Saturday 4 April 2020


After a lot of criticism by us (but apparently not the PAS) of the organisers of the (very) commercial 'Detectival' artefact hunting rally, the fields of Henley on Thames, where it was due to take place from today, will be empty. Metal detectorists from goodness-knows-where will not be spreading pathogens in the name of "herd immunity" or collectors' rights.

Meanwhile the organisers of last month month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup horse racing meet, which went ahead with 60,000 participants despite coronavirus concerns are now being criticised.
The Guardian has also been contacted by a relative of a 65-year-old man who is currently receiving treatment in intensive care following a positive test for Covid-19. He believes he was infected during a business meeting with a contact who had been to the festival and also subsequently tested positive for the virus. “I would say that Cheltenham should have erred on the side of caution,” his relative said. “I think they should have made their own decision and not be passing the buck. “I understand that they were acting in accordance with government advice at the time. However, the government was subsequently criticised as well for not acting quickly enough on this [...].”
Sound familiar?  So, I wonder how the NCMD campaign to get tekkies to self-isolate at home rather than traipsing around the countryside during the UK's belated lockdown are going?

So lives were saved by the criticism that made the organisers rethink their gauche stubbornness. The other effects are noted by conservation group Heritage Action :  (One thing to be thankful for this weekend, 4th April 2020):
450 acres of "very interesting and historically rich land" along the banks of the River Thames near Henley will NOT now host a massive international commercial metal detecting rally this weekend. So no coachloads of overseas treasure hunters, no puzzled expressions from the landowner or PAS about why the number of found items seems low, no sudden glut of vague eBay descriptions of "old finds from Yorkshire", and no items of British historical significance with their associated knowledge quietly taken away to Belgium or Latvia.
Maybe it is time to look at the whole idea of commercial Treasure hunting in Britain, as it is clear that a huge amount of harm is being done by current 'policies' (I use the term loosely).

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