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A recent Twitter exchange serves as a warning to any landowner considering allowing metal detecting on his or her land:

CONSERVATIONIST : “these are HIS artefacts, and he may well not be an expert so it’s simply not right that someone with a vested interest should be informing him of their value and significance. He is owed an entirely independent appraisal of both the value and significance.”

DETECTORIST: “But there’s nothing stopping him/her getting an independent appraisal is there? I for one would not object.”….

Would not object !!! Yet he hasn’t suggested it. Nor, so far as we’ve ever heard, have the other 27,000. Nor, so far as we know, has PAS advised detectorists to do such a thing or advised landowners to insist on it. Why?

Anyway, we think landowners would be well advised to insist on it. And to ask PAS why they haven’t done the same. And to enquire whose interest PAS is protecting. Landowners’ it isn’t.

Relax. I’ll find it, I’ll value it. I’ll tell you if it’s valuable.

[As a tiny example of part of the millions farmers and the public’s knowledge base must have lost this way over the years, consider a Rule of KC Detecting Rallies which operates close to the soon-to-be-closed Worcester Uni archaeology department: “Any finds over £1000 must be disclosed to admin and proceeds shared with the landowner”. Yeah, right. Cui bono from the lack of an independent valuation?]

More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


September 2021

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