Saturday, 22 September 2018

UK Commercial Metal Detecting Rallies and the Professional Sloth


UK 'policy' is a shameful sham
I was talking the other day to somebody about the big rallies that are taking place in England this summer and this is what they told me. The amount of money floating around these ventures is huge. For a large rally the cost would be £25-35 a day, times by, say, 500-1500 detectorist attending at these large gatherings, you're looking at a lot of money (upwards iof 11-12000 quid often). On top of the entry fee there is income generated for the organizers by the trade stands. The tax due on this, at 20% a go, apparently never gets collected. The fees paid to farmer/landowner are usually money in hand, and it is unclear whether the tax is paid on this income either. The groups organizing these events are not obliged to produce financial reports. Taxpayers lose out three ways, first it is their heritage that is being pocketed in this commercial knowledge theft, secondly a lot of the organizers are believed to be tax dodging, thirdly if the public wants something/anything at all salvaged, it has to pay millions for an inefficient PAS. 

And of course the portable antiquities pocketed by each and every participant if they return home satisfied are not without value in themselves. Each and every one of them can, and probably will, be monetised, either by the original 'finder' or his/her heirs. And where does the tax from that income made by these culture-thieving creeps go? Who can check who was there, what they took and how much is realised when it is sold? The Ixelles Six/Helsinki Gang?   Shambolic.

If we multiply that by the total number of all the commercial rallies and 'club digs' that happen all year around and we are talking substantial sums of money and substantial commercialised heritage loss... and that does not matter whether the organizers call the rally a 'for charity' one or not. We all know the utter hollowness of that claim. This itself is a misnomer, as the rally organiser/s take their cut first, as 'expenses'. The aim of calling it a charity event is to suggest that their self-centred and acquisition-focussed attendance at such a commercial event 'has somehow benefited someone else, and somehow placated their conscience when removing the ever decreasing material culture, creating 'black holes' in the historic record....'.  When are archaeologists going to get up off their butts, pull their proverbial finger out and start looking at this despoliation and call a spade a spade? To pretend nothing is happening and continually fail to take a closer look is simply intellectual laziness and professional sloth.

Hat tip, I think my friend would prefer to remain nameless, metal detectorists are a nasty revengeful lot

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