In September 2014, Scottish detectorist Derek McLennan found a large Viking hoard, the largest of its kind found in the United Kingdom and Scotland’s finest treasure discovery. At that time it was called the ‘Dumfriesshire Hoard’, but is now known as the ‘Galloway Hoard’. I reported the fact in a blog post of October 2014 followed by an update at the bottom of that post in November of the same year. Derek wrote exclusive articles about the hoard in the UK Searcher magazines of December 2014 and January 2015. The latter two articles are reproduced here, courtesy of Harry Bain, the editor of The Searcher magazine.
In a six-page article in the current (June 2016) edition of the Searcher magazine, entitled Be Careful What you Wish for – the Continuing Story of the Galloway Hoard, Derek brings us up-to-date with what is currently happening in his ‘long, frustrating, political and very, very complicated story. In a measured and dispassionate way he relates his experiences in a story that should be read by all detectorists.
The newspaper heraldscotland picked up on the story that can be seen here: Metal detectorist who found biggest treasure find ‘sidelined’. Please read it. There is a response from Treasure Trove Scotland and I sense that they are not very pleased! Don’t forget to read the comments right at the bottom of the page. The Times headlined, Detectorist’s delight at finding treasure loses its lustre over time …
Derek’s article is positive in many ways and encourages detectorists to do the right thing when finding artefacts of significance, From what I have read, he ‘respects’ the system in England and Scotland, but is rather dismayed at how he has been treated. Wasn’t this a good opportunity for the ‘authorities’ to recognise the way in which Derek has handled this whole affair and present it as an exemplar to other detectorists of the correct thing to do. They have missed a trick there!
With a find of this importance, those professionals in authority should have ensured that the integrity and honesty of the detectorist was treated in a fully transparent way. Derek may be miffed at the lack of communication, and so would any of us. Being sidelined, missing out on important stages and kept in the dark doesn’t bode well for any future significant Scottish discoveries.
At the moment the authorities in Scotland appear to have dropped a rather large ball. They should take a hard look at themselves and learn from mistakes. Only then will significant change will happen for the better … all those involved in historic and archaeological discovery will undoubtably benefit. Derek’s second part of the Searcher article will be in the July issue, due out on the 27 May.
NB: This blog relates my own thoughts as a former detectorist. I express them on behalf of myself and no other person or organisation.
UPDATE on CLICKER
In January 2014 I reported on a metal die-cast toy known as a clicker. There has been an interesting update.