Archive for December, 2022


a very low estimate of metal-detecting in the United Kingdom, according to the Portable Antiquities Scheme

While I was assessing open-source data on metal-detecting for cultural goods and trying to generate “low estimates” of the numbers of artefact-hunters in various territories, in 2017, the “tentative”, “least worst…, rather than… best” data suggested that there might be around 27,897 in England and Wales, 1,447 in Scotland and 225 in Northern Ireland and, so, a total of 29,569 (so, around 30,000) across the United Kingdom.

Since then, I’ve been criticised in various ways, in public and in private, for those estimates and my methods for reaching them (including my attempt to account for illicit as well as licit artefact-hunters). Yet, now, according to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (as shared by the National Council for Metal Detecting and relayed by Paul Barford on Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues), “there are as many as 40,000 people metal-detecting in the UK”.

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