Dear Mike, all,
Mike Heyworth wrote:
> This is where the Code for Responsible Metal Detecting comes
> in, and I think the suggestion of a Code for Responsible Collecting
> would also be valuable. Perhaps britarch members could turn their
> collective energies to putting a draft together?
I think this is a good idea. As a fist step, and as it already is an
agreed document that can easily be expanded on, I suggest we simply take
the Code for Responsible Metal Detecting and replace the words 'metal
detecting' with 'collecting' - as collecting archaeology 'in the field'
is not limited to metal detecting, but includes anybody walking any
field using any means to find and remove any kind of archaeological
finds. I have done so below:
So that would give us the following 'Code of Responsible Collecting of
Archaeological Remains' (CoRCoAR):
Before you go collecting in the field
1. Not trespassing; before you start collecting obtain permission to
search from the landowner/occupier, regardless of the status, or
perceived status, of the land. Remember that all land has an owner. To
avoid subsequent disputes it is always advisable to get permission and
agreement in writing first regarding the ownership of any finds
subsequently discovered (see www.cla.org.uk / www.nfuonline.com).
2. Adhering to the laws concerning protected sites (e.g. those defined
as Scheduled Monuments or Sites of Special Scientific Interest: you can
obtain details of these from the landowner/occupier, Finds Liaison
Officer, Historic Environment Record or at www. magic.gov.uk). Take
extra care when collecting near protected sites: for example, it is not
always clear where the boundaries lie on the ground.
3. You are strongly recommended to join a collecting club or association
that encourages co-operation and responsive exchanges with other
responsible heritage groups. Details of metal detecting organisations
can be found at www.ncmd.co.uk / www.fid.newbury.net, of other
collecting organisations at ???
4. Familiarising yourself with and following current conservation advice
on the handling, care and storage of archaeological objects (see
While you are collecting in the field
5. Wherever possible working on ground that has already been disturbed
(such as ploughed land or that which has formerly been ploughed), and
only within the depth of ploughing. If collecting takes place on
undisturbed pasture, be careful to ensure that no damage is done to the
archaeological value of the land, including earthworks.
6. Minimising any ground disturbance through the use of suitable tools
and by reinstating any excavated material as neatly as possible.
Endeavour not to damage stratified archaeological deposits.
7. Recording findspots as accurately as possible for all finds (i.e. to
at least a one hundred metre square, using an Ordnance Survey map or
hand-held Global Positioning Systems (GPS) device) whilst in the field.
Bag finds individually and record the National Grid Reference (NGR) or
absolute longitude/latitude on the bag. Findspot information should not
be passed on to other parties without the agreement of the
landowner/occupier (see also clause 9).
8. Respecting the Country Code (leave gates and property as you find
them and do not damage crops, frighten animals, or disturb ground
nesting birds, and dispose properly of litter: see
After you have been collecting in the field
9. Reporting any finds to the relevant landowner/occupier; and (with the
agreement of the landowner/occupier) to the Portable Antiquities Scheme,
so the information can pass into the local Historic Environment Record.
Both the Country Land and Business Association (www.cla.org.uk) and the
National Farmers Union (www.nfuonline.com) support the reporting of
finds. Details of your local Finds Liaison Officer can be found at
www.finds. org.uk, e-mail [log in to unmask] or phone 020 7323 8611.
10. Abiding by the provisions of the Treasure Act and Treasure Act Code
of Practice (www. finds.org.uk), wreck law (www.mcga.gov.uk) and export
licensing (www.mla.gov.uk). If you need advice your local Finds Liaison
Officer will be able to help you.
11. Seeking expert help if you discover something large below the
ploughsoil, or a concentration of finds or unusual material, or wreck
remains, and ensuring that the landowner/ occupier’s permission is
obtained to do so. Your local Finds Liaison Officer may be able to help
or will be able to advise of an appropriate person. Reporting the find
does not change your rights of discovery, but will result in far more
archaeological evidence being discovered.
12. Calling the Police, and notifying the landowner/occupier, if you
find any traces of human remains.
13. Calling the Police or HM Coastguard, and notifying the
landowner/occupier, if you find anything that may be a live explosive:
do not use a metal-detector or mobile phone nearby as this might trigger
an explosion. Do not attempt to move or interfere with any such explosives.
