Friday, 2 June 2017

Collectors Abusing the Archaeological Heritage

Nigel Jones has started up a company (The Metal Detectorist) which gets access to land to search for artefacts and then sells those rights to third parties.
Are you a landowner with around 30 - 40 Acres of Land? Land that we could hold a metal detecting event on? Do you own farm land? If you do and you give us permission to metal detect on that land we could provide you with a secondary income.
It all sounds a bit Nazi:
We do not allow any member on any land who has not submitted, fully confirmed and had their personal information checked. We ask for their name, address, postcode, metal detecting insurance number, telephone number and we ask, for their links to their social media accounts so we have a visual reference each and every member.
They oversee the new members on 'a supervised dig' and they have to  'demonstrate how they complete an artefact recovery from the ground using a metal detector, pin pointer and small spade to locate and remove a find, and how they replace the ground after they have removed that artefact [...] That task is done on pasture so we can see how neat[ly] they can replace their clod of earth.'
Apart from hole-filling courses the firm also has a whole load of rules and regulations. Also: 
Every member is made aware of the treasure act and how important it is, that they follow the governments strict rules about what to do in the event of finding something of considerable value. During the past couple of years we have had a number of significant finds where landowners have all recieved (sic) there (sic) 50 percent share of finds over £300.00 (sic)
No mention of how that value is calculated and by whom. What about a group of finds made by one guy on one day the commercial worth of which (as given for example on the finds valuation pages of 'The Searcher') comes to £301,50? When every member can literally fill his pockets with found artefacts to a total value, perhaps, of hundreds of pounds, why is it only in the case of single finds that the collector has to pay for them?

As for other aspects of this distorted view of 'best practice', there will be minimal reporting if the landowner so wishes:
 If any reports are made to a finds liason officer no geographic details are released without your express permission. Metal detectorist's who make these discoveries will be introduced to you by Nigel Jones where you can both arrange how you present it to a finds liaison officer and what information is released during that process. 
Of course, such a minimalist approach to recording is of little academic use and far from the Best Practice promulgated by the PAS. The company holds out the promise of 'four figure sums of money for each day they hold a commercial artefact hunting event on the landowner's property. Also:
If you receive stewardship grants and we find a significant find, those grants are increased, dependent on the type of find we recover and the size of the land we are using. 
So the farmer is counting on the conservation grant being increased after a landowner has compromised the protection given to the historical environment of a certain site by it being included in a stewardship conservation zone? Bonkers, truly bonkers. Fortunately much of this has historically been EU money and thus after Brexit, these abuses will stop.

Vignette, save the cows from sharp metal and unfilled holes.


Anonymous said...

Disgusting comments. You take content from my website (against website terms and conditions that you agreed to when using the site) and publish it within this cluster fluck. I notice you try to take comments out of context to your own ends and try to employ that the increase in funding comes through some kind of fraudulent process. If im not mistaken a farmer gets an increase in stewardship funding if anyone finds something significant and the authorities want to schedule that land. nowhere in any content does any of my text state that digs are put on land that is already receiving funding from a protected source yet you allege it does. you also suggest that land owner information is withheld. it is. from people who plague land owners for permission to metal detect on that land. most of the land owners who use us as a go between to metal detectorists insist that there information is with held but not to process of law. your post suggests that that legal process does not get followed. what evidence do you have to suggest i am in fact avoiding any legal process or are you purely out to write about matters for your own content and ends. your allegations of mis reporting are lies and libelous. i will be contacting your hosting co and issuing a cease and disist order to you. your blogspot host is law bound to release your details on request. I would expect to here more from me regarding this matter unless this post and your libelous comments are removed immediately.

Paul Barford said...

'Libellous has a double 'l'. Imply is spelt 'imply' rather than 'employ'. The verb is 'hear'.

Paul Barford said...

Tell your lawyers about 'Fair use' (the copyright principle based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism). I think the fact that you attempt to make money out of the common archaeological heritage means it is only fair to allow public discussion of your business methods. Obviously you have nothing to hide, so am curious why you have something against an open discussion. Could you answer the question about the 300 quid? You say you have 'professional' members now, can you tell us whether many archaeologists come metal detecting with you, and are they in general good at 'putting the clod back' when you go detecting on PASTURE?

Paul Barford said...

Oh, by the way, the word is 'fuck', a four-letter word [] - as in 'don't fluck with me'.

No drink or drugs, but do you allow flucking on your 'digs'? Can the landowner join in?

Paul Barford said...

Nigel Jones, folks. Check him out making an exhibition of himself on a farming foruum near you. Nigel, over to you.....

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