The press tend to manoevre people into inappropriate poses, as this recent image of archaeologists at the site of the Battle of Worcester demonstrates. In this case it’s particularly regrettable as it’s highly artefact-centric, which Archaeology isn’t but metal detecting is.


Two archaeologists and some people who aren’t


There are hundreds of thousands of pictures of metal detectorists posing exactly like that (e.g. see inset) but very few of archaeologists doing it. There’s a reason. For detectorists the aim is to possess the find for themselves but for archaeologists the aim is to gain archaeological knowledge – for everyone.

The danger of blurring la différence is clear: farmers may mistake the former for the latter. (Although, there are other ways of telling: if they arrive saying We’m hamatcher istoricides hain’t us” they’re probably not archaeologists!)


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting