.Gordon Kingston, Heritage Action has a wonderfully lucid piece on the Heritage Journal prompted by a British artefact hunter's reaction to the conservation group not publishing his comment ("a sensible idea") on their blog containing the suggestion that a commercial metal detecting rally should be used to generate revenue for the upkeep of Stonehenge. Well worth a read, to illustrate the vast gap that exists between what archaeologists should be getting across to the artefact hunting community through "partnership" of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, and what artefact hunters really take away from this arrangement. The PAS is just losing it.
Mr Kingston writes:
since the finding of the Staffordshire hoard, an hubristic force has been building in the metal detecting community, like gathering thunder, and those comments sum it up better than I ever could. [...] find it, to put it bluntly, grotesque, that anyone should think that such a rally could actually take place in the fields around Stonehenge - which are part of a protected World Heritage Site – and that they thought that the suggestion was ”a sensible comment”. Is it any wonder that our criticism is met with anger from metal detector users? It is both hobby and narcotic, don’t you think? Its features include the thrill of the hunt, regular hits of reward or possession and, ever-present (it could be you?), the tantalising possibility of hitting a lottery-like jackpot. If you recall Mike Parker Pearson’s long, painstaking, but ultimately rewarding, excavation in one of those same ‘fields around Stonehenge’ (the site of Bluestonehenge), how – again – grotesque is a proposition that the archaeological record of a similar piece of ground should be destroyed in a single afternoon, for a ‘hobby‘, for a ‘buzz’, for ‘profit’ – or, in the words of our correspondent - to “generate revenue” to spend on heritage? “You and your profession are being outdone by so called Amateurs like myself”. This is true, although not in the way that it was intended when written.There will, I see be a 'part two', I will link to it when it appears.