This week a detectorist on a forum has made mention of a previous idea that landowners will need to apply for permission for detecting to take place on their land. One of his colleagues responded: “This is the most drastic form of a license. Totally ridiculous.”

But is it? As a country we entrust a precious public resource to farmers to decide who should interact with it, yet we give them very little knowledge on which to make the right decisions, often with very damaging results. If they were obliged by law to apply for a license to allow detecting they could be automatically alerted to areas of their land that might be best not disturbed, and why, and which people or rally organisers might be best not given permission. Plus, what they might reasonably require of anyone who WAS allowed on the land.

How does it not make sense for the landowner to be guided by advice from professionals with no vested interest rather than by goodness knows who from goodness knows where with a huge vested interest in him saying yes? Most metal detecting, while legal, is “under the official radar” and many rally owners deliberately withhold the event locations until the night before to ensure archaeologists don’t have time to object. Perhaps those involved in the reform process should consider the merits of this idea?

Is that enough?


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


National Highways insists that the estimated cost for the Stonehenge tunnel scheme remains at £1.7bn, despite staying that way for years and government contract figures now putting the scheme way above £2bn. And if you think that will be the end of it we have a bridge to sell you.

National Highways maintains that the contract values have not risen and that the total cost of the scheme remains at £1.7bn. Despite this, a National Highways spokesperson confirmed that the cost of the scheme will end up “towards £2bn” when non-recoverable tax is factored in. The spokesperson added: “[The] total estimated cost for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down upgrade past Stonehenge remains at £1.7bn, although incorporating non-recoverable VAT will take this figure towards £2bn, as noted in the company’s Annual Report. “This £2bn value represents all of the project’s estimated costs, of which the main works contract is a part.”

Got it?

This nonsense comes on top of the recent re-brand from Highways England, cost unknown, only six years after its last multimillion-pound rebranding. There are only three certainties in life: death, taxes and the fact the tunnel scheme will eventually cost an eye-watering amount.

Following our recent complaint about the National Trust’s failure to remember the word “everyone” when it comes to keeping its land free from trail hunting, we received this comment by S Keene:

They did the same thing voting over the Stonehenge A303 improvements. Members’ motion at the Trust’s 2017 AGM asked Trustees to reconsider their position. Despite some 22,000 postal votes in favour, the motion was lost after the Chairman’s c.6,000 proxy votes were added to those against the motion, rather than for it.”

Imagine if next month the National Trust’s members instructed it to reject the tunnel! Watch out for every trick in the book being employed to prevent that happening!

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


Matthew Anderson@MattAndersonNYT …



More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

Despite having temporarily banned trail hunting as a result of bombshell revelations the Trust has put the issue back on its agenda for a members’ vote at next month’s AGM. The question is why? Why should a temporary ban not be permanent one?

The previous AGM gives a clue: then, the board used discretionary proxy votes to defeat a motion calling for a ban despite a majority of Trust Members and 89% of the general public wanting a ban. Trust land doesn’t belong to the Board or even Trust Members and certainly not the pro-hunting pressure group that has joined as members.

It’s land that is everyone’s and for everyone to enjoy without encountering a diguised blood sport happening in front of them. But don’t take our word for it being everyone’s land. Take the Trust’s word:



The most popular beauty spot in Britain has been named:

  1. Stonehenge, Wiltshire
  2. St Ives, Cornwall
  3. Loch Ness, Scotland
  4. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
  5. Durdle Door, Dorset
  6. Padstow, Cornwall
  7. Southwold, Suffolk
  8. White Cliffs of Dover, Sussex
  9. The Roman Baths, Somerset
  10. Carlton Hill, Edinburgh

Imagine HIDING one of those from 99% of people.


Irish National Museum

A message from Maeve Sikora, Keeper of Irish Antiquities, National Museum of Ireland to the ARCHAEOLOGY (Seandálaíocht) IRELAND NETWORK:

“I would be most grateful if you could post the following information on your Facebook page. This is to ensure that everyone – members and visitors to the page – are aware of the legal obligations to report discoveries of archaeological objects found in the Republic of Ireland:


“Every archaeological object, no matter how insignificant it may appear, is of importance in adding to the story of the past. The National Museum of Ireland, which is the repository of the Nation’s portable archaeological heritage, requests your co-operation in reporting discoveries of archaeological objects.

If you find an archaeological object, the National Monuments Act 1930-2014 requires that you report the discovery to the Duty Officer, Irish Antiquities Division, as soon as possible, and within four days. This can be done by email, by phone 01 6777444 or by writing to the Duty Officer, National Museum of Ireland.”



It would nice to think the above (together with the text of Section 2 of Ireland’s National Monuments Act 1930 which defines archaeological objects) was pinned to the wall where any discussion of reform over here is discussed.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting


October 2021

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