“It’s OK officer, I have my own version of the Highway Code. It says I’ve done nothing wrong!”

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Ludicrous, yes. But did you know tens of thousands of detectorists show farmers the NCMD code not the official one? Under it, they aren’t required to report recordable items to PAS (and the NCMD has refused to endorse the proper one.)

Every time PAS or other archaeological bodies praise “responsible detecting”, landowners assume that’s what must be happening in their fields as they’ve been shown “the code”. But no, they’re nearly always shown the detectorists’ own self-written code, which is totally different and inferior to the official one.

You might ask why!

If only PAS would simply tell farmers to beware of fake codes – certificates of false valour – they’d do more good for conservation and the fight against knowledge theft than anything they’ve ever done before.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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