"This scandal has made utter fools of Messrs Barford, Swift, Knell, and Gill, not to mention the Council for British Archaeology I am delighted to say, and gives lie to their the slur that metal detecting damages the heritage."Apart from a cringeworthy use of the tired idiom "not to mention" to prefix a mention, the non sequitur twist in his attempt at logic would tie a steel girder in knots. According to Howland, the fact that the storage of archaeological items has been insufficiently funded means that metal detecting does not damage our heritage. Huh? Sorry, I'm still trying to get my head round this one. I'll get back to you when I work out what on earth he's been taking.
I suspect from the BBC article that the items remain "unclassified" because museums lack the funds to process and store them but Howland unhesitatingly lays the blame on archaeology itself. His answer to the critical shortage of financial resources in the cultural sector is to starve archaeology of money altogether (he comes to the startling conclusion that the "last thing archaeology needs is more money") and instead to plough it into the PAS so that it can do a better job of "properly recording and classifying OUR heritage". The word "heritage" here of course means not the fruits of scholarly research but the decontextualised bits of metal that detectorists like Howland reap a reward from by digging them up out of the ground.
Yeah right, who needs archaeology and academic site interpretation? A whole load of recorded and classified bits of metal ripped out of the landscape is going to do our heritage far more good. I can see other countries such as Italy or Greece gasping in envy and admiration at the sheer genius of our priority.
But wait, didn't he say "OUR heritage" (with "OUR" in capital letters)? Does that mean that apart from a few thousand detectorists, the rest of the over 63 million inhabitants of the UK also get a say? You know, the over 63 million people who democratically choose to pay wages to archaeologists but not to detectorists? Those people? He might find that a large proportion of thinking people would feel that the "scandal" is that cultural institutions such as museums and archaeology are severely underfunded, and that of course was the point the BBC article was actually making.