When it comes to “engagement” with metal detectorists you’d be forgiven for thinking some archaeologists don’t read the detecting forums much. If they did they’d know that 90% of detectorists oppose licensing and are violently opposed to rules other than their own – why else do you suppose they’ve invented their own substitute reponsibility codes? So licenses would have two certain outcomes:

  1. ANOTHER five years of misbehaviour and damage, on top of the previous 23, until the authorities finally realised they were dealing mostly with artefact hunters not amateur archaeologists.
  2. Thousands of people resentful of authority or any diminution of their “freedom” to act as they wish will find their new notional role of PAS paymasters an ideal opportunity to tell PAS how things ought to be not vice versa!

So please, let archaeologists who think licensing will work get themselves onto half a dozen detecting forums. Rather than fiddling while Rome burns for another five years let them look through the window.

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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