Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Something to look into

From reading various blogs it would appear that there are some who say that detectorists should stop pulling items from the 10 or so inches of soil depth (can be deeper rarely) as this takes the item out of their  'archaeological context' but others who say an archaeological dig would just scrape up the top spoil and dump it in a heap so detectorists are finding stuff that would never otherwise have been found even on an archaeological dig.

Is a archaeological dig with detectorists the ideal solution although I guess this again presupposes the archaeologists know where to dig in the first place and can get permission.

I appreciate these are not new questions but they are new to me as well I'm newish to detecting.


  1. You could start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeological_field_survey

  2. "Is a archaeological dig with detectorists the ideal solution"

    With detectors, certainly.

    If they are held not by archaeologists but by competent unpaid volunteers so much the better.

    It isn't new, it has been laid out in great detail by EH in Our Portable Past

  3. Thanks both for the above, I'll take a look.

  4. Some commercial archaeological units do use detectors to search soil strips ,sometimes using volunteer detectorists or in house diggers using a cheap machine. However the problem is the way it is done. Soils stripping done by a 360 excavator bites up to 50cms at a time and detectors do not reach that depth so items are only recovered from the top 10 to 15 cms. This of course only finds the metallic items and not the lithics or ceramic remains which then end up on the spoil heap.I suppose it is a better than nothing approach and at least recovers some of the material though it is not common practice to do this. Many contracting units pay lip service to any imposition to detect soil stripping placed on them by the excavation briefs and so is often doen in a piecemeal fashion usually with the cheapest detector available in the hands of a distinterested inexperienced digger.

  5. Tell you what, if you want to "find out the truth", why not cut and paste that last comment to the BAJR site and get the archaeologists' reaction to what "Steve" said?


    I am sure they'd be interested in how a detectorist views their competence. Dare you? I must say this does not tally at all with my own experience.

  6. Thanks Paul just leaving work for the day so will ponder your request later or tomorrow.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I am not questioning anyones competance merely pointing out the facts where relevant to the topic. Most archaeological excavation carried out in the UK is constrained by a commercial system where time is money and jobs are won at the lowest tender in stiff competition with a number of equally hungry contractors. Consequently there is pressure to make a profit and the archaeology will suffer when corners are cut to make money or to satisfy the pressure from the developer , who views an archaeological unit as merely another subcontractor to be pushed to get results and off site asap. There is no point in running a Unit at a loss as it will soon go under so this is the real world where difficult decisions have to be made. Its no use running back to the developer and telling them that you need more money to continue digging just because your tender price was a bit too lean and you have just found more unexpected archaeology to deal with - if there is no contingency money available then profits will suffer as the Development Control Archaeologist will still insist that the archaeology is satisfactorily assessed and have no interest in a units difficulties in making money out of the job. Archaeology suffers beacuse the commercial units are often trying to price a job on something they cannot see except from often inadequate evaluation results with the threat of a competitor wanting the same job so the pressure is really on.
    I am sure many on BAJR would agree with the difficulties that units face ,but as dissent can be a career killer in archaeology, few will step out of line and say what really goes on. Real world real problems i am afraid which is not too much of an issue in archoblog land.

  9. Thanks Steve. I have considered Paul's request but having read the bajr forum I note there has already been a good discussion on points similar to Steves. Certainly worth reading the entire thread at http://www.bajrfed.co.uk/showthread.php?7958-Metallic-Finds-Rates-on-excavations

  10. Apologies for the non clicky link.

  11. Right, so "Steve" what do you propose should be done about the problems you cite? A ban on machines so developers in order to fulfil the requirements of the brief, have to pay for manual removal of topsoil, or what? Or just blanket metal detecting to get out the shiny bits? And then what do you do with the latter? How do you incorporate them into the research programme? Who pays for that?

    Detectorbloke, the thread on metallic retrieval on BAJR was of course not about this problem at all. I suggest that you post this discussion over there anyway. They should be aware of what responsible metal detectorists are saying about them, don't you think? Or do you hope they do not become aware of it so the discussion of their work can go on behind their backs?

  12. Thanks Paul, before your last comment I had linked this blog and why on the relevant post in the BAJR Forum. I think however as it was my first post on the BAJR forum then it has to go via the moderator before getting posted.


