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Next month the Society of Antiquities will hold a conference about the Staffordshire Hoard. For us, the most significant part will be the last session, which asks “where should Hoard studies go from here?” It’s no secret where we have long thought hoard studies should go next – up the A5 and turn left at Hammerwich and slowly walk around Mr Fred Johnson’s field with a Minelab 5000 to see if there’s more of the hoard still to be found.

As is well known, we’re confident the machines used in the official searches were nowhere near the capability of the ones available to every night time scruff who fancies a bit of searching. But here’s something new: we’ve just found out we’re not alone, here’s the testament of Warren, an eye witness detectorist, about the final official search in December 2012:

“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 now it’s not just us. We do wonder whether CBA, English Heritage, APPAG, and Rescue will continue to look the other way about this …. ?

..

PS: for the avoidance of doubt, the above sets of footprints lead not from a gate but from a fence surmounted by barbed wire and terminate in two excavated holes, so there’s no way they were made by the farmer, bird watchers, dog walkers or Historic England inspectors.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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