Wednesday, 1 October 2014

"Detectorists" Inviting a Public Debate

"The 66-year-old recently unearthed a
 2,000-year-old Roman coin in a field in Wiltshire,
 to add to his small collection of ancient finds. [...] 
He’s one of the UK’s legion of about 20,000 metal detector owners.

Adrian Lee ('Detectorists: The treasure hunters digging up a fortune' Daily Express, October 1, 2014) has not won himself many friends in the metal detecting community this morning with his opinion piece on tomorrow's debut of "Detectorists" "a new BBC comedy revolving around the bizarre world of metal detecting". He's interviewed some real life artefact hunters, Dave Rees chairman of a club in Wiltshire and "his small collection of ancient finds", Jeanette Jacobs from Scunthorpe, and of course de rigeur, Dave Crisp the photogenic PAS poster-boy, the £360,000 Frome Hoard finder. Also interviewed was a gender-muddled Harry Bain ("he" is a "she"), editor of "The Searcher", and Trevor Austin GenSec of the NCMD. 
In the BBC sitcom [Mackenzie] Crook plays Andy, an archaeology student [that's a new piece of information] who is working part-time as a cleaner. He and friend Lance, whose marriage collapsed when his wife left him for the manager of a pizza restaurant, are members of Danbury Metal Detecting Club and dream of unearthing a priceless Saxon hoard. “They are searching for something in their lives, not just gold coins,”  

I don't know where Mr Lee gets his "20 000" figure from, but PAS's 531,620 records divided by 20 000 and divided by 17 years, comes out at each of them has reported just 1.56 finds a year. Hardly anything that the PAS could claim as "progress". And the archaeological heritage of Britain currently being curated in twenty thousand undocumented scattered and ephemeral personal collections is certainly a figure worth thinking about and discussing. Also if we were to accept that there are 20 000 active metal detecting artefact hunters in the UK, the Heritage Action Artefact Erosion Counter would have to tick away twice as fast, hinting at how many undocumented items those collections potentially contain.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.