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If you’re reading this, you’ll know that. PAS said it verbatim in 2001, but not so much subsequently. They and detectorists tell each other ad nauseam that reporting non-Treasure finds is a purely voluntary matter. It’s true, legally, but morally? Of course not, not reporting is historicide, but PAS has long calculated that saying so will cause offence and reduce reporting. Thus we have entreaties to be “responsible”, nothing more.

Not that some detectorists aren’t well aware that “voluntary” is a damaging joke. A very senior member of the Detecting Wales Forum has said: “The often recited old mantra of  “we save history” is laughable at best … for every detectorist who records ALL their finds over 300 years I’ll show you at least 10 that don’t so in fact we steal history by taking away parts of the full picture.

So here we are, 23 years into PAS’s existence and the simple proposition that “not reporting is immoral” scarcely passes its lips. Just yesterday on a detecting Facebook group with nearly 27,000 members someone said “One of my farmers has stated I record or report i am off” and didn’t have it explained that continuing in such cumstances would be damaging and immoral. If PAS won’t tell the truth massive heritage damage will continue ad nauseam. Sad, isn’t it?


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


March 2021

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