by Nigel Swift

Rescue’s reaction to the recent presentation to them about a possible detecting institute was polite but suggested they were underwhelmed – it’s only positive comment, that it might provide “a route to incorporating good quality detecting effectively on commercial excavations” meant very little. Training wouldn’t make people supervised by archaeologists walk straighter, swing lower or place a marker more accurately when they heard a beep!

Plus, working on such projects is only about 0.0001% of what detectorists do. What about the rest of the time, when they’re not? Many years ago I and an enlightened detectorist devised the FIRST Institute of Detectorists, proposing better personal standards when working alone…..

It was totally rejected (and he was condemned as a “traitor”) – for a very simple reason: detectorists AREN’T archaeologists or anything like them and don’t want to be! It’s the artefacts, you see, they want them for themselves, or the money, far more than the knowledge, so every request for them to act more like archaeologists is a request for them to be what they don’t want to be. Simple really. Legislation, not pious words, is what is needed.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting