general public understands the importance and ethics of a pro-recording culture” says Adam. Indeed it will, and it will come all the quicker if PAS says so loudly and clearly to farmers, taxpayers and the Government. It is PAS which must change, not just the law and detectorists.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting