Monday, 10 October 2011

"Metal Detecting" under the Microscope 2: "Rescuing" finds from the Plough

This was posted to the "Why it matters" text on Heritage Journal on 26th Sept 2011 by Jakob Øhlenschlæger:
Being a metal detectorist located in Denmark I must say that I sometimes find it disgusting what I read on British forums. No regard for saving the archaeological record for the future, just how to get as many artifacts as possible out of the ground. Just the other day one detectorist wrote with great joy how he convinced a farmer to deep plough two fields where lot of finds had be made over the years. Now he had high hopes for even more turning up. Not a single person [on that forum] pointed to the sad fact that he had convinced the farmer to destroy more of the undisturbed archaeological layers but several congratulated him.

Had it been on a Danish forum he would have been blamed for actively promoting the destruction of the archaeological record and would soon have learned that he had done something the majority of detectorist found wrong. No wonder Michael Lewis from PAS on his visit in Denmark last year found that: “Interestingly most people in Denmark seemed less favourable disposed towards the English system, believing finders to be greedy and rewards too high”.
There is indeed good reason why no other country in the world seems poised to follow England in her crazy "system" for managing the archaeological resource. It rewards people for trashing the archaeological heritage and does nothing to curb their greed and feelings of entitlement. Britain should take a long close look at the policies that encourage this "English Disease" to flourish, serviced and legitimised by a Portable Antiquities Scheme at tax-payers expense.

Vignette: Deep ploughing in Europe.

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