Who in their right mind wants egg collecting back? And yet the Head of the Portable Antiquities Scheme has recently given a conference talk titled “Making Artefact Hunting Great (Again)?”

Damage-wise, egg collecting is far preferable (the parent birds may lay some more eggs) whereas in artefact hunting what’s gone stays gone – and if the finds aren’t reported (which PAS admits the great majority of detectorists fail to do) the knowledge is gone too

Dr Lewis justified his theme by calling for detectorists to be more “archaeologically minded”. However, the terrible trouble with that is that PAS has been advocating exactly that for 20 years and still most detectorists don’t report most of their finds.

It’s high time the PAS stopped pretending outreach will ever get through to the majority of detectorists and admitted that the only solution is compulsion. Sainsbury’s don’t employ an army of shoplifting advisory officers so why should Britain employ an army of Knowledge Theft Advisors?


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting