A story is going round that it’s only we who are concerned that not all of the Staffordshire hoard was recovered. It’s not and never has been. See the remarks of the proprietor of the local Brownhills Blog brownhillsbob@googlemail.com in 2012:

“Hmm. You’ve just bagged one of the greatest historical finds in decades – possibly ever – and you just wait until the farmer ploughs it again? For the cost of ploughing, you’d plough it repeatedly, surely? Comments below suggest plenty of willing detectorists to help out? Peculiar. Nighthawking is a real problem, BTW. I’d be quite concerned were our heritage to be purloined into private ownership and never see the light of day due to a lack of thorough searching. Cheers Bob”

And a response to him by “Warren” (probably a detectorist): “I popped over to have a chat with the detectorists, and they were not very talkative. All the one guy said to me was that they were doing a survey for English Heritage. i Noticed their detectors were of many different makes and abilities. There is no way that land is sterile yet, the latest detectors will give more depth and better results. i noticed a couple of the guys had XLT, which is a good machine but not up to the depth and recovery rates of the new machines.”

So we remain convinced that a 2009 excavation measuring 10 x 14 yards, a 2010 follow up excavation comprising 110 yards of trenches and pits and a 2012 survey using patently inadequate metal detectors will NOT have revealed all that is there. It’s not good enough, as better equipped nighthawks have known very well ever since. We shall resist suggestions we’re hysterical or ill-informed. In 2013 we wrote this, which shows who is well-informed and who isn’t:

“It has now been suggested that in 2009 archaeologists “used top-quality equipment to go over the area, which they use to find underground stuff in Afghanistan”. However, what both US and British forces were using at the time (and subsequently) were Ebex 420H machines which have little depth capability (mines are mostly at shallow depth) and are not recommended by the manufactures for use in iron contaminated soil or for finding very small targets (mines not being small targets).

So we remain of the very firm opinion that the subsequent launch of two machines with vastly superior depth capabilities and another with a much greater capacity to operate in iron contaminated soils signals a sky high probability that elements of the Staffordshire Hoard(s) have been stolen by nighthawks using equipment that is entirely superior to that which was employed in the original archaeological search.” [And “Warren” confirms the detectors used in 2012 were also inadequate.]


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting