The new Stop Taking Our Past (STOP) campaign being promoted by British conservation group Heritage Action (see here) couldn’t be more beneficial as it simply asks farmers to ensure all finds made by artefact hunting metal detectorists get reported. The campaign takes a stand which can only be beneficial for archaeology, archaeologists, landowners and the public. They write:
Unlike the original STOP campaign it’s not going away so hopefully every landowner in Britain will hear about it. We’d really appreciate some help though. So as we said before, if you’re a history lover, archaeologist or ethical detectorist please spread the message – “No reporting – No permission”. Why wouldn’t you?It would be good to see now the appearance of a webpage detailing the damage done to the archaeological record and the public's knowledge about the past caused by artefact hunters and detectorists taking and not reporting what they've taken away. Obviously Heritage Action are more than capable of producing such a piece of public outreach about portable antiquities. But there IS, isn't there, an organization in England which over the years has been getting a lot of dosh for doing precisely that and has been accumulating quite a bit of experience in talking to the public as well as the media on (one presumes) precisely that. How about it PAS ladies and gentlemen? Will you fall in behind Heritage Action and help them promote the message that artefact seekers reporting finds to the PAS (to yourselves!) is the only responsible way forward? Or will you give it a miss and leave it up to them to do?