The Government recognise that there may he potentially serious implications, involving difficult issues, arising from the finding and the sale of the Hambledon iron age harness. The Council for British Archaeology has been invited to meet officers of the relevant departments to discuss those matters.
Although the Hambledon iron age harness is not the central political issue of the day, is it acceptable that guys with metal detectors should swan around selling the nation's iron age heritage without even revealing the archaeological context in which they have made their findings?
I share the hon. Member's worries about this matter. The scheduled sites are already protected by law, but the difficulty of policing them is extreme. Damage has been caused to the Sutton Hoo site this year although it is a protected area. No reputable amateur or professional archaeologist would behave in that way.