I suggested much the same last night on the UKDN and received a reply
stating that they do have nouse and that MD's cant detect lower than 12" so
don't go under the plough soil. I replied with the fact that plough shears
are very rarely greater than 9" and these are only used every 3 or 4 years
( info from a farmer and a metal detectorist) so even if they detect on land
recently ploughed with the 9" shears and they detect top 12" then they are
if my logic isn't lost 3" under the plough soil. I then went further and
introduced them to some hard facts that in one field in Doncaster is a hole
3 feet by 2 feet by 3 feet deep dug out by a MD user on the hunt for what
turned out to be nothing than a lump of iron. Ok this field has over the
years been turned over by ceramics collectors as 1/3 of the field seems to
be covered in Victorian pottery. ( I am trying to find out the reason for
this) and that no archaeological context really survives but I think it
illustrated my point.
I finished by suggesting that the only way for this animosity to move
forward is for Archaeologists and Metal Detectorists to start having
reasoned discussion and not allowing the 2 or 3 that post here to continue
to expose the two fraternities to the constant them and us syndrome as many
archaeologists now accept that there is a place for MD's. I made mention of
a certain person's desire to flame Paul at every opportunity.
As for DEFRA and the Countryside stewardship scheme, it would seem that the
CSS is no longer accepting new applications and in 9 years time will be gone
altogether however a new scheme is being brought in but it would seem that
no one not even DEFRA employee's can figure out the wording. The metal
Detectorists along with others who regularly post here have been lobbying
their MP's to gain clarification of this and to try and stop a complete ban
on MD's which is what they believe is occurring.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Andy Norfolk" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2005 9:15 AM
Subject: Re: A detectorist vision of the twenty-first century ?
> I hate to feed the trolls we have on this list, but here are my thoughts
> on the MD situation.
> I'm not an archaeologist, or a metal detectorist, but it is only needs
> the application of a little common sense to realise that digging out
> only the metal artefacts, with little or no recording of any
> stratigraphy, from sites which may not be well recorded, will have a bad
> effect on the archaeological record. The lumps of metal may be pretty
> and have intrinsic worth. In the case of coins, for example, they may
> help with the development of typologies. However objects with no known
> context are vastly less interesting and useful than those from properly
> recorded locations - which should include the presence of non-metallic
> objects and their spatial relationships.
> Now I do appreciate that whatever is in the ploughed soil of a field has
> no stratigraphy, however useful information can be obtained plotting
> scatters of metals objects in a ploughed field. It has also been made
> obvious by messages on Britarch that MDs dig through the plough soil
> into undisturbed ground below.
> Metal detecting can of course be helpful as part of a properly carried
> out archaeological investigation of a site. It can be helpful in the
> right circumstances. It can be extremely destructive in others. It is
> also quite clear that some metal detectorists do it to make money. If
> this was not the case there would not be so many artefacts for sale on
> Ebay. Some metal detectorists are behaving in a very selfish way which
> is damaging the reputation of all the rest and their hobby as a whole.
> Metal detectorists have the chance to deal with this themselves - at the
> moment. I think that if they don't, sooner or later there will be
> legislation to try and prevent what could be described as wholesale
> looting of the countryside.
> Andy N