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One year ago today English Heritage launched an excellent new initiative against Heritage Crime. However, accounts of the fight against Heritage Crime in Britain are like the curate’s egg,  good in parts. The crimes are escalating, which is bad but the initiatives are all very encouraging as they are obviously sincere and mean business, which is good. Then again, the very nature of such crimes means people are rarely caught red handed and once they’ve left the scene it’s hard to gather evidence – so the prosecution rate is low.

That sometimes even applies when things look pretty clear cut it seems. [We are still upset about Twinstead where a number of cherubs departed the scene with what they knew was patently State property and were told by the investigating Cop “The police are not looking to criminalise people needlessly. All I want is for the entire hoard to be declared, a decent article in the Searcher and the reputation of us detectorists to be restored. All I want is a sensible resolution to the whole situation. Please feel free to contact me. I am your friend not your enemy, I enjoy this hobby and do not want to see it needlessly tarnished!”]

So the British campaign against Heritage Crime really is a curate’s egg – good intentions, great plan, many successes but in each case not always. So anything that can help would be a help. Which is why we were pleased to come across ADIA , the website of an organisation in the States that provides training in “archaeological damage investigation and assessment”. We have no idea how much training British heritage policemen and heritage professionals are given in this field nor how realistic the AIDA training really is but we thought it worthwhile to highlight it in full, see below.

It seems unlikely the British training covers so many subjects or that expanding it to embrace some of them wouldn’t improve the overall  condition of the curate’s egg. [It would certainly help counteract the nasty taste in our mouths that Twinstead has left!]

ADIA training on archaeological resource protection issues

Archaeological Violation Investigation Class: Three-day class for law enforcement officers,
archaeologists, and prosecutors providing training on all aspects of the investigation and prosecution of archaeological crimes, involving either terrestrial or submerged resources. Topics covered in the class:

  • An Overview of Archaeological Resource Crime
  • The Looting, Collecting and Trafficking Network
  • ARPA and Other Federal Statutes
  • Archaeological Crime Scene Investigation (classroom session and field exercise)
  • Archaeological Damage Assessment
  • Archaeological Crime Investigative Methods
  • Archaeological Damage Assessment Methods
  • Archaeological Violation Case Studies

Archaeological Violation Litigation Class: Two-day class for archaeologists providing training on litigation and testimony in archaeological violation cases. Topics covered in the class:

  • An Overview of Archaeological Crime Investigation
  • An Overview of Archaeological Damage Assessment
  • The Role of the Archaeologist in Search Warrant Affidavit Preparation and Search Warrant Service
  • An Overview of Applicable Federal and State Statutes Used to Prosecute Archaeological Violation Cases
  • The Role of the Archaeologist in Litigation
  • An Overview of Applicable Rules of Evidence for Trials and Trial Testimony
  • Legal Issues in Archaeological Cases
  • Testimony in Archaeological Violation Cases (testimony exercise)

Archaeological Damage Assessment Methods Class: Five-day class for archaeologists providing training on all aspects of the damage assessment process for both terrestrial and submerged archaeological resources. Topics covered in the class:

  • Field Damage Assessment Procedures
  • Determination of Archaeological Value, Commercial Value, Cost of Restoration and Repair
  • Archaeological Damage Assessment Report Preparation
  • The Role of the Archaeologist in Litigation
  • Legal Issues in Archaeological Cases

ADIA also offers advanced training on archaeological crime scene investigation methods and equipment. Topics of the advanced training modules include:

  • Applications and Use of Outdoor Video Surveillance Systems
  • Applications and Use of Covert GPS Vehicle Tracking Devices
  • Applications and Use of Other Technical Investigative Equipment
  • Development and Management of Informants
  • Preparation of Search Warrants Specific to Archaeological Violations


February 2012

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