  13. The issues i have raised represent the unintended consequences of the practices adopted to deal with developed led excavations. Time is money and a compromise has been reached whereby the topsoil/subsoil artefactual load is sacrificed in order to be able to excavate and evaluate the stratified archaeology. There are no easy answers and in recent years in recognition of this continuing loss of resource, many County Archaeologists/ Development Control Archaeologists have adopted strategies to in part address the problem. Usually this takes the form of detecting stripped layers and either plotting these by GPS or assigning them a topsoil or subsoil context number in bulk. A general reference can be added to the excavation report and some of the more archaeologically important items selected to benefit from further post ex work or simply drawn/photographed/described for the final report. Now this may well result in an abundance of "shiny" bits ,but a skilled searcher can also collect visually lithic and ceramic items on a similar scale to fieldwalking.
    All the finds have some bearing on the site understanding and it would seem remiss to seek to evaluate/date/phase a site simply on the small finds discovered in the percentage allocations given to the various excavated features.. Research programmes are only as good as the information fed into them and to leave topsoil/subsoil finds out, is in the wider context to devalue the overall understanding of the site to be or being excavated. Fieldwalking for example as a part of the evaluation process is often done without using metal detectors to add a metal finds dimension to the results which is where the bias in small finds types and therefore information on the putative site begins. Thankfully this is changing ,but the integration needs to be managed carefully as one pot makes a lot of sherds as does the knapping of flints which at times can make a highly localised abundance of flakes and general debitage whilst one coin or a brooch dropped is just that. Some projects have benefitted from a more concentrated metal detecting approach over areas of cropmarks highlighted by geophysics, by area coverage or using transect closer together. The traditional 10m transects tend not to produce useful results. However done, all finds from all methods of evaluation can be easily correlated with a GPS unit to provide meaningful assemblages of information/distribution by period or find type and so on.
    As for payments it is up to the DC Officer to specify what techniques and surveys need to be carried out when writing the brief for the project and all contractors will be tendering from the same specification documents. The developer pays for the successful tender to ensure that the archaeological planning conditions are satisfied, unless he gets an archaeological consultant on board who's job is then to find ways to reduce what archaeology is carried out ,but that is another story.
    However a project deals with the topsoil/subsoil issue, it only partly addresses the problem and on some busy sites such as your typical RB settlement ,many thousands of small finds etc will inevitably end up on the spoil heaps. Things are getting better ,but former policies to just dump the lot have lost an immense amount of small finds which now grace many a development sites green areas, flowerbeds, topping off the local landfill sites, infilling old quarries or ended up being sold on to other developers many many miles from the original source area.
    Now i have answered your questions, though i know you already have the answers ,but i hope my comments will help others reading this blog understand what goes on.

  14. Thank you Steve for taking the time to respond. I can't comment on what you say as I don't know enough to, but it does seem to chime with what I have read elsewhere. By saying this I am not in anyway justifying what I do as a detectorist etc it is merely to learn more about the pros and cons of both detecting and archaeology.

  15. Thank you "Steve" for that. Here in Poland, metal detector surveys have for two decades or more been in quite common use in both evaluation work as well as development mitigation, often being specified in the excavation permit. I wrote a paper on the pitfalls of their use in excavations [in Polish in 2004, I think it was]. I took the view that it could produces a bias in the sample, but generally there are situations when it is vital, just as there are others where it is not. It's not terribly helpful to the research design of an excavation of a Neolithic flint mine knapping debitage dump for example. An assemblage of loose bits of nineteenth century Austro-Hungarian metalwork from the topsoil above the flint and chalk layers may be very nice, but hardly add anything to the appreciation of the processes involved in the neolithic flint mining. Neither are they going to tell us much about nineteenth century landuse, without any other survey data from a wider area, are they? And how will you do that as part of development control of a site of limited extent? So then do you laboriously collect at your contractee's expense "data" (these are not data) which cannot be used in any way at all, either now or in the forseeable future?

    Which brings us to what IS the topic of the discussion to which you come, which is about the responsible collecting and reporting of data from topsoil spreads by artefact hunters in order to use the surface evidence across the broader landscape as a source of information. Several bloggers seem to regard what you are saying as some "great victory" in that they take what you say to mean, that if archaeologists in certain circumstances do not collect data from the topsoil, so they do not have to either as apart of their erosive collecting activities (which seems an odd definition of 'responsibility' to me). Is that what you are saying?

    Surely the whole basis of archaeological support for artefact hunting in the UK is that if done responsibly, it produces archaeologically useful information. If not, it is just erosion and destruction. That is the "official" view. Perhaps you disagree? Certainly it seems that certain metal detecting bloggers here seem to be taking what you've said that way. But then, let us discuss what is and what is not "archaeologically useful" and how that usefulness can be augmented. Te alternative is to accept that in fact artefact hunters just want to be left alone to "do their thing" and hang the archaeological record they are exploiting.

    My personal view is that, since we accept (for the moment) that artefact hunting is going on, we should all of us be striving to make sure that principles of "best practice" are applied to the greatest extent possible (that is after all what the PAS was set up to achieve). That means recruiting their searches to everybody's benefit (rather than just the acquisition of collectables by individuals in what is, after all, a minority group) which means the best achievable standards of observation and reporting of the basic information, what is found where with what.

    Therefore it is pretty disturbing to see comments such as yours (in effect, "jobsworth archies machine it all off anyway") being used by certain metal detectorists as justification for saying that those who urge higher standards in a totally unrelated hobby are in some way "mistaken" when they urge trying to attain higher standards than we observe at present. Is that your intention coming onto a metal detecting blog and saying such things? If so, why?

  16. Thank you Paul. I trust that I'm not included in the some detectorists using what Steve said as justification for anything. I have been very conscious to avoid this and is why I said in my post that 'there were some who say' as I was simply interested in what some seem to be saying and would look into it more to see if their view had any validity.

  17. Thanks Paul for detailing the Polish situation though i presume the use of detectors on evals or excavations is done by the archaeological team. Obviously with respect to what archaeology is expected to be under a development area does dictate methodology including the use of metal detectors. However there are situations where the unexpected comes up such as Anglo Saxon burials on Barrows or Ring ditches and so on.These can often be missed in the trial trenching and only discovered when the machine bucket goes through one and shades of green appear. 19thC material is not really a priority and detectorists searching soil strips are asked to use common sense when bagging up small finds so there is no need to bother with the Victorian penny of the sherds of Willow pattern. Only finds of consequence with respect to the excavations brief are bagged for GPS plots.
    There can often be other information of the general area either from previous archaeological work or increasingly from PAS data. This information as you know will be dealt with at the desk top report stage and added to as evaluation work progresses. I dont really need to go into detail as you are already aware of what procedures are used. However for many sites topsoil/subsoil layers are still not taken into account which is a loss of resource whatever opinion you or i have on this issue we may have to disagree the extent and circumstances behind this.

    Over the years there have been a lot of concern expressed that archaeologists have and continue to preside over the loss of data by the practices adopted to deal with topsoil/subsoil material whilst others in the profession attack detectorists for not reporting topsoil finds or even searching for them in the first place. It does seem a bit rich especially as the practice of dumping the topsoil assemblages has contributed to a huge loss of accumulated information. However it is no use dwelling over what has gone before as no one can undo the damage done nor as was the case with the archaeological worlds condemnation that finds being made in the 70/80's by detectorists were of no value to the archeological record. All that happened is that detectorists had no choice ,but to avoid co-operation as few outside Norfolk and one or two other areas, wanted to bother. That was the biggest archaeological own goal ever and the information that could have been made available then has gone.
    Bloggers will and have made their own observation of my comments as have you. I am of the opinion that all ploughsoil finds in an arable context should be recorded as this information is directly attributable to the landscape archaeological record. So much material is being destroyed and damaged by invasive agricultural techniques and orthodox archaeological methods are not able or have the reason or funding to recover this material so what is the answer - ban agriculture or find the funding for all arable land to be evaluated by all the methodology at hand ?
    Reporting finds is a choice issue as the material is owned by the land owner and it is up to them to allow this to be done. There is no compulsion to report and logic suggest that if we were to go down that road the resources required to deal with this would just not be available. We have the PAS who's FLO's i read are busy recording an average of 20 or so finds a week. There are no easy answers to this. Best Practice is one utopian ideal which though sounding good on paper, is impossible to achieve in the real world because of simple resource issues.

    Now as for disturbing comments - i relate to the real world situations and they have been useful in provoking debate of contentious issues. There is always the chance that words or phrases will be taken out of context and used in other less helpful ways. That is the risk. Some of these new detecting blog sites offer a neutral domian to air views because their owners seem to be operating in a fair and balanced way in contrast to some others. That is why i chose to enter discussions here.

  18. (1 of 2) "Steve" thanks. In Poland, there are employment legislation and insurance problems with employing outside volunteers on professional projects on building sites. The legal position of hobbyists vis-à-vis archaeological sites is somewhat different from the UK. Our archaeologists however are very skilled in the use of all manner of technical equipment.

