Saturday 2 January 2021

Revised Artefact Erosion Counter: The Missing Numbers

I set up my counter on Sunday, 15 July 2018. On that day, the HA Counter read: 6,260,328 since the start of the PAS and the PAS database was 1351255 objects recorded (in 864344 records).  And that's where I started my revised counter off counting. 

But when HA set up theirs, my estimate of the number of active artefact hunters with metal detectors was 10000. HA decided to err on the safe side and use the figure of 8000  for their counter.

But I have indicated that I believe the evidence that suggests that the number of metal detectorists has been increasing steadily on the watch of the PAS. In 2003 it was (I estimated) 10k. By 2017 it had reached 27k (Hardy's estimate that I think is a good guide). So in 14 years it has gone up 17000.

As a rough rule therefore the annual increase has been "1308"  metal detectorists a year. 

If they are finding things the same rate as the HA established (just under 30,5 recordable objects a year) that would be an additional 1308 x 30,5 (= 39,894 recordable finds) each year. 

In the period 2003-2017 there would be 105 times that number added to the base figure (in 2007: x + 1308; in 2008: (x+1308) + 1308; in 2008: (x+1308+1308) + 1308....  etc). 

39,894 x 105 = 4,188,870 recordable finds more. 

So in fact, if I had not been so lazy in 2018, the actual figure on my Revised Artefact Erosion Counter at midnight on 31st December 2020, would have been 8,760,847 + 4,188,870 = 12,949,717 recordable finds.

and the projection for in ten years time would be 16,995,847 + 4,188,870 = 21,184,717 recordable finds.

I've drawn it up (top right), the pink area is the number of finds made between 10000 detectorists and 27000 detectorists. You'll note that even this is bigger than the number of finds recorded, not just now, but as they will be in ten years time (if we still have a PAS then - this graph would suggest that in fact there is not much point if that's all its going to achieve).

21 million objects pocketed, and 21 million holes in the archaeological record. That's a lot innit? Still, "nothing to worry about" say British archaeologists. But I think they are wrong. There is a lot to worry about here. 


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