Ged Dodd has an amazingly-revealing set of videos about metal detecting. Like this one, 'Ged Dodd Metal Detecting UK (414) Cash for Olde Bronze Coins', where he sells off nine kilos of dug-up artefacts for their scrap value. This is what he says about it:
"Raining again today .. so I cashed in some olde bronze coins .. oh yeah .. money money money .. OK .. I know I upset some prima donna Deus uses by using my Deus for things other than finding hammered and Roman coins .. believe me I would if I had the sites .. but the Deus is so versatile it can be used under any circumstances .. and £90.30 cash in my hand in a couple days can't be bad .. LOL"(skip the long interlude about the grand daughter) :
(Posted on You Tube by Peace Havens)
He describes the haul as "old grotty coins that are no good to man nor beast" but there are clearly other artefacts there. They take "a few kilos of lead [artefacts]" (and "cooper nickels") too. Ninety pounds for melting down artefacts which this collector regards as "scrap". Who says they are not doing it for the money?
The current justifications of artefact hunting in England (and for the moment) Wales concentrate on what is found and reported. From the point of view of the discussions about what it is these policies are "preserving" we should bear in mind what is found and discarded - and as in the case melted down and destroyed irretrievably - without record.
There is of course another issue, there are those who see the fact that artefact hunting on a massive scale is going on in England and (for the moment) Wales under the aegis and watchful eye of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as an indicator that it is in some way part of the UK's programme of sustainable management of the archaeological resource. Sustainable management however implies the reduction of damage by making sure that only what is needed is taken from a resource, and what is taken is efficiently utilised so none goes to waste. taking surplus artefacts out of the archaeological resource and then disposing of them by melting them down is not by anyone's logic, except a chortling metal detectorist's, any form of "sustainable management". For an equally egregious example of the same thing see the text on the guy who polishes surplus artefacts for sale as 'wearable' jewellery.
Sorted out the 'embed' link I think, if not, the link in the caption below the frame still seems to give access to the video I am discussing here (if not do a Google search for the title). The other videos by this gentleman are, however, well worth a look with a critical eye too.