Dr Ben Jervvis ("Some Thoughts on Metal Detecting and Archaeology" 1st March 2014) says that since the archaeological heritage is a shared resource, metal detectorists too have their rights and if they want to dig it all up and keep bits of it for themselves that's OK by him. Personally I cannot square that with the need to preserve at least some of it for others to use in less destructive ways. The butterfly conservationist "Lepidop" was also a bit puzzled by this archaeological "collectors' rights" attitude to conservation and asked Dr Ben:
"Shared resource", do you own a metal detector, why/why not? If not, are you planning to get one?It seems the good Doctor is above that kind of thing, finding artefacts is not his "thing", he does not own a metal detector and says it's not his idea of fun. So what kind of people does this manner of selfishly "sharing the resource" appeal to?
On the other hand, most of the 55.6 million population of England and Wales do not own a metal detector either. Yet its their heritage which some ten thousand tekkies are pilfering millions of bits of to augment their private collections for their personal entertainment and profit. Does not the non-detecting majority - some of whom will have very strong views on the looting of the archaeological record for collectables for fun and profit anywhere have any rights? Like not to have the evidence for past lives looted away from under their and their children's children's noses while British heritage professionals look on and suggest meekly, that perhaps one day we can all "work together". Kumbaja.