“Hot spots” are places where detectorists find loads of finds. Almost every detectorist seeks them – why wouldn’t they, since finds are what they seek? But by their nature they are archaeological sites so you might wonder how many detectorists give full and frank details about them to PAS or local archaeologists? Maybe PAS could clarify, but we suspect its very few.

If so it’s tragic – for as “Henery Iggins” has just pointed out on Twitter, an unreported hot spot means “an archaeological site being progressively and secretly destroyed without trace. The reluctance to give accurate find spots comes from many detectorists, including NCMD, being paranoid that other detectorists or indeed archaeologists will find out where their continuing exploitation of a “hot spot” is going on.”

Thus it seems the unregulated, grabby nature of metal detecting in Britain means that the very places that shouldn’t be secretly and repeatedly harvested to the point of extinction are the very ones that are being deliberately sought out and will suffer that fate. As Henery Iggins further observed: “It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if PAS, HE, Rescue, BAJR et al told the world “hot spot” means “archaeological site being progessively and secretly being destroyed without trace”. We live in hope.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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