A Few Words From Mr. Howland…

News and views from across the pond, courtesy of John Howland and via the Malamute Saloon.  I do believe he penned this update sober, though that would be a stretch….

howlandscriptGive a dog a bad name.

The Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Areas Act became law in 1979 whereupon swathes of countryside were designated ‘off limits’ to anyone using a metal detector without official permission. Consequently, many prosecutions followed and some people found themselves branded as thieves picking up criminal records along the way.

However, someone in the depths of the Civil Service having responsibility for Scheduling the UK’s 166,000 monuments and archaeological areas to bring them under the umbrella of the 1979 Act, didn’t! In consequence, there are people probably reading this who were convicted for illicit detecting when in fact no offence was committed.
If you think you fall into this category, then maybe you need the services of  a lawyer with a view to compensation for having your name besmirched by an undeserved criminal record?


Q. What’s the difference between a large pizza and a degree in archaeology?

 A.  A large pizza can feed a family of four.


Don’t be a Muppet!

A Surrey man has been ordered to pay a fine and legal costs totalling over £1,000 by local magistrates after having been found guilty of theft and failing to report a find to the Coroner.  The man who had been metal detecting on private land without permission found a gold Bronze Age ring which he failed to report to the Surrey Coroner. He was summoned to appear before magistrates in April but failed to turn up at court and an arrest warrant was subsequently issued; he was arrested some days later.

To avoid getting into the kind of scrape the Surrey man got himself into, become firm friends with the Treasure Act; it’s not rocket science. By understanding your legal obligations; by liaising with the PAS and FLO’s, avoids any later misunderstandings.  Inadvertently straying onto neighbouring land where permission to hunt hasn’t been granted or sought and finding an object within the definitions of the Treasure Act present is undoubtedly problematic. First and foremost report the find to the FLO and take advice. The fact that you have reported the find despite it being found in a place where you did not have permission to detect demonstrates a degree of honesty on your part which goes a long way in your favour.

Navigating and map-reading errors happen; if you’ve strayed inadvertently, admitted the error, and reported the find in accordance with the law, that to my mind is the end of the matter though you may receive a ‘reminder’ from officialdom to take more care in the future.

The vast amount of significant discoveries made by detectorists – numbering over one million registered on the Portable Antiquities’ database – illustrates the colossal contribution they have made to our cultural heritage. Most level-headed people recognize detectorists are Treasure Act literate as the PAS statistics show, something that has catapulted the metal detecting hobby into the limelight; they being the prolific heritage contributors.


Two blokes were walking through a cemetery when they happened upon a tombstone that read:

“Here lies John Sweeney, a decent man and an archaeologist.”

One asks the other: “Why the hell have they put two people in one grave?”


Bah! Humbug!

The Council for British Archaeology’s website cites  four reasons for parting with one’s ‘hard-earned’ in order to become a member which includes is this little gem:-

‘Encourage good practice in reporting archaeological finds.’

Which of course  raises a couple of salient points:-

1. This strongly suggests bad reporting practice actually exists in archaeology (as many of us already suspected).

2.  For the po-faced CBA to sniffily suggest detectorists are lacking in good reporting practice is unalloyed humbug especially when their website also carries this:-

 Evidence from the past is fragile and should not be damaged or lost in an attempt to generate financial profit for individuals.

To which I say….physician, first heal thyself! It’s entirely wholesome to generate or make a financial profit from the past; the CBA is not the arbiter of good taste, moral values, or ethical standards despite its lofty imaginings.

Being an educational charity, the CBA ought to follow its own dictum and gets its reporting house in order. Its high-horse posturing might be taken less risibly if for example it withdrew its tacit support for (as a start)  the widely discredited, bizarre, and  inaccurate, Artefact Erosion Counter, a cock-and-bull story masquerading as scientific. Presumably the AEC in the CBA’s eyes constitutes ‘…good practice in reporting archaeological finds.’ So much for archaeology being a science you might think.

Quite how, as the CBA puts it that: ‘The best way to extract evidence from the ground is via controlled, high-standard archaeological excavation,’ gels with both the aforementioned AEC and the CBA’s desire to, ‘Encourage good practice in reporting archaeological finds,’ is anyone’s guess. The CBA should ensure good practice among its members in reporting archaeological finds by aligning itself and its members to the PAS and by taking a leaf out of metal detecting’s book.

In the meantime, it’s still, Bah! Humbug!





If and when you visit the UK make it a point to stop at Regton Ltd., and tell Nigel  Ingram I sent you. His shop will knock you over.  Be sure to peruse the goods in this 365 tour…




Hypocrisy is great fodder for comedy (Mo Rocca)






Filed under Metal Detecting

17 responses to “A Few Words From Mr. Howland…

  1. Coin25

    Very Cool metal detecting shop. That’s good to know for the US folks who are visiting your area if they need parts or rent a unit to find what the Archie’s left behind.

    And I take it you still are not fond of archaeologists. They may not make much money but hey it is a way of life for some.
    Over here we are not fond of park supervisors telling us not to dig, but they don’t stop dogs from giving a good poop. One told me fertilizer is more costly. So I asked him when will you stop using that machine that airates the soil? It leaves holes all over and folks think it was done with golf clubs. He said they use it twice a year if they have time and the holes help the soil.

  2. Hi Coin25
    I like archaeologists…but I couldn’t eat a whole one! What really pisses me off are the likes of the CBA, who, posing as metal detecting experts dispense ‘advice’ on the subject to the gullible. Were we to do the same about archaeology they’d be right pissed off, wailing and gnashing teeth. If anyone wants advice about treasure hunting or metal detecting then ask those who know!

    All of metal detecting’s problems can be traced back to archaeologists. Fact! They hate us, and few have the moral fibre or guts to support what we do for fear of being ostracised.

    John H

  3. Bigtony

    John, you are probably right about the fact – “all of metal detecting’s problems can be tracked back to archaeologists”. What they didn’t tell the public is that most of the ancient stuff is burried very deep and recreational metal detecting doesn’t get close to it……..Case in point….NYC dug down 9 feet and found artifacts starting at 6 feet and older ones further down to the 9 foot level….there is no way that anyone using a metal detector can get down more than several inches —- bunch of crap I tell you….just lies to cover their asses….

    • Tony the following is an example of just how desperate and how vile our opposition is. Read the comments, and note that I, not John, added the Regton 365 view, but this Polish prick had to find a way to insult him. Just his usual “professional” manner.

      The individual who responds (the only one who ever responds) is another wannabe archaeologist who sneaks around metal detecting shops, often in disguise, looking for something to make a BF deal about. They are obsessed with degrading collectors, detectorists and putting them out of business. They are the cream of the crap…..


      • Yo Ricardo:
        Ha, ha, ha! What else can you expect from a man who hot-footed it from West to enjoy a hand-in-blouse relationship with Polish communism in 1986; a system that bankrolled his literary ambitions and set him up with a job; all simultaneously while indigenous Poles were striving to rid themselves of the murderous regime.

        By the way, on that brilliant virtual tour, I thought I spotted an elderly, spectacled, granddad rat lurking in a corner of Regton.

        All the best

  4. Nice one Mr B, firstly thank you for showing an interest in us once more, our hand drawn picture shows crudely the interesting ancient settlements in our vicinity, this is for interest only. You however have published a far more accurate map of a larger area complete with find spots, how utterly irresponsible for posting a detailed map of Roman Britain showing major finds (Hope Ordinance Survey don’t catch up with you).

  5. Coin25

    You got to be kidding me, this guy is a nut, stay away from him.

    Hanging a map about any area doesn’t mean anything. If they handed out driving directions to the spot that would be different, but that is not what is happening here. He probably has been at this site and detected there and now is trying to blame it on good folks.

    • Not really Tony, he just stirs the pot and thinks his colleagues will rush to defend him and his cause. Hasn’t happened yet…

      As for the “nut” thing, you are being much too kind.

      • Oh c’mon Ricardo, give the guy a break! He’s jealous of Regton’s shop and success.

        I imagine it’s galling for him, being a teacher of the English language with his own for-profit language school – presumably run along capitalist lines – to look at what the capitalist system achieved for Regton Ltd, the system he turned his back on to live in the workers Utopia. Talk about backing the wrong pony.

        On that basis, he’s unlikely ever to become a successful horse-racing tipster, in fact I don’t reckon he could tip rubbish. Nevertheless, his scribbling, his kindergarten name-calling (you’re not rotund), and his appalling grammar, is both amusing and entertaining.

        Don’t let’s ostracise him completely, but resurrect him occasionally if only to entertain the readers.

  6. What, bring back the Wally and Harry show? Surely you jest….

  7. “We are still in the dark, my request for an official statement seems not to be being treated there as a high priority issue.”


    Hard for this guy to understand that people are so tired of his crap that they flat out ignore him.

    • My God! How dare they? Don’t they know WHO he is? This influential (well, he thinks he is) Warsaw-based English teacher with an undistinguished record in archaeology. Aw sh*t ! That’s the reason why he’s always ignored. Hahahahahaha!

      Yeh, let’s feature him and his dopey mate occasionally for a little light relief and to remind some UK archaeological bodies the kind of individuals who speak on their behalf.

      • Alan Titchmarsh

        So here you go again, jeez… enough already. Mind you it was almost worth it for Mr Howland criticizing his ‘appalling grammar’, that’s a good one. Now, to get back to the matter in hand: how many times have you told us you’re not going to talk about him anymore?

      • Mr. Titchmarsh (is that the best you could come up with), I did indeed say I would not talk about HIM anymore, but this is MY blog and I reserve the right to change MY mind. Curious why my talking about HIM bothers YOU so much. Then again I have a pretty good idea who you are.

        Let me suggest you get that detector out of the closet and join the thousands of other civilian archaeologists. It’s a wonderful way to spend your time.

  8. Alan Titchmarsh

    The detector is already out of the closet, thank you. Does it occur to you that not all detectorists think that it’s worth responding to Mr Barford? And yet time and time again John Howland rises to the bait. Of course you are free to talk about what you like on your blog. I just wish you could encourage your UK friend to find something else to obsess him in his contributions.

  9. Oh, Alan, Alan, you so misunderstand me and deliberately methinks.

    I try to understand the vagaries of the mental disorder known as Narcissism and respond to those genuinely suffering from it with, care, love, and understanding.

    Those sufferers who will not respond to the kind of treatment currently available, are in my view, complete assholes!

    The English language teacher Barford and his rabid blog offerings along with those of his dopey mates deserve to be resurrected now and again if only for amusing relief and more than a few guffaws. Now, if he/they were important in the overall scheme of things then they might be treated with a little more gravitas. Until they can rid themselves of the image as being the haemorrhoids on the arse of archaeology they will remain entertaining clowns, including you!

    How’s the gardening? Oh, by the way, I detest your TV programme! Then again, I reckon you are posing behind an alias.

    Very worst wishes.

    John Howland

  10. Okay for the record…. I brought up Mr. Barford here, not John Howland. Next, I reserve the right to change my mind, and mention anyone and anything I want on Stout Standards. It is my personal blog.

    Finally and unfortunately because this has turned into a pissing match I am closing this thread. In the future if you don’t like the topic, the author, the dialogue, the grammar, the language, whatever….simply move on. The mouse is in your hand.

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