How refreshing! We’ve been saying it for years, big rallies are used for “findspot laundering” in which criminal detectorists can find objects in one place then “find” them at another, thereby depriving a farmer of his rightful share or concealing the fact they’ve been nighthawked. Now a detectorist has said it out loud:

“I’m sick of farmers losing out 24/ 7 People walking a way with his property off his fields from these so called big digs. Organizers can do nothing about it as it being stolen and they wont even see it go there just like organizing theft partys it’s not all the big dig detectorist most are honest but its spoilt for them to it is as we know amazing stuff will never see a flo or its owner theres is no control So wake up Briton your history going down drain fast.”

Wake up Britain indeed! You’ll hear barely a word about this racket from PAS or about the fact an unknown proportion of the finds in its database therefore have false findspots. Nor will you hear much about it on most detecting forums which maintain the fiction that rallies and pay-to-dig events are hotbeds of honesty. It’s not surprising that it has been said on the Facebook page of Keith Westcott of the proposed Institute of Detectorists, which is one of the only places where you’ll hear honest admissions about what’s going on.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting