Letter: In support of the metal detector

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From Dr Michael Heyworth

Sir: It is unfortunate that Rebecca Fowler's article on the proposed new Treasure Bill and the Department of National Heritage's discussion document on the reporting of archaeological finds ("Law may soon be watching the detectorists", 1 March) uses such sensational language to describe reactions to the proposals.

Neither proposal will have any significant impact on metal detector users - many of whom are motivated by an interest in their past and already work closely with archaeologists to further our understanding of the historic environment. It is difficult to understand how anyone could not support simple measures which will enable us to learn more about Britain's past which, after all, belongs to all of us.

It is unfortunate that Ms Fowler gives the impression that landowners are unhappy with the proposals. In fact there are real advantages for them - especially in the clarification which the Bill brings to the current situation where a trespasser can claim a reward for material removed from a landowner's property without his/her permission while the landowner receives nothing. Perhaps this is why the Treasure Bill is supported by both the Country Landowners Association and the National Farmers' Union?

Yours faithfully,

Michael Heyworth

Acting Director

Council for British Archaeology

York

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