As discussions continue on Treasure Act reforms there’ll be a bit of chat about what progress PAS has made. But that. sadly, is all it is, chat. See this from Farmer Brown, six years ago: has anything truly changed since then? Of course not. If there’s going to be a change it had better be radical.


Dear Fellow Landowners,

It was a rumbustious night down at the Black Sheep and Wellies on Friday. I and my farming pals celebrated that a detectorist has just written on his blog: “I will also be letting the farmer know that all items found excluding treasure items belong to him, if there is anything that he does not [want] after the recording of the finds I will let him know I am interested in acquiring them”.

He might have added “once he’s obtained independent advice on them“ but still it’s a step forward and I’ll give a bag of mangel-wurzels to any detectorist, archaeologist, lawyer, philosopher or priest that can show why ALL artefact hunters shouldn’t be doing it too. Anything else, like getting the farmer to sign away 50% of his property while still undiscovered (which most detectorists and the whole Archaeological Establishment encourage landowners to do) is plain wrong. Imagine finding your granny had let someone clear her loft when she was out in exchange for 50% of what they said they’d found – and that the Government had urged her to do it!

He’ll get a ton of criticism for what he’s doing but on the other hand he can console himself with the fact he’ll be treating farmers in a fairer and more honorable and respectful way than many thousands of his colleagues as well as English Heritage, the British Museum, the Portable Antiquities Scheme and many others. (Heaven help their grannies!)


Silas Brown,
Grunter’s Hollow Farm,


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting