Monday 28 April 2014

"PAS silence is complicity", Farmer Brown

Maximuswarks Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:40 pm

Farmer Brown is as flabergasted as the rest of us by UK metal detectorists' complete ignorance of the law and the principles of decent behaviour revealed by the thread on a metakl detecting forum near you concerning ownership of artefact hunted finds ("Silence is complicity" 27/04/201. The attitude of entitlement all-too-visible there is food for thought. Many metal detectorists seem to work on the belief  that everything they find is fair game and theirs and that anything which is not Treasure on a landowner's land is automatically theirs because they "found" it. The total value of this appropriated property could be substantial. Silas Brown links this with what Central Searchers reveal about a recent rally of theirs:
They say 341 recordable artefacts were found at their last rally. So do the maths – if each was worth £20 and they have 50 such events a year plus a massive summer one – and loads of artefacts are worth vastly more than that and many are pocketed without anyone being told – the value being taken out of the fields by Central Searchers alone has to run into millions a year. And guess what, the rallies are run under their hidden Rule 11 that says all finds worth less than £2,000 (as privately valued by the detectorist alone) belong entirely to their detectorists.
For Silas, there is not just the point of what ten thousand metal detectorists are walking off with week after week, month after month, but that they are doing so in a relationship a government-funded body calls a "partnership": 
Friends, how come the government and it’s officials keep quiet about all this and do absolutely nothing to warn us or stop it happening? They must know perfectly well what is going on as their quango has had a grandstand view of it every single week for 15 years. What have we farmers done to deserve the official silence?
Let the PAS-partners onto their land without it being absolutely clear to what they have agreed, that's what. Note that on the Portable Antiquities Scheme website, after sixteen years of outreach (so-called), there is not any kind of explanation for their partners of the  law about ownership of finds, and so it is that we have metal detectorists such as "Janner" who thought "if the landowner didn't lose it then it must be ours to keep".

Also just where did the idea that giving the landowner a cut of any money made by selling their property was in any way a fair deal? The farmer is the owner of 100% of the non-Treasure items on their field (if not MOD etc property), so in what way is it "fair" for a metal detectorist to even consider taking part of their value? If an artefact hunter finds collectable items on a landowner's land, then they should be reimbursing the landowner by the market value of any items they keep and take away. Every farmer has the right to demand this in return for access to their land in order to search (the name metal detectorist refers to searching, not keeping).

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