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by Nigel Swift

Those were the surprising words of a Danish metal detectorist on finding two pounds of Iron Age gold. In Britain we’re more used to a far less sophisticated use of language in the world of metal detecting and that got me thinking whether and why British detectorists are often less sophisticated over here than in parts of Europe.

Dr Lewis, the head of PAS, thinks there’s a difference. After his 2011 fact finding trip to Denmark he opined that the low rewards there “would not be attractive” to English detectorists. I think we all know what he meant by that. And indeed we saw similar evidence ourselves when two of our members went to a rally for Polish detectorists in Bedfordshire in 2012:

Rally for Polish detectorists, Bedfordshire, 2012

They reported back that “they struck us as generally a step up from many of their English counterparts. More polite, better educated and by all accounts keen to do the right thing.” We wondered why there should be a difference: “Does the European approach of having rules attract more thoughtful people than the British one of no rules”.

Hopefully, those currently engaged in drafting new rules in Britain will have asked themselves the same question.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


October 2021

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