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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Why are you not reporting your metal detecting finds?

Today weather has been pretty unfavourable for planning to do anything outdoors. After spending most of the morning inside the house, painting the bathroom and that sort of thing, I decided I had had enough of being indoors.

So we decided we would go get some fresh air by going for a nice walk while the weather was holding
out. We decided upon a walk down the disused old railway lines that cuts through some really nice scenery and Is great for a picnic in the summer months.

After about five minutes walking there is a very large 17th century country house that must have been home to some high status people for their time. The house is surrounded by arable farmland with crops now well sprouting through, all except one field.

In the field was an old gent, headphones on and metal detector swinging. I never really see many other detectorists around my area so I thought I would pop over and say hi.

As I walked over he saw me and took off his headphones, I introduced myself and explained I was a keen metal detectorist. We had a good chat about finds and general metal detecting talk.

I mentioned my blog to him and he seemed interested, he asked what the purpose of it was. To which I replied hopefully to educate other detectorists into detecting more responsibly and trying to hopefully get more detectorists recording finds.

His reply shocked me, " I have been detecting over 20 years and have never reported or recorded a find, and nor do I plan to".

I asked him why and told him its such an easy process.  He said he did not have to so why bother. I felt quite angered by it really, I knew some people obviously do not record the finds they make but I thought it was far and few between and I never thought someone would openly tell me.

The conversation ended abruptly, he put his headphones back on and wandered of obviously realising I was shocked and disappointed.

This really is no good. We have flo and pas which are amazing services, we can even self record our finds. There is no reasonable or logical explanation a to why someone would not record what they have found.


  1. I think the majority of finds are not recorded due to inconvenience and people's time. You only have to look on the forums and see some detectorists only manage to get out detecting maybe only once a week, that's all the time they have due to work/family life etc. Now add on to that actually reporting a find and maybe having to deliver it to the Flo, then waiting for any outcome and then having to pick the find up again, its all time some people don't have and see it as an inconvenience.

    Even if people have plenty of time and are out detecting 3-5 times a week, just imagine all the times they will have to do the above, again they will see it as an inconvenience they can do without. Its just the way it is in this day and age of busy schedules.

    My own experience with the Flo is once I reported the find by email, I had to take it up to her and her base was 40 miles away. Maybe I could have posted it but found it easier delivering it by hand. So 40 miles up and 40 miles back, that was about 15 months ago and am still waiting on the outcome. If its not declared treasure it will mean another 80 mile round trip to pick it up. I have the time to do it, even though I didn't like the expense of it all.

    So what's the answer, only thing I can come up with is to make the whole process easier and more convenient. Give the PAS more funding to expand. After all it would be in Britains interest as metal detectorists finds do account for a great majority of artifacts found to give us a wider view of our heritage.

  2. Hi janner, yes I understand the treasure process is totally different. However Im talking about the voluntary recording of any finds that are covered by the PAS that are over 300 years old. We can even record these from the comfort of our own homes online so there is no reason why we shouldn't be doing this.

    1. Sorry, I mis-understood, I was reading it as reporting all finds. That does narrow it down a lot.
      I still think though that the PAS should be expanded. Its been with us for a while now and you only have to check to see that it works, just needs to be more widely available making it easier to use.

  3. I consider the issue of finds reporting is not a straightfoward issue and has been used as a hammer to knock metal detecting in general by certain protagonists, without considering all the factors involved. In England and Wales ownership of all non Treasure finds is vested in the landowner and it is up to them to give permission for their property to be recorded with third parties by finders including detecrorists. Now to counter the inevitable charge that this is often used as an excuse, i would ask has any survey ever been carried out to prove or disprove this- facts not speculation. I know that before archaeological excavations take place landowners are often asked to sign away their rights to the ownership of any Treasure finds and pressure applied to view any other no treasure artefacts as a part of the site archive. However landowners have generally been left out of the reporting and recording equation especially when the PAS was set up and FLO's were and continue to encourage finders to report finds without gaining permission from the landowner to do so.
    The reporting of finds is a voluntary choice and obviously for good practice it is a recommended that this is done so the scholarship and location of finds is in the public record and not lost when the finder dies for example. However as i have said before the finder, be they a detectorist or fieldwalker, wishes to report, find that the system we have available under the PAS, is so overburdened and under resourced that finders cannot report more than a token number of finds. The system for reporting and subsequently recording all finds is just not in place and so it is easy for the detractors to continue to knock finders by saying they dont report their finds - well it is just no possible in many cases and so the vast majority of finds indeed do go unreported through no fault of the finders themselves.There is no easy answer to this issue and i would suggest that all finders record their own finds in a logical and measured manner using maps, photographs and computer database to ensure that at least there is a record somewhere in both hard and electronic format. When conditions change and there is a scheme in place that can record this data it can be passed on.
    For the present it remains totally unrealistic and impossible for finders to physically report all finds, especialy those under 300 years old, as the PAS dont want to see them, and equally it is unfair for the anti's to continue to use the selective comment that" detectorists dont record their finds" as a means to denigrate the hobby simply because there is no proper system in place for finders to report all their finds.
    I would be interested to see comment from the detractors as to how this problem can be overcome.

    1. Very interesting read there Steve. As I've been saying, one way is to pump more funding into the PAS Scheme. Simple maths really, put the funding where the best results come from.


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