Saturday, 25 January 2014

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Entitlement, who gives who what?


Pretty astounding this. Heritage Action are currently facing all sorts of sly abuse for their drawing attention to the attitudes of entitlement we see among UK detectorists (through 'Silas Brown' and the 'Code of Ethical Detecting'). I got a comment here which illustrates this perfectly. I wrote disapprovingly of a blogging detectorist who was crowing about another archaeological find dug up by Treasure hunters being flogged off through a coin dealer and making everyone a nice bit of cash. This was followed by a comment (25 January 2014 12:55) based no doubt on an acceptance of the usual tekkie lore:
I assume it was sold in order to give the landowners a share of the value. Much as I am in favour of donating finds like this, few detector users are wealthy enough to be able to fork out half of its value.
Spot the error in logic. The coin and its full value belong to the LANDOWNER. The coin does not need to be sold to give the landowner what belongs to him. It is not up to the finder to give the owner half the value of what is already his by the laws of the land. In reality objects like this are sold to give 'half the money' to the artefact hunter (metal detectorist). You know, those people who say they are "not-in-it-fer-the-money, just-the-histry" but then make the farmers sign agreements obliging them to give all away their property to (and split its value fifty-fifty with) a guest on their land.

Vignette: Tekkie weasel words with the sole purpose of cheating Farmer Brown.

10 comments:

Unknown said...

Hi Paul.

Some landowners want nothing. Some want half and others want everything... Its down to what is agreed really..(and i am not advocating trapping landowners with written contracts here, more a gentlemans agreement).

Interesting that the Landowners property rights count for nothing when the "Treasure Act" kicks in though...???

Paul Barford said...

and when they want to cut down a 1000-year old oak, or bulldoze a Neolithic Henge, mine for uranium, bury radioactive waste, kill all the ospreys and shoot unarmed intruders. Yes, its a tough life being a landowner in Britain!

Heritage Action and I however are asking under what conditions is "what is agreed" arrived at?

Unknown said...

Discussion and interaction with the Landowner both before and after a dig is what determines the status of the finds.

Paul Barford said...

Sitting down with a copy of "the Searcher" turned to the "Identification and valuation desk" and "Saleroom scene" pages no doubt. Maybe the petitioning detectorist routinely leaves a copy with him to look over, so the landowner can see how much the average non-treasure find (buckle, fibula or average piece of grot) is valued there as being worth. Got one open in front of me now, mundane objects, not coins: 30 quid, 120 quid, , 120-150 quid, 45 quid, 90 quid, 70 quid, 20 quid, 40-50 quid, it all adds up.

How many farmers, countrywide are appraised of this sort of information BEFORE they sign that agreement? How many are appraised of that information (honestly) each time they agree to hand over yet another day's haul of bits and pieces from his fields?

Even if the detectorist himself does not sell the many accumulated bits, his heirs probably will, and if the finds are kept loose with no labels who gave permission to take them from where, that money will never get back to the landowner (or their heirs). And it should, shouldn't it?

Unknown said...

So who is correct then Paul. You imply that landowners do not have enough knowledge of the finds that are made yet the author at the Heritage Action site has reprimanded me before for claiming that landowners should be credited for being fully aware of the historical importance of the finds that are made on their land..???

A recordable finds should be properly recorded and curated.

I totally agree that some form of restriction should be in place with regards to the selling of finds and that the landowner and local museum (even possibly the FLO) should be advised before a recordable find is offered for sale.

Paul Barford said...

Well, that is not EXACTLY the point Heritage Action are making.

So if the consequences of the law mean that ancient artefacts end up getting into the hands of those least suited to handle them, then while the law remains unchanged the best thing is NOT to dig them out of their archaeological context, placing the finder in that dilemma.

That's like buying the kids a labrador puppy when your domestic situation does not allow you to keep a dog at all, let alone one the size of a labrador.

Not right, is it?

Unknown said...

Steven, you can argue with Mr Barford all day long, every day of the week and every week of the year, but you are never going to win the argument no matter what topics you bring to the table. In his book, there is only one reasoning that stands out by miles; if you use a metal detector, even on the beach, you are a reckless looter and you should have a tag on your ankles linked to Heritage Actions so that every movement you make is recorded. Ton

Paul Barford said...

And that is it, isn't it? The artefact hunters cannot answer the basic point here, the basic issue, but think they can dodge the discussion and wear down the critics by bringing DIFFERENT TOPICS to the table.

Here, it is not the finder giving the landowner money, it is the landowner's property to give - or not.

And now Ton has stooped to the ad hominem, I think we can close this discussion. It's going nowhere.



Unknown said...

Thanks for the reinforcement Ton, but it really is not needed, I don't see this as an argument...I simply want to learn and explore exactly what it is that we as "responsible" detectorists should be doing to improve the way in which we do things. I have already learnt a couple of things from Mr Barfords blog and have adapted my activities accordingly...let's have a few other detectorists on here saying the same thing rather than simply resortIng to disrespectfully slagging people off.

So Paul... If detectorists are not deemed fit to retain, record and curate finds...(with the agreement and knowledge of the landowner)...exactly where does this leave the code for ethical metal detecting...?

Unknown said...

Thanks for the reinforcement Ton, but it really is not needed, I don't see this as an argument...I simply want to learn and explore exactly what it is that we as "responsible" detectorists should be doing to improve the way in which we do things. I have already learnt a couple of things from Mr Barfords blog and have adapted my activities accordingly...let's have a few other detectorists on here saying the same thing rather than simply resortIng to disrespectfully slagging people off.

So Paul... If detectorists are not deemed fit to retain, record and curate finds...(with the agreement and knowledge of the landowner)...exactly where does this leave the code for ethical metal detecting...?

 
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