Sunday, 12 January 2020

Britain's 'Treasure Blip'

A few days ago I put up on this blog a preliminary graph that showed the shortfall between the increase of reported Treasure finds and the estimates of increased numbers of detectorists. It raises a number of questions, but so far the silence from Britain's unconcerned archaeologists is as deafening as ever. They are in no hurry to confront this issue it seems.

But I was looking at the 'blip' in the figures on the right hand side of the Treasure trace. The peak is in 2017, is there a reason for this?

Now, actually when you do an Internet search for graphs showing 'the number of treasure finds between years x to y' (a pretty simple statistic, you'd think, in the circumstances), you'll find that over the past twenty years there have been all sorts of different versions with humps and hollows which later get smoothed out by some mysterious process of spin. But at the upper end of the line there is a big jump in the official statistics as they stand at the moment (2011, 969; 2012, 990; 2013, 993; 2014, 1008; 2015, 966; 2016, 1077; 2017, 1266; 2018, 1096; 2019- ????).

But this 2017 blip... I was wondering whether the blame could be put on the TV programme that the PAS unadvisedly got involved with, 'Britain's Secret Treasures' , but that went out in 2012-3. The warm cuddly comedy show 'Detectorists' had three seasons, 2014-7, however. Was the publicity that this gave the hobby the impetus for folk going out and buying detectors and then some months later when they'd got some experience with the machines making their first Treasure find? If so, the drop off in Treasure find reports the year after might possibly represent a disillusionment of the bulk of those that had bought machines and realised that it was not as cuddly-wuddly as on the TV.

Of course, I am impatient to learn what the real figure for 2019 is and intrigued what it will be for 2020.

Come on Treasure Registrars, get counting.

A search of the PAS database for Treasure records created from 1st Jan 2019 and 31st Dec 2019 gives a result of just 258 records

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