A huge campaign was set in train by "metal detectorists" (three in particular, Steve Burch, Pete Twinn and Corinne Mills) who orchestrated a nationwide campaign. MPs were barraged by mails and letters from disappointed ("metal detecting") constituents, an online petition was set up and thousands of people signed it. Questions were asked in the House, the Culture Minister was given a grilling. Foreign collectors joined in too, the Minister received letters from them (including one from the ACCG) giving advice how he should proceed.
So, now the crisis is over. The metal detectorists feel that with the publication of the 2008 PAS review they have won a great victory. Why? Basically because the MLA has promised 1.3 million pounds and the PAS will be integrated with the Renaissance in the Regions programme. Great victory guys, a year ago these were nothing more nor less than what you were campaigning against.
But they are jubilant. On the forums they are congratulating themselves on their victory:
Hi Everyone What a brilliant communication.
Excellent news for the team at PAS.
It has been a fantastic group effort, and everyone has been rewarded for their dedication and support. An excellent result for all.
Its nice to read some good news for a change.
Looking good. So much for those who were heralding the demise of the PAS.
I drew attention at the time to the fact that the Head of the Scheme was deliberately courting these "metal detectorists" on their forums and the campaign organisers were "somehow" getting internal PAS documents to use against the by now demonised Roy Clare (new chief executive of the MLA at whose door all these "problems" were being laid). At the time neither the Scheme head, nor any of his staff sent a single message to any archaeological forum asking for help - despite the PAS being considered "archaeology's biggest outreach to the public". Now I see Roger Bland has sent them (and even ancient coin collectors across the other side of the Atlantic) another message thanking the artefact collectors for their help and support, but has not extended this courtesy to the many archaeologists who also supported him in his fight against Rear Admiral Clare. Shame on him.