Monday, 15 September 2014

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Responsibly does it

A self-proclaimed "responsible detectorist" shares his philosophy on his blog, replying to David Knell. Let us remind ourselves what David Knell wrote:
"Go ahead and do metal detecting to your heart's desire. I can't stop you. It's all perfectly legal in England and Wales under minimal conditions. But at least spare us all the bullshit and be honest about it: it's just a selfish treasure hunt you pursue for your own pleasure, whether you give your finds to museums or not. Please don't try to delude yourself or try to convince others that you are somehow altruistically 'saving history' for everyone else. You're not. There may be occasional exceptions but more often than not, you're wrecking much of the evidence of history just to satisfy your own need for entertainment. As I said, that is NOT conservation".  
David has amply demonstrated in that post and others on the topic the grounds for him saying what he does. The artefact hunter, while advancing no contrary arguments of his own, simply does not accept that there is any rationale in anything David says. Once again, we see that tekkie me-me-selfishness and attitudes of entitlement are to the fore:
i do understand the views of a conservationist. However it does not mean that i believe they are right, it is kind of like religion [...] this hobby for me is a treasure hunt. i would not go out if it was a certainty that there was no treasure to find, thrill of the chase and all that [...] it is fully legal providing you comply with treasure laws and get the correct permission before setting out on a hunt. So yes, i will go and do it to my hearts desire, i will fill my pockets and display cabinets with my shiny goodies ( after checking if the landowner wants any of it). I will record any finds that fill the criteria for the PAS database and also if i feel like it i may even sell i find i dot want using an online auction tool. Do you know why i will do all this? Because i can and as the law stands right now there is no one who has any right to stop me. I am not doing anything wrong, I am adding to our historical knowledge through the PAS database that is doing exceptionally well recording its millionth object. [...] So you guys carry on preaching your communist, controlling and condescending blog posts and i will carry on filling my pockets and cabinets with loot.
The question has been raised whether there really have been "one million" non-Treasure objects  reported. I say it is not true by a long chalk. Whether or not to express concern about the preservation of any resource is either "Communist" or "Controlling" (sic) I leave it up to the reader better-equipped to understand the meaning of those words than the tekkie blogger who clearly is just parroting.

Certainly questions may be raised about the degree to which the writer of these words actually is "adding to our historical knowledge" by hoiking stuff to his heart's content, filling his pockets and display cabinets "because I can and nobody has the right to stop me" with the only information reaching the PAS being what this semi-literate pre-selects. Certainly, as David Knell acknowledges, along with everyone else, nobody but the landowner has the power to stop this. That does not make it right. There is an obligation on those who do care about the environment to try to reason with those that unthinkingly destroy it, though as we can see with unreflexive, uncomprehending, selfish artefact hunters despoiling the historical record to fill their selfish pockets and flog "wot i do't want" on eBay , it's going to be an uphill battle. Which I guess is why the PAS don't do it.

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