Sunday, 16 December 2012

Glasgow Returns to Topic of Illegal Artefact Hunting with Metal Detectors

The Glasgow "Trafficking Culture" team return to the topic of the use of metal detectors for illegal artefact hunting. This refers to the controversial case of the third-century Roman silver hoard from Everbeek Belgium acquired by the Provincial Archaeological Museum in Velzeke. The text is written by one Pieterjan Deckers, whose relationship to the Glasgow team is unstated.
The museum paid ‘a reasonable price’ of €3000, 10 per cent of the estimated value, to both landowner and finder [...]. This arrangement, though certainly testament to the integrity of the finder, is problematic because it implies that the find was accidental. In fact this was not the case, and therefore, from a legal viewpoint, only the landowner was entitled to payment. In the ensuing discussion, "the Flanders Heritage Agency’s alleged policy of tolerance towards amateur metal detection was questioned in a Parliamentary Commission on heritage. The minister denied the formal existence of such a policy".
It is a shame that Parliamentary Commissions in other countries (England, Scotland and Wales come to mind) do not question the existing policies of tolerance towards looting of the archaeological record for collectables...

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