    > I dont really need to go into detail as you are already aware of what procedures are used. <
    Yes, I am, despite only being "marooned right in the middle of Europe" where you seem to think we are still at the “pointy stick” stage of development of archaeology: http://diaryofadetectorist.blogspot.com/2014/03/just-to-clear-things-up-impersonation.html?showComment=1395431468290#c7576462690425041113
    perhaps you might like to consider that it is the UK which is the little island with curious local customs offshore from the continent and not the other way around. You seem blissfully unaware that we have commercial archaeology here too, and massive discussions about it. I’ve co-organized a few conferences on it myself (including speakers from the UK). That you do not know about them is rather the problem of your own preconceptions than mine.

    As for a “loss of resource”, in archaeology a resource is only useful if it is usable, no? A trashed resource produces trash information. When the database is corrupted, “better than nothing data” are not reliable data, are they? What then is the rationale for collecting them at all when that uses up resources that can be used for analysing data not corrupted? I think this is a challenge when we investigate a site by excavation.

    You mentioned my close involvement (no, not just ‘blunted my trowel there’) at “some of the very first large scale excavations on gravel quarry sites in Essex”, perhaps you are at least a little acquainted with the problems of processing the already vast amount of information from that pioneering effort since then? Back in the 1970s, being deeply involved in fieldwalking projects at the time elsewhere, I was thinking about the issue of the topsoil data from precisely that site, but that’s for another time and place. There is a bit about it in the upcoming site report as I recall, though I've not seen the final draft yet.

    “for many sites topsoil/subsoil layers are still not taken into account which is a loss of resource whatever opinion you or i have on this issue we may have to disagree the extent and circumstances behind this”.
    Well, I think we will because you seem to be neglecting the whole issue of surface survey and landscape archaeology, which is what I am talking about on my blog and these metal detectorists are questioning.

    For many sites preserved in situ or surviving now mainly in relict form, the surface evidence is the primary source of information. Surely you accept that excavated sites do not hang loose in a vacuum. In order to be seen as functioning within a socio-economic system, knowledge of their place in the dynamics of the spatial, chronological as well as environmental development of the cultural landscape is essential. I do not think therefore it is at all valid or true to say that topsoil assemblages do not matter and are “not taken into account” by archaeology anywhere. Particularly this does not apply to the UK where approaches to landscapes are fundamental to the development of the present form of the discipline and which differentiate British archaeology from that of many other regions (in several regions of the American continent for example).

    If irresponsible or poorly documented artefact hunting by anyone trashes the surface evidence, leaving a damaged site and no record, then damage is being done. What actually is wrong with me pointing that out and saying that this should not be happening as a result of irresponsible artefact hunting and collecting? It’s a crying shame that very few of my British colleagues are saying the same thing (see the insulting BAJR thread).

  19. (2 of 2)
    >> others in the profession attack detectorists for not […] searching for them in the first place.<<
    Eh? So what do these professionals feel artefact hunters are doing with their machines out in the fields if not searching the areas accessible to them for collectables? Please enlarge, who, what where?

    As for complaints about "low reporting levels", well again, please give me some details about UK professional archaeologists who are openly saying this. Let's collect the references together.

    I do not accept that, if a landowner forbids recording, that it is in any way “responsible detecting” to just walk off with the finds anyway. That’s just using the landowner as an excuse for selfish behaviour. If we are treating responsible artefact hunting as a manner of data retrieval (as you urge), then the (truly as opposed to pantomime) responsible detectorist does not waste time hoiking finds unrecorded from an unreportable site where the details are lost to everyone forever, but would move to search an area where the results can be made available for public benefit.

    I do not think anyone looking objectively would see this excuse for not recording as in any way constituting “responsible detecting” – and I assume that it is only “responsible detecting” you’d support. So let’s define it better. Perhaps a more stringent Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting, bringing in aspects like this is needed?

    >> logic suggest that if we were to go down that road the resources required to deal with this would just not be available. <<
    Hmm. But, instead of changing the law to protect the majority of sites sites from mining for collectables, the UK has have gone down that road, and the PAS fifth aim (fulfilled, they said) was to identify those resource – so they did not in fact do that, did they?

    Suppose archaeologists, instead of sitting back passively and saying (as you are now) “it’s not really their fault (what can we do?)”, started kicking up a fuss – along with Responsible Detectorists - about the information loss? While it is a problem which is marginalised and dismissed (that BAJR thread), then there will be no resources beyond that needed for that derisory token effort of the twenty objects a week to which you refer. It’s easy to say “can’t do anything” as an excuse not to try. So, for example, if detectorist want to enjoy some freedoms in return for taking some responsibility, what are they willing to contribute in return to this costly process of mitigating information loss?

