We suggest financing repairs to your historic church by selling the right to dig up, take home and sell on EBay lots of your other history is irrational and damages both history and your good name. Here are 5 things those who suggested it may not have mentioned:
1. The Irish Culture Minister recently said : “Archaeological objects must be excavated in a structured scientific manner, with careful recording of their association with other objects, structures, features and soil layers. Failure to expertly record the context from which an object has been removed results in an irreplaceable loss of knowledge of the past.”
2. English Heritage has guidelines on how to run proper professional metal detecting surveys that maximise knowledge-gain and minimise damage. As you’ll see, your event is nothing like that.
3. The Council for British Archaeology say: “As long as it remains safe then it is better to leave the evidence for future generations to investigate with better techniques and with better-informed questions to ask. Any disturbance of the relationship between finds and the features they relate to within the ground will result in a loss of knowledge unless it is undertaken carefully using archaeological techniques and with full recording. Digging for objects can destroy archaeological evidence. Even objects apparently adrift in plough-soil have an archaeological setting.”
4. It costs about £1000 a day for archaeologists to attend “detecting rallies” like yours (so says a County Council adjacent to you) and they come to mitigate the damage not because they approve – ask them!
5. If you wish to get involved in proper Community Archaeology there are lots of other ways - see here. They can even involve lots of metal detectorists, it’s not hard, here’s an excellent current example.
On the other hand, your event is perfectly legal in Britain (although it would get you jailed in most countries!) and one delighted detectorist has written that your group are “true pioneers and their joint venture could well lead to other similar events provided they remain courageous enough to cock-a-snoop at supercilious archaeologists” while another (in America!) says that “anyone that would wish an event like this to fail is one sub-par human being” ! So the choice is yours. You can be the toast of artefact hunters. Or you can heed archaeologists.
You poster says: “Do you want to be there when the exciting discoveries are being made? Then come along and watch the detectorists in action” and “Now Worlingworth gets its opportunity to make HISTORY!” Yuk! That sounds to us the sort of misplaced concept of Archaeology that could only have come from artefact hunters. So we suggest you have a long private chat with some archaeologists. (You’ll find not one of them will be willing to supply you with a quote saying “this event is harmless and we support it” so you can draw your own conclusions!)