While the archaeological blogosphere has raised valid questions about the methodology of a new study that equates the passage of restrictive laws with declines in the discovery of archaeological sites, that study still asks an important question: Do such laws work or do they just award a monopoly to a chosen few state-sponsored archaeologists and so ultimately discourage reported finds?
Or, stated another, more affirmative way, would a less restrictive approach that actually encourages the public to report their finds and work with professional archaeologists be a better way forward?
CPO suspects so and hopes that a British Museum own study will help elucidate that issue. According to the BM's website, that study asks the following:
Comparing the metal detected data with other forms of archaeological information, this research seeks to determine whether the information gathered by the Portable Antiquities Scheme can be used to tell us about previously unknown Roman sites, and whether it can add to our knowledge of those Roman sites that are already known.