    >> Best Practice is one utopian ideal <<
    No, its not if responsible detectorists are half as responsible as their supporters make out. The UK has one of the most ineffective archaeological site protection legislations in Europe. If we are indeed determined not to see total trashing of the archaeological record under the noses of the UK’s archaeologists, best practice has to be obtained. That though requires effort on all sides, and also pointing out and open discussion in many media and by all sides of where problems exist. Where do they exist “Steve”? Just in machine use by archaeologists? Isn’t that just a distraction from where the real problems lie, and an unwillingness to even make an effort to face any of them?

    1. Thanks Steve and Paul. A lot of comments on this thread which will take a bit of time to digest.

  20. "I do not accept that, if a landowner forbids recording, that it is in any way “responsible detecting” to just walk off with the finds anyway."

    Indeed. Nor to detect there at all. Common sense, PAS and common decency all say so..

    I must say I'm increasingly perplexed why these new blogs about "responsible detecting" aren't obsessed with, and constantly talking about, the avoidance of "information loss". You can't be responsible if you don't report everything, to maximum accuracy. Why aren't those who don't do so being condemned? It's hardly a matter to be "explored" or ignored, it's pretty obvious: in heritage terms people who don't report have precisely the same impact upon history as nighthawks - but on a much greater scale. So say so please, over and over. Not doing so is not "responsible".

  21. "Best Practice is one utopian ideal"

    How does this fit in with "most detectorists behave well"? The answer is it doesn't does it? It implies that if the irresponsible ones reported their finds the numbers would increase massively.

    So it's saying there's massive under-reporting. Shouldn't "responsible" detecting blogs be expressing outrage about that?

  22. Well, you said you wanted to "look into" this complex topic. But I think "Steve" whoever he is, has still not really addressed here the question at the core of this which is the "loss of resource" to which he keeps referring, but not developing, and the issue of surface survey which was at the core of my original remarks at the start of this thread of discussion which he is now attacking from the side, but not actually addressing face on.

    I think this is important because on one other "responsible detecting" blog, the owner seems to be lapping up snippets of what "Steve" says and hastily drawing the conclusion that everything else is "lies". So, as "Steve" says, it is necessary to have "a neutral domian to air views because their owners seem to be operating in a fair and balanced way in contrast to some others". That's you I guess.

  23. @heritageaction, yes I think there is under-reporting, probably massive. I would be interested in your comments on the non metal detecting parts of Steve's comments.

  24. "I would be interested in your comments on the non metal detecting parts of Steve's comment"

    I'm curious to know why. Where does that lie on "a journey to discover the many meanings of what being a responsible detectorist might be"?

    There are several venues discussing archaeological practice, no doubt "Steve" writes there too, possibly under another name, but as we all know, blogs focussing on responsible detecting are few and far between.

  25. Good question, as you have stated the bajr have been a little quiet re a response, perhaps due to the question no longer being there and I was merely interested in some more responses to what Steve said. However on reflection as you say there will be other places where this is discussed.

    This post has been interesting however in answer to your question I'm not honestly sure where it lies at the moment.

    Not very helpful I know.

  26. "heritageaction, yes I think there is under-reporting, probably massive."

    Do you know you are one of a miniscule number of detectorists who have ever said that, in public anyway. Maybe the only one, I'm not certain.

    Dig a trench.

    The grim truth is: it is not possible to have a useful, constructive discussion other than from that starting point. Yet on the silly bases (by detectorists") that "unity is strength" and "if we concede that point metal detecting will be banned" and (by PAS and some archaeologists) "if we say it a lot of them will punish us by not recording" everyone pretends it's not true.

    Even two successive ruddy Culture Secretaries have said you're totally wrong! Welcome to being right! Brace yourself for extreme abuse though.There are other detectorists like you but they occupy deep trenches too. Do find them.

  27. Surely the (original) question was (1) IS there archaeological information contained in the top ten inches of sites (I understand you mean ploughed sites) which is lost if observation and recording are not of a high enough standard? and
    (2) if when a site is excavated does the fact that topsoil is removed mechanically automatically mean that "any information is better than no information"? (and I presume that actually is meant as whether a site is excavated or not, but then that applies to sites investigated by surface survey).

