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Dear Colleagues,

There’s talk of forming an “Institute of Detectorists”. Ostensibly it’s to train people to help archaeologists on surveys. But since metal detecting on archaeological surveys requires zero knowledge that can’t be taught in a few seconds to anyone at all (“keep it low, swing it slow, walk in a straight line, put a red flag in when it beeps”)  I have my doubts about the use of that.

Far, far more concerning for landowners and history is if metal detectorists get given A CERTIFICATE to wave at farmers to get permission to detect. As you all know by now, metal detecting ain’t archaeology and it ain’t amateur archaeology. It’s the pursuit of  random artefacts in random locations to make a private collection or to sell, so not Archaeology, not Science and not service to you or the community. That being so, any metal detecting certificate you’re shown will mean a lot less than bugger-all.

So my advice is: don’t be fooled. Words in the air or on paper from an entirely interested party are cheap. If someone says they want stuff from your field that means they are there for them, not for you and not for the community. Ring your local archaeologist, ask if they’ll give you a certificate vouching for them and confirming they’re doing good. If they do then fine, throw open your gates! And if they won’t, don’t!

Silas Brown
Grunters Hollow

PS, see this group of greedy, archaeo-posing clowns with 3,887 members …

“Metal detecting finds auction club”
“This is a group for people to auction metal detecting finds responsibly.”
Respect everyone’s privacy. What’s shared in the group should stay in the group”.

Every single one of their many thousands of finds is YOURS, dear colleagues – or the country’s! What did they tell YOU when they asked for permission?


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting




April 2019

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