Sunday 2 May 2021

UK Rally Participants Not Reporting Treasure?

Andy Brockman's thePipeLine blog writes about a disturbing case involving the commercial pay-to-dig artefact hunting rally organisers 'Sovereign Metal Detecting Rallys [sic]'. This refers to an event that took place on the weekend of 24/25 April 2021, one of at least two rallies held by Sovereign in Shropshire since the England moved to Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

This rally was advertised as being at a “Roman Marching Camp field.” at Frodesley.Again the notice advertising the rally appeared on Sovereign’s private Facebook group and was not visible to the wider public, or to local or national heritage authorities, that is unless they were either able to join the group, or were passed information by a member of the group. In the post advertising the Frodesley rally, Mr Lloyd repeated the pattern of other posts, this time using the trigger word “Roman” and claiming numerous finds had been made on previous visits to the location, including a find of what was described in the post as “hack gold”. “gold” of course being another trigger word designed to catch the eye of would be attendees at the commercial events. [...] the Treasure Act [1996] requires that any archaeological item containing precious metal must be reported to the local coroner [...]. [W]hen thePipeLine checked there was no find of “Hack Gold” recorded in Shropshire on the publicly accessible version of the PAS database. Asked about this apparent discrepancy the Portable Antiquities Scheme told thePipeLine that it had been made aware of this find on 8 August 2020, but only when it was published on the facebook page belonging to Mr Lloyd’s group, Sovereign Metal Detecting Rallys. The Portable Antiquities Scheme then confirmed that the subject of this find, along with other examples of potential treasure which may have remained unreported from recent digs in and around Frodesley, was raised by email with both HM Coroner for the area and with the treasure team at the British Museum [...], thePipeLine understands that notifying the two bodies with legal responsibility for the administration of treasure finds would be the necessary precursor to an investigation if it was suspected that offences under the Treasure Act might have been committed.
Time will tell. nevertheless it should be noted that the only reason this was being chased up is because the rally organiser boasted of this specific items. How many other reportable objects just disappear from yunder everyone's noses because they are not boasted about on Facebook?   


1 comment:

Brian Mattick said...

A couple of points

It's not true that "metal detecting rallies are also increasingly advertised by rally promoters as being close to, or even on, known or suspected archaeological sites". They have always been advertised that way, whether pay-to-dig or "charity" events, large, small or local. It's the nature of the game, no-one has ever sold tickets on the basis of how poor the prospects are. Indeed, ALL metal detecting involves looking for places which maximise the finds rate - which is what makes recreational hunting so pernicious as if it's worth depleting it will be sought out and repeatedly exploited until reduced to an unsatisfying rate . I've heard for 20 years that finds rates are less than they were because the fields are "hammered". A bit like fishing etc.

Second, landowners being diddled hundreds of pounds? No. The LGD "all mine" rule is £3,000 but guess who decides the value? I'd have thought the existence of that rule alone was unlawful, whether anyone uses it to unlawfully lie or not.

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