Historic England has just launched a consultation on how lithic scatters should be managed and recorded. But pointedly, (and in line with its other advice documents) they don’t pretend the advice is for detectorists. It’s accepted (though never officially admitted) that a proper standard of conservation behaviour can’t be expected from most detectorists.

Yet PAS has just published a “guide and protocol for recording pottery (and other non-metallic finds) aimed principally at detectorists! (Where is their mandate for that?!) People are entitled to wonder why? Is it a number-boosting stunt, “bring us your non-metallic finds, as many as you can”? It seems so, yet shouldn’t they actually be telling detectorists to leave lithic and pottery scatters exactly where they are?

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How is science served by people being told it can be responsible to cherry pick not just metallic artefacts but also some of, or even the whole of, lithic and pottery scatters?

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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