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PAS has stopped accepting finds for recording. No-one can blame them as many detectorists haven’t been social distancing. They’ll resume recording sometime “in the future” which signals a bleak outlook for recording: most finds don’t get reported already, even fewer will be after a year.

So Britain is back to where it was more than 20+ years ago with an army of artefact hunters combing the fields and all the knowledge being destroyed. Except that now Britain’s laissez-faire policies have allowed the army to grow three times larger.

Of course, if detectorists were amateur archaeologists or of average intelligence, they’d desist while the knowledge can’t be promptly shared with professionals. But they aren’t: asked on the largest detecting forum if the virus would curtail their activities scores of them have just said no and that they’ll go out detecting far more!

Above are the 27,000 people who will now be mining our resource at an increased pace, using their extra leisure, in an entirely unmitigated fashion. Imagine what will happen when these greedy people find new sites or a grave or a hoard! Will they call a FLO (unlikely) and should the FLO put their families in danger by going? Scandalous doesn’t begin to cover it, it’s legal unmitigated knowledge looting and it should be prohibited while PAS is inoperative – let PAS, Rescue, CBA, BAJR, ALGAO, EH, HE, APPAG et al publicly say so if they agree, which they surely do. And straight away please. They should ask the Government to instruct detectorists to stay at home.

More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


March 2020

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