    And actually this anonymous"Steve" or the three-post BAJR thread did not actually address those two questions of yours in any systematic way, which is why I wondered why you wanted to go off on a tangent rather than focussing on the questions posed.

    an archaeological dig would just scrape up the top spoil and dump it in a heap so detectorists are finding stuff that would never otherwise have been found even on an archaeological dig.

  28. There has been a new response just now on the bajr forum.


  29. @heritage action - isn't the PAS' attempts to expand its recording base via increasing it's volunteers an implied acknowledgement that more items are being found than being recorded? although i guess it's the scale you are talking about.

  30. How the comments have expanded. Sorry ,but some of us have to work and i am afraid i dont have the luxury of the amount of free time to write on blogs as you do Paul. One comment i will make is to put down the suggestion that i am commenting on other blogs under an another name - sorry i am not. A few short answers to your questions from the 24th.
    I am perfectly aware of the commercial archaeological situation in the EU.

    Resources are variable in quality as you say and ploughsoil tends to be a homogenised mixture of material all out of context and much of fragmentary. However who has the right to consign all of this to oblivion without record and it would seem anomalous to censure detectorists for recovering items from this resource on farmland and not report it when archaeology regards this resource as worthless and dumps it with regularity. Archaeology is happy to allow the resource to be trashed by modern farming methods without much complaint and then soon as a detectorist recovers some of it archaeologists complain when in reality they are unlikley to ever examine the same area unless it is developed. At that stage the topsoil resource will be dumped and the very finds the detectorist was searching for gone with it unrecorded. So it would seem that a detectorists reporting finds from plough soil is doing a better job than the professionals.

    Unlike much of the EU England and Wales do not have state ownership of archeological finds and draconian laws in place to stop non professionals from doing so. Ownership is vested in the landowner and the state has only decided to claim ownership of the shiny bits yet in doing so pays the going rate to sequestrate a landowners property. As such for the non Treasure bits the landowner can do with them what he likes and if that included non reporting then so be it. Whether this is used as an excuse by finders is an unknown quantity and an easy charge to level at detectorists.
    Of course i support responsible metal detecting and it is regretable that in order to secure funding and political support the PAS and the BM have gone down the road of publicising the bling with unhelpful TV programmes and so on. All this does is bring the mercenary elements into the hobby who are unlikley to be responsible.

    The problem with protecting the majority of sites as you suggest ,would be who is going to pay for that increased level of protection, how will it be administered and so on and what for ? Would you want to see these new areas put down to grass and compensate the arable farmer who now has to retrain as a sheep farmer ? Common sense would suggest that such protection would not add to the archaeological record as protection would also put constraints on archeaological examination of a plough damaged and eroded resource which has already been identified as the material that would be bulldozed and dumps if the professionals ever got their hands on it through development.

    In later comments we seem to be going down the road again that suggests that all finds made by detectorist could be deal with if reported for recording. So far all we have is a very lack lustre PAS who's FLO's are restricted in how much they can process by a simple lack of funds and personnel. It is not a detectorists fault that they cannot report their finds and you seem to suggest it is the detectorists who are to blame for this.
    Well i have probably missed several points to reply to and for some we would only have to agree to disagree on the detail.
    I am sure there will be lots of extra comment generated from whatever i say and of course that is the intent of the exercise to crowd me out with more and more comment to respond to. As i said i dont have the luxury of the time to do that as others seem to have.

  31. Hi Steve. Ty kindly for your reply. Your input into this thread has been extremely helpful and i appreciate the time you have taken to comment. I hope you don't feel crowded out, this blog is not about winners and losers, us and them etc which is a feeling one gets on other blogs. It's hopefully just a forum for debate. Perhaps its time to close the thread and pull out some conclusions which can be used to move forward.

    I'm not sure if I'm honest :)

  32. Hi Detectorbloke. It is probably time to draw a line under this thread as the dynamic duo will keep it going for as long as possible with question after question. I had been warned that this would happen the aim being to take up as much of an individuals time as possible in responding to their questions. I understand that something like this was done with the old PAS Forum until it was closed.
    Its alright if you have no work to do except blog. I feel i have made my points and will of course chip in with relevant comments as and when a thread needs it.
    I note that my lack of an instant reply has been mentioned on Pauls blog so i will put my tin hat on and flak jacket and await the incoming.

  33. Hi Steve, yup I think you are right. There have been some interesting further posts supporting your position on the bajr forums. It's been a good discussion but think I need some time to look at all the points raised and then move forwards.