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Weekend Wanderers have canceled today’s metal detecting rally in Hampshire because it’s easily accessible from London (Coronavirus Zone 2,  High Risk). The organisers say they cannot go ahead with digs “until we feel comfortable that we are doing the right thing.

By contrast, Let’s Go Digging and “Sovereign Metal Detecting Rallys” (sic) are holding digs today in Gloucestershire and Shropshire respectively, accepting people from the equally accessible areas of Birmingham and the West Midlands (also in Zone 2, High Risk).

Behaviours under the British “voluntary” system vary wildly, which is why it was always wrong-headed and against the national interest. Well, PAS? What price “we need to be pragmatic” today?

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UPDATE 19/10/20: The Gloucestershire rally went ahead but we understand the Shropshire one was banned.

That makes two rallies banned recently (Pink Wellies and Sovereign) and one shut down by police halfway through (Let’s Go Digging) but one allowed to go ahead and more than one rally per week scheduled for the rest of the year by Let’s Go Digging (consider the takings, health implications and possible unreported heritage that implies).

Is it too much to hope that the archaeological bodies should get round a table with the police and DCMS and sort this out before next week? (Lest PAS are frit to offend detectorists we suggest they ask around and check the detecting forums for once. All detectorists other than the attendees appear to despise the existence of pay-to-dig rallies, so why the blue blazes are they still allowed to happen?)


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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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