Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Another UK Detecting Site with Cannabis Leaf "Grass" Template

A reader has drawn my attention to another group of UK metal detectorists organizing commercial artefact hunting "meets" which is using the "grass" template with cannabis leaf logo which we saw on the Hunterscorporate website. This one is Sussex Heritage Hunters run by Andy Paxford, Bognor Regis, West Sussex. They go out hunting 'club sites' "at least twice a month on a sunday, land and weather permitting". Here are the "club rules" - "no drugs" it says, but nothing here about the Code of Practice for Responsible Detecting or recording finds with the PAS. Like the "Hunters" it says ALL finds will be "shown" to the landowner, but there is nothing enforcing this in the club's membership rules. The links page does not go to any site connected with finds recording - but it does go to this, but more significantly Sussex Coins and Antiquities.
I have coins and artefacts from Celtic right through until the 18th century, most of the items are found within the British Isles, but some come from places in Europe and this will be stated within the description".
Well, it does not, not normally, in fact for very few of the pieces is any kind of provenance mentioned, some say things like "found in Nottinghamshire". I did not find a single find offered by Mr Garrett which had a PAS number. I found a gold coin of Anastasius ("found Hampshire") which seems not to be in the PAS database. I was bemused by what the dealer considers to be "Bronze Age artefacts". More to the point I was a little puzzled to see presented as British metal detector finds the sort of things that are coming from "Balkan" sources (though its difficult to tell as the pictures are so small and indistinct). Is this dealer sure he really knows where the stuff people are selling him comes from? Terry garrett's web-based shop has no logo indicating membership of any antiquity dealers' association, no mention of a code of ethics, no assurances of legal origin of the finds offered from "places in Europe". It does say however that any finds found not to be genuine will be refunded - rather odd for somebody selling fresh metal detector finds isn't it? (To have one and not the other). No mention I could see of export licences for shipping abroad either.

So what does Sussex Heritage Hunters consider "responsible" detecting? From their website it seems to consist ONLY of: No night-time detecting or visiting 'club' sites alone, filling in all holes, shutting gates, reporting damage to farm property, wearing headphones, no drugs or booze while tekking, searchers must be NCMD/FID members. That's it. None of that other nonsense about "best practice" that other definitions of "responsible detecting" contain. Stay off the booze, fill in yer 'oles and shut the gates, and there'll be no archaeological damage done at all, eh? And anything nice you find, Terry Garrett will no doubt be willing to make a fair offer.


Unknown said...

Mr barford,
I think being a single minded archy seems to suit you lot down to the ground, you knock the detectorists, forgeting that you need us so that you can fo your bit.
Also before slandering me personally and the club - at least have the decency to contact me. I will sekk legal advice if you do not apologise or remove my name grom this article within 24hrs of this reply.
Andy paxford

Paul Barford said...

Hello, Mr Paxford, I tell you what, you remove your name and FULL address from your website where it has been on display in the public domain since I referred to it, http://sussexheritagehunters.yolasite.com/contact-us.php and we can talk about whether I can legitimately say here whose website it is.

Otherwise you will have to explain to your lawyer why having your name associated with a metal detecting group like yours is such a bad thing.

I do not see any "slander" here, your website has pictures of what look like cannabis leaves on it, it made no reference to the Code of Practice for Responsible Detecting or recording finds with the PAS (still no link on the links page). "Like the "Hunters" it says ALL finds will be "shown" to the landowner, but there is nothing enforcing this in the club's membership rules. The links page does not go to any site connected with finds recording - but it does go to http://detectorcommunity.ning.com, but more significantly Sussex Coins and Antiquities.

The reader can look themselves to see what that means, and decide for themselves what your organization represents. I make no apology for drawing attention to it and discussing it. I think the main stakeholder in Britain's past - the wider public deserve to know in detail what you lot are doing with it and how some see it.


How can archaeologists "Need us" so we can "fo our bit" when there is no evidence that what you find is being reported to the PAS (Cos your club rules don't say so) and some of it apparently ends up flogged off in places like in Sussex Coins and Antiquities - to which you DO give a link?

I do not need metal detecting or collecting to "fo my bit" because my "bit" is NOT about digging up archaeological finds like potatoes to join ephemeral personal collections or be flogged off to antiquity dealers.

"Fo your own bit" Mr Paxman, but at least have the decency to admit that is what you are doing and allow others the freedom to express their frank opinion about it without trying to shout them down.

Should however you wish to engage in proper discussion of responsible and irresponsible artefact hunting in a civil and unthreatening manner, then the comments pages of this blog are open to you.

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