In a series of reactions on his blog, Paul Barford (and a commentator) have questioned the results of our study " An empirical examination of metal detecting ". Yet, apparently, they both have seriously misunderstood the point of our paper. Much like Sam Hardy, they seem to not understand the difference between comparing data of the same kind for the purpose of deductive hypothesis-testing and 'estimating' numbers of metal detectorists based on different kinds of data; and why such hypothesis-testing is needed for coming up with better solutions for regulating metal detecting than archaeology, as a profession in general, seems to have come up with as of yet.
Thus, also as further explanation, we would like, in the following, to respond to these comments. Not that we believe it will help Paul Barford, since it is our feeling that he has long dug himself into too deep a hole to be able to get out again; or even see the need to stop shoveling. Rather, it hopefully will allow somewhat more open-minded readers to better understand why our results, and the conclusions we have drawn and actions we have taken based on them, are both helpful and suitable to move forward the debate on how to best regulate metal detecting; and possibly even to find more effective solutions for actually doing so.