At least, no more than hundreds of other non-intrusive outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, lepidoptery, botany, ornithology, astronomy, yoga etc etc. Like so much of metal detecting it’s damage excused by citing a universal falsehood: it’s essential for my welfare and it’s harmless. No and no. It’s high time the Establishment pointed it out.

Here’s some academic proof that you can benefit from the great outdoors and learn about and contribute to archaeology WITHOUT carrying a metal detector or spade or risking heritage damage …


The Portable Antiquities Scheme, mental health and lithics – a fieldwalker’s experience

  • R. Couper Published 2 January 2016 Lithics, The Journal of the Lithic Studies Society

“Rod Couper, a keen student of lithics and a social worker specialising in mental health, describes how, with the support of museum and heritage professionals, he introduced some of his clients to archaeology and fieldwalking in South East Wales as a form of therapy. Members of his fieldwalking team experienced an increased sense of personal empowerment and appreciation of the past, as well as helping to contribute to the understanding of past human activity in South Wales by discovering new lithic scatter sites.

Rod Couper (centre) fieldwalking with friends at Chepstow, South Wales. 


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting