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We’ve just sent this:


Dear Portsmouth Council,
FAO Councillor Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development & Deputy Leader, Portsmouth City Council


We understand you are to allow metal detecting on your land subject to compulsory rules of responsible behaviour. That’s certainly better than the “voluntary” requirements contained in the official code which so many detectorists volunteer to ignore. However:

Maybe the Council shouldn’t “reserve” its right of ownership of artefacts found on its land but assert that ownership, no ifs or buts, as everything found really belongs to the citizens of Portsmouth and shouldn’t be given away. Plus, if local museums don’t want the finds perhaps therefore you should sell them to the detectorists on behalf of the ratepayers (at a price decided by the council alone).

Also, may we draw your attention to 1.) this wording from a neighbouring council: “Finds would normally remain the property of Surrey County Council”, and 2.) Item 064/09 of the Deerhurst Parish Council, Gloucestershire, 2019 in which a Mr. Ray Deefholts sought permission to detect on Parish Council land but freely acknowledged what he found wouldn’t belong to him and 3.) our 2017 letter to the National Association of Local Councils (and CBA, Rescue, LGAO and APPAG) about this issue.

We feel that if a metal detectorist is a worthy amateur archaeologist he would be seeking knowledge alone and would have no reason or wish to lay claim to anything.

Yours faithfully,
The Heritage Journal



More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


March 2021

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