By Nigel Swift

You hear it all the time from archaeologists and some detectorists: licensing will improve behaviour as the official code will be adhered to and finds will be recorded not concealed.

I think it’s tripe, whoever proposes it. £100 is well worth paying if you’re minded to conceal finds from a farmer in order to avoid sharing them with him or splitting a hoard into small elements to avoid the need to tell the coroner. Plus, “I’ve got a license” is a powerful certificate of false valour to show to landowners which could only increase the number of permissions given, including to crooks.

It’s to be hoped the forthcoming reforms don’t include licenses, unless for participation in an archaeology led project. All else will surely make a dire situation worse. There’s hardly a crook who isn’t a member of a club and NCMD and assures farmers they report everything to him and PAS. The stats show a different story. Why make it worse?

Why pretend it wouldn’t be like this?


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting