A Presidents Day Update…

Because it’s President’s Day here’s a video from, you guessed it, Todd Hiltz.  Just another amazing find by the cellar guy and so very appropriate for today!



And this from John Howland, most likely in a pub somewhere in the South of England, because as he likes to say “work is the curse of the drinking man”.


Detectorists in Britain have really grabbed the headlines following the recovery of a hoard of Saxon coins at a Metal Detecting Rally much to the chagrin of some in archaeological circles.

Though some in orthodox archaeology welcomed the find as did most non-archaeologists, the press and public, many on archaeology’s Luddite wing reverted to type and spat their usual bile. In short, ‘archaeology’ is good – if it’s found by them – anything else is a ‘no-no.’

Evidently an increasing feeling amongst some of them – and this is applies equally to the US – is that we are encroaching on what they consider is their sole preserve; and because we are coming up with the goodies they should be finding, is excuse enough for them to cover their inadequacies by lobbying for the hobby banned or restricted to the extent where their shortcomings remain under wraps.

Have you noticed for example, how when WE find anything of importance, it’s ALWAYS the common heritage, but never when that when they get their sticky fingers on something allegedly important? Who for example is responsible for the hundreds of thousands of artefacts currently languishing unrecorded and unclassified in sheds and outhouses across Britain? All at a time when, the detector-fed PAS is clocking-up over one million artefacts. Perhaps it’s archaeology that should be banned? Can the common heritage be left in their buttery fingers?

The hobby’s problem however, is we lack viable governing bodies. We, the hobbyists at the coalface, know we are ill-represented and that our pastime survives not because of what passes for representative bodies, but IN SPITE OF THEM.

Maybe however, we don’t need them after all…..The following is taken from the UK’s, government-funded Portable Antiquities Scheme website:-

“Largest Anglo-Saxon coin hoard tops list of latest nationwide treasure finds”

Saxon coins

“The coins were found wrapped in a lead sheet and buried in the ground for safekeeping. The coins are of Æthelred II (978-1016) and Cnut (1016-35), and were buried towards the end of Cnut’s reign. The lead wrapping provided protection against the elements while the hoard was in the ground, with the result that the coins are very well preserved. The hoard contains coins from over forty different mints around England, and provides a rare source of information on the circulation of coinage at the time the hoard was buried.

“Under the Treasure Act 1996 there is a legal obligation for finders to report Treasure. Since the advent of the Act the number of finds reported has increased fivefold from 201 cases in 1998 (the first full year of the Act) to 993 in 2013, and 1008 in 2014. If declared Treasure such finds may be acquired by museums, with preference going to the local museum. Of the 990 finds reported Treasure in 2012, 368 were acquired by 100 local museums, so they can be displayed to the public close to where the items were discovered. These include the Bedale, North Yorkshire Hoard of Viking jewellery, weaponry and ingots (2012 T373; YORYM-CEE620) acquired by York Museums Trust, and a Roman silver bracelet from Dalton area, Cumbria (2012 T627; PAS-A7DC11) acquired by the Dock Museum.

“Increasingly finders and landowners have waived their right to a reward, enabling museums to acquire Treasure at reduced or no cost. In 2012, 137 parties waived their right to a reward in 93 cases; more than double the number of cases five years ago. Museums have also benefited from funding being made available through the Art Fund, the Headley Trust, The Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and the V&A Purchase Grant fund, which all funded museum acquisitions of Treasure in 2012.

“Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, said:

“I’d especially like to thank the finders and landowners who have graciously waived their right to a reward so that local museums can acquire Treasure. It is an initiative that the Government has been keen to support, and it demonstrates that metal-detectorists have a genuine interest in the past, and are not just interested in archaeology for personal gain.” [My underlining. JH]


All of which raises the ugly prospect that the picture painted by archaeologists about metal detecting is a deliberate misrepresentation of the FACTS. More disturbing though, is that some of these same propagandists who are actively posting false accounts about detectorists are let loose to interpret – equivocally and without strict examination – excavation ‘data.’ If they can tell lies about detectorists, then why not about their own work to bolster claims for increased subsidies for further ‘research’ or even job security? Can they really be trusted? There must be an independent, archaeologist-free, third-party oversight.



RESCUE (The British Archaeological Trust), not widely known for its love of detectorists, or indeed of Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, is forever yapping about detectorists damaging the heritage with unskilled retrieval techniques; yet curiously scores an own-goal with this laughable (and telling?) emblem as its official badge:-


Ho…bloody, ho! We all know the damage these machines do when they rip through the upper archaeological layers just to get down to whatever heritage feature is currently in vogue. As to the fabulous detector-found, Lenborough Hoard, RESCUE mounts its high horse again:-

“Whilst this might represent a tasty windfall for the finder and the landowner, for the rest of us – the other 60 million plus inhabitants of the British Isles – it represents nothing but yet another lost opportunity to add to the knowledge we have about the Saxon period ….Unfortunately these hoards are rare, so there might never be another one and we might never be able to answer the many questions surrounding them. But you won’t read about that in the papers.”

Over on its website, RESCUE witters on about the Lenborough Hoard:- “The question of who, how, when and why will just have to wait for the next time. If there is one. And if that hoard is not excavated similarly poorly.”

Note also, the RESCUE’s airy-fairy claims that information has been lost…though they don’t, can’t, or won’t identify that information. The FLO who supervised the hoard’s retrieval performed an excellent job. Still, anything to smear the hobby, eh? Pull the other one RESCUE.

Consider carefully…as a registered charity you’re on thin ice with this kind of baloney. You’re in the cross-hairs. Now, that would be a feather in someone’s cap!

It’s better to practice silence than to preach bullshit…either that, or change the name RESCUE to ‘Jackanory.’*



Official Figures from the Portable Antiquities Scheme Website.Current research projects based on, as the PAS describes it, the ….”many thousands of objects are discovered, many of these by metal-detector users, but also by people whilst out walking, gardening or going about their daily work.”

Level of research

  • Undergraduate 61
  • Master’s degree 122
  • PhD level research 93
  • Large scale research AHRC 17
  • Major publication 21
  • Magazine or journal article 5
  • Desk based assessment 17
  • Major research (Leverhulme funded) 3
  • Personal research project 88
  • Archaeology society project 3
  • External project (UK only) 11
  • External project (International) 3
  • A-Level archaeology project 5
  • Total projects: 449

(Unsurprisingly, no figures for academic research projects based on the Artefact Erosion Counter are available).


I’m happy to say…. 

The world is not full of assholes. But, they are strategically placed so that you’ll come across one every day… 

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


* Old English nursery rhyme:

I’ll tell you a story about Jack a Nory

And now my story’s begun

I’ll tell you another

Of Jack and his brother

And now my story is done.

(The rhyme was first recorded when published in The Top Book of All, for little Masters and Misses around 1760).




TRX On Sale


Filed under Metal Detecting

8 responses to “A Presidents Day Update…

  1. Todd Hiltz

    Wow…Fivefold increase in finds reported 200 to 1000 from 1998-2014. We have any hard numbers from the archeologist finds in that same time period Dick? Or something that we can compare?

    • Todd, that was John’s reporting so I will leave him to respond. My guess is it isn’t even close.

    • Hi Todd:
      The numbers refer to items falling within the definitions of the 1996 Treasure Act, whereby finders and landowners are FAIRLY REWARDED for their HONESTY in reporting. Many Treasure Trove Inquests emanate from finders reporting direct to the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

      Section 8 of the Act says:-
      Duty of finder to notify coroner.
      (1) A person who finds an object which he believes or has reasonable grounds for believing is treasure must notify the coroner for the district in which the object was found before the end of the notice period.
      (2) The notice period is fourteen days beginning with—
      (a) the day after the find; or
      (b) if later, the day on which the finder first believes or has reason to believe the object is treasure.
      (3) Any person who fails to comply with subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to—
      (a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months;
      (b) a fine of an amount not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale; or
      (c) both.

      Bearing in mind its practitioners are forever claiming archaeology is a ‘science’ where little escapes its forensic search techniques, while metal detecting /treasure hunting is haphazard; raises the question of the apparent discrepancy between the number of archaeology led Treasure Trove Inquests and those resulting from metal detecting/treasure hunting.

      Perhaps the so-called ‘science’ of archaeology ain’t what it’s claimed to be and this ‘science’ is not yielding items within the meaning of the Act, or, treasure trove items are escaping the attention of Coroner’s Inquests reason in contravention of Section 8, above.

      Archaeologists, especially the mouthy politicos, can’t have it both ways.

      Happy Hoiking

      John H

  2. Dave Wise (HeavyMetalNut)

    was a great day for Todd finding that GW token.I have never seen one nevermind one being dug in front of my eyes.

  3. Dave, you guys amaze me…. Fantastic find!

  4. Bigtony

    And just for sanity sake – what does Hoiking mean? Happy Hoiking?
    Is that a new way of saying happy hunting?

    • Tony, it’s more a British term apparently but I first heard it from the Warsaw weirdo. I was advised by John Winter that it was used a lot in the UK.

      See https://www.wordnik.com/words/hoik. The most appropriate definition I guess….”to lift something up wildly”.

      • Yes, JW is at the cutting edge! It means ripping stuff outta the ground without recourse to the Warsaw Weirdo. It’s on a par with thieving….what else can one expect from a nutter? That’s the Warsaw Weirdo, not ole JW…then again….

        Happy Hoiking

        John H

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