Tory governments have always been mysteriously sucked-in by Marxist sentiments when it comes to the heritage. Archaeologist Tom Hassall – a former Chair of the Standing Conference of Archaeological Unit Managers; President of the British Council for Archaeology, and President of ICOMOS UK – once said (at a meeting back in the 80s at which I was present) that, “The trouble with a Thatcherite Government is that it looks after the interests of the landowner too well. In an ideal society, all land would belong to the people. Unfortunately, we are some way from the nationalisation of all antiquities.” His comment was widely reported especially in the farming press.
Now, thanks to the myopic and compliant Department of Media Culture and Sport, unsurprisingly, this Marxist nightmare is about to come true. The reptiles are already crawling into the sunlight from beneath their stones.
Single coin finds of precious metals along with those of non-precious metals will soon become ‘Treasure’ under the intended changes to the Treasure Act. At first glance this looks advantageous, but if the proposals go ahead to tighten regulations, then archaeological digging of any sort (by professional archaeologists and others) will only be allowed by permit. Archaeologists and the Crown will have first dibs over what Detectorists or anyone else for that matter can keep in their private collections.
Put another way, no-one would be allowed to search even their own land with a metal detector WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION. That permission will contain codicils prohibiting the applicant from claiming Treasure Trove rewards.
If artefact hunting with a metal detector is solely allowed by permit-led archaeological approval, on what grounds one wonders, would the hobby be even allowed? The answer is clarion…it won’t!
In one fell swoop, metal detecting in the UK will soon be annihilated as we now currently know and enjoy it. We will soon be brought under direct archaeological control. I am uncertain how this hobby of ours will preserve its rights and freedoms. Ironically, with the death of metal detecting in the UK, many FLO’s who currently depend on on Detectorists for a living will soon find themselves looking elsewhere for a crust.
In the absence of a potent national body representing the hobby, survival is all about individual hobbyists and clubs taking concerted and unified action. I advise writing to your MPs NOW, or, selling your detecting gear while you can still get a decent price for it.
So then, why not seek your MP’s views and punish them at a General Election if he/she goes along with this proposed garbage. For every vote against, he/she will require TWO votes to maintain the status quo.
All MP’s would rather have their backsides on the green benches of the House of Commons than out there picking cotton.
It’s now… all down to YOU!
BTW…in reply to the many who have contacted me, please feel free to copy this article and circulate to your MPs.
PS…don’t forget to checkout Smart Arse Corner.
UPDATE: Checkout US Attorney Peter Tompa’s superb blog : –