Shysters Inc.

That ragged mantle of ‘crusading holier-than-thou self-righteousness’ in which the sermonising self-styled heritage élite wrap themselves, camouflages a deep-rooted malevolence towards collectors, numismatists, and detectorists. It’s the kind dogma that no balanced heritage professional would touch with a bargepole.

Chauvinism of this sort sits more easily in one-party states but has no place in property-owning democracies. The Council for Kentish Archaeology (CKA), a zealous ‘anti’ outfit went (deservedly) belly-up in June 2018. The detecting community shed no tears at its long-overdue demise.

In an astonishing lack of political acumen, the CKA in its bitchy 1980’s anti-metal detectinggif2 campaign, used an image similar to that used by Hitler’s Nazi Party against the Jews. They were rightly and widely savaged over its use. The press had a field day.

One very senior archaeologist told me some years ago that, “It was a mistake to use it.” Today that same old archaeological excuse  endures; mealy-mouthed contrition in the wake of exposure and public disgrace.

In today’s heritage ‘Cold War’ the  dishonesty flourishes in the form of smears, disinformation, and outright lies, all aimed at tarnishing the reputations of detectorists, collectors, and numismatists alike. Such is the obsessive nature of hatred, that one may be excused for thinking that the lunatics are now running the ‘anti’ asylum.

Bizarrely, even those heritage professionals who work with and support the detecting and collecting communities are not immune from this puerile viciousness. Florida archaeologist, Lisa Macintyre, experienced appalling idiotic bombasts from the undistinguished, Warsaw-based serial whinging heritologist, Paul Barford, whose remarks about her fitness to work as an archaeologist were less than chivalrous.

The uncouth ‘anti’ campaign also has highly-regarded heritage bodies in its cross-hairs. Examples include the UK’s widely respected Portable Antiquities Scheme and its staff; English Heritage; and the National Trust to name but three, and have all at one time or another, been on the receiving end of this crude abuse.

Examples of the unpleasant mud-slinging is just a mouse-click away.

The Heritage Journal ( is a ship of fools, skippered by the smug, self-approving Nigel Swift. The ‘good ship’ HJ is overloaded to the gunnels with anti-detectorist and collecting excrement. It is perhaps pertinent to mention that on Thursday 20th February, 2014, I had cause to lodge a complaint with the West Mercia Police about Swift’s outrageous comments on the Heritage Journal blog. The complaint was acknowledged and logged by Supervisor C60146 – Incident & Contact Management. I was later advised to seek a civil remedy which I chose not pursue.


The Pinocchio Syndrome

The Pinocchio Syndrome – is a condition common among all heritage rabble-rousing evangelists; Swift squeals like a stuck pig when the so-called ‘evidence’ he peddles is exposed as bogus, bankrupt, and threadbare. Sometimes his absurdity is pure farce and his AEC is the prime example.

Click on : –  interesting, eh?

Mostly the ‘antis’ play the man (or woman), not the ball. The aforementioned odious Paul Barford for instance, described on his sneering ‘blog’, Terry Herbert the finder of the fabulous and archaeologically important Staffordshire hoard, thus : –

“It was on the 5th July that a superstitious house-bound invalid on disability benefits was sufficiently able-bodied a decade ago to find the first gold items while artefact hunting in a field near Lichfield.”

It’s all nasty, vile stuff from loathsome people. On the upside, it reveals more about those who push this swill, than it does about those it targets.



5 thoughts on “Shysters Inc.

  1. Good post. I didn’t know Barford was still around. I thought he went into hiding after I shunned his romantic pursuit.
    I hardly think they’ll shut the hobby down though, correct me if I’m wrong, but I did attend a meeting with someone from the PAS explaining the UK laws a few years back, and I swear he said the government gets first dibs on any treasure. Who’s finding that treasure? Not the arkies, they’re too busy defaming the detectorists.


    • Hi Diva:
      Always good to hear from you.
      Yes, the government gets “first dibs” on anything that’s declared ‘Treasure’ and the finder and landowner compensated. I think it’s a good system.


  2. I think it’s a good system also. They wanted to implement something similar in the US, but we don’t find the kind of significant finds here that warrant such a thing. My oldest coin is from the late 1600’s, and that’s considered a fairly epic find over here. Coins are not considered antiquities, so “Finders Keepers” it is. Would love to hunt the UK someday…


  3. So Paul Barford is still up to his old tricks. The cat and mouse game is still afoot with him and his pal still dropping barbs on the hobby and detectorists. I was especially impressed with Nigel’s penchant for sneaking around metal detecting shops and getting down private conversations to expose. Hopefully all the shops likes the photos you sent them for positive I.D. on the scoundrel. Man, that was one evil-looking poster of “Beware of Treasure Hunters!” I don’t think I have ever seen anything like that anywhere, ever. Must have taken a real hateful individual to design that. Good post John, and I am am just starting a read of your interesting book, “Treasure from British Waters” in my favorite comfortable chair downstairs. Good post!


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