All that needs to be added then is further recommendations on the
acquisition and curation of collected items once they have been removed
from their original find spot. Elements that such an expansion of the
CoRCoAR should imho contain are:
When you acquire a collectible archaeological find
14. Wherever possible ensure that any archaeological find you acquire
comes with proper documentation that it has been responsibly collected
(as under clauses 1-13 of this document). This will usually include a
record of the findspot (as under clause 7 of the CoRCoAR) as well as
documentation that it has been properly reported (as under clauses 9 and
10 of the CoRCoAR); or a record at which auction (with reference to the
auction catalogue or comparable information) or from which existing
collection it was acquired. If the find was not a surface find,
documentation of its excavation should also be included (including maps,
photographs and descriptions of the context in which the find was
discovered according to archaeological standards at the time of its
discovery) or reference be made to where the excavation report can be
15. Adhering to the laws regarding the legal import, export and transfer
of ownership of property, especially of cultural property (see the 1970
UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit
Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property,
Take extra care when being offered an unprovenanced collectible
archaeological find, even if it seems to have been imported, exported
and ownership been transferred legaly, it is not always clear that even
if they were imported or exported legally that they were not illicitly
recovered under the laws of their country of origin.
When you own collectible archaeological finds
16. You are strongly recommended to join a collecting club or
association that encourages co-operation and responsive exchanges with
other responsible heritage groups.
17. Follow current conservation advice on the handling, long-term care
and storage of archaeological objects (see www.finds.org.uk).
When you want to dispose of collectible archaeological finds (whether by
selling or otherwise)
18. Ensure that the collectible archaeological finds that you want to
dispose are already properly recorded (as under clauses 1-13 of this
document) and if not report them as appropriate. Remember that you may
have inadvertently acquired an item that falls under the provisions of
the Treasure Act and Treasure Act Code of Practice (www.finds.org.uk),
wreck law (www.mcga.gov.uk) and export licensing (www.mla.gov.uk).
Reporting items in your collection, even at this stage, will ensure that
you stay on the right side of the law. If you need advice your local
Finds Liaison Officer will be able to help you.
19. Ensure that you dispose of your collectible archaeological finds in
a way that they are not lost for good: either pass them on a public
museum or other similar public institution that keeps collections of
archaeological finds in perpetuity, or to another responsible collector
of archaeological finds. If you are passing items in your collection on
to somebody who you suspect may not yet be aware of the CoRCoAR, please
make them aware of the existence of this code.
20. Always include all documentation that you have for a collectible
archaeological find when you pass it on, but keep a copy of the
documentation for your own record, including a reference as to whom you
transferred ownership of the respective finds.
I guess that could serve as a starting point. If anyone has any other
suggestions (this was quickly typed up as it came to my mind), please
add to this as you see fit.
Yr Athro/Prof. PD Dr. Raimund KARL FSA FSAscot MIFA
Pennaeth yr Ysgol / Head of School
Ysgol Hanes, Hanes Cymru ac Archaeoleg /
School of History, Welsh History and Archaeology
Prifysgol Bangor / Bangor University
Ffordd y Coleg / College Road,
Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2DG
Ebost / Email: <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Ffon / Phone: (+44 1248) 382247
Mobile:(+44 7970) 993891
Gall y neges e-bost hon, ac unrhyw atodiadau a anfonwyd gyda hi,
gynnwys deunydd cyfrinachol ac wedi eu bwriadu i'w defnyddio'n unig
gan y sawl y cawsant eu cyfeirio ato (atynt). Os ydych wedi derbyn y
neges e-bost hon trwy gamgymeriad, rhowch wybod i'r anfonwr ar
unwaith a dilëwch y neges. Os na fwriadwyd anfon y neges atoch chi,
rhaid i chi beidio â defnyddio, cadw neu ddatgelu unrhyw wybodaeth a
gynhwysir ynddi. Mae unrhyw farn neu safbwynt yn eiddo i'r sawl a'i
hanfonodd yn unig ac nid yw o anghenraid yn cynrychioli barn
Prifysgol Bangor. Nid yw Prifysgol Bangor yn gwarantu
bod y neges e-bost hon neu unrhyw atodiadau yn rhydd rhag firysau neu
100% yn ddiogel. Oni bai fod hyn wedi ei ddatgan yn uniongyrchol yn
nhestun yr e-bost, nid bwriad y neges e-bost hon yw ffurfio contract
rhwymol - mae rhestr o lofnodwyr awdurdodedig ar gael o Swyddfa
Cyllid Prifysgol Bangor. www.bangor.ac.uk
This email and any attachments may contain confidential material and
is solely for the use of the intended recipient(s). If you have
received this email in error, please notify the sender immediately
and delete this email. If you are not the intended recipient(s), you
must not use, retain or disclose any information contained in this
email. Any views or opinions are solely those of the sender and do
not necessarily represent those of the Bangor University.
Bangor University does not guarantee that this email or
any attachments are free from viruses or 100% secure. Unless
expressly stated in the body of the text of the email, this email is
not intended to form a binding contract - a list of authorised
signatories is available from the Bangor University Finance