Tuesday, 6 November 2018

What do Metal Detectorists use their Artefact Collections for in the UK?

After 20 years of PAS liaison, I have not seen any kind of a definitive statement what (apart from a generalised idea that they use them for "learning about the past"), UK metal detectorists use their artefact collections for. One metal detectorist, who's produced a pretty comprehensive 'how to' page worth reading) has come up with this (I would suggest partial) answer:
One of the most interesting aspects of this hobby is connecting with the finds you make. With very ancient artefacts this can truly stretch your imagination. You might find yourself asking questions such as: What was the name of the person who last held this little Saxon sceatta? or What did he or she look like? Perhaps you even create your own answers and write them in a log of your finds. Although marvellous and mind stretching, historically such mental wanderings can never be factually based. What a shame that you will never meet the actual owner of that superb Rom an enamelled brooch you have just uncovered. An even greater shame perhaps is that you are unable to meet that medieval moneyer who kept miss-striking those short cross pennies you find. Despite this, by simply finding the item you create a bridge across time connecting you to the person who lost the item . This is what we term a Time Line . Technology - it is argued - may never be able to produce a functional time machine, but until it does the metal detector admirably fills the gap. However, there are finds of more rec ent times where you not only create a time line to a past loss but, if you are very lucky, you may meet the very person who experienced the loss, or direct members of his/her family.
In this case it is about narrativising the objects. Has anyone else come across any other accounts of what 'metal detectorists' collections are actually used for?

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