By Nigel Swift

Paul Barford has just highlighted that PAS has reached a milestone of 1 million records. I predict much self-congratulation as well as the usual praise for detectorists. However, as he points out:

“There’s a bit of a problem for those who want to use this as a symbol of PAS “success” and that “most English and Welsh detectorists are responsible”. My Revised Artefact Erosion Counter that (nota bene) nobody has yet falsified, and is still the best available estimate in the absence of any other, says today that some 9,681,409 finds and groups of associated finds have been hoiked by artefact hunters (that’s just the ones with metal detectors) since the PAS began. So that translates into a rate of “one-in-nine responsible“, not very impressive, is it? But Bonkers Britain will soldier on, until it’s all gone. Then the archaeological establishment will express in shocked surprise: “oh!”.

I disagree with him. It isn’t just not very impressive. 8 in 9 not reporting all their recordable finds is a bloody outrage. And yes, it looks as if Bonkers Britain will soldier on, until all the hotspots they can find are gone.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting