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The Government has just issued advice to detectorists on how to behave during Covid. It should be OK as it was written “with advice from the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme on how to report your finds and to protect in situ archaeology.” But it’s not OK:

“If you discover an in situ find (such as a hoard or burial): Cover it up, make a note of its location and let your local Finds Liaison Officer and the landowner and/or occupier know. The Finds Liaison Officer will then be able to advise you when and if an archaeological excavation can be organised. This could take many weeks or months to be arranged … ” .

That’s tone deaf and damaging for the vast majority of hoards are dug up immediately, using the excuse that the FLO couldn’t get there before nighthfall. The idea that most detectorists will wait “many weeks or months” is silly.

So why weren’t the Government told that? Had they been, they surely wouldn’t have given 27,000 detectorists the green flag to go out as if they were as harmless to heritage as elderly ramblers or birdwatchers?

Man being harmless

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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