Saturday, 27 December 2014

Bovine muscular Outreach to Night Detectorists

That’s not in any of the field guides.” 
Archaeologist from Historic Scotland 
Where there is a will, there is a way. When metal detectorist Derek McLennan, 47 found a hoard of more than 100 objects including a sealed bronze pot, gold, silver ingots, decorative brooches and Viking arm rings, and archaeologists decided not to hoik it out in a matter of hours like some, they were faced with the usual dilemma. Once digging at the site had already started, people could come in the night with metal detectors and night-vision equipment and steal the lot for their own collections. In this case, as "an insider at Historic Scotland said" “Usually we’d contact the police to give them notice of where the site is and others do the same [...] The best way to deal with it is to keep the site a secret for as long as possible". Or a security firm could be hired to do the job. In this case (and metal detectorists and FLOs who suggest guarding a site is never an option should note) help was at hand in the form of a massive half a tonne bull which staff at Historic Scotland persuaded a local farmer to place in the same field where the haul of Viking treasure was discovered (Bob Malcolm, 'Bull plays security guard for archaeological hoard', The Scotsman, 26 December 2014). "Historic Scotland, the Scottish Government and the Treasure Trove Unit were all contacted and all declined to comment".

1 comment:

heritageaction said...

Bulls, indeed! How disorganised and amateurish. Personally I think a security guard, paid for out of any reward money, is the obvious, logical solution in all these cases but sadly finders and (in England and Wales) their timid backslappers at PAS won't agree to the obvious - else it would have been done years ago.

For most normal people it would be seen as a breach of a social contract for a finder not to acknowledge and act upon a duty of care when they find something important. But try explaining that to the average detectorist, especially when the official paid quango won't!

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