Friday, 10 January 2020

Artefact Finding and Artefact Hunting in the Republic of Ireland

Ireland, independent of bonkers
British damaging heritage legislation 
Mathew Seaver, assistant keeper at the Irish antiquities division of the National Museum of Ireland is quoted in Agriland, Ireland's largest Farming News Portal
Many activities on farmland from ploughing, drainage, hedgerow or tree planting and land improvement have revealed important archaeological objects,” Matthew said. Farmers as the custodians of the land have provided the nation with so many of its most important discoveries. [...] “In Ireland, all archaeological objects with no known owner are property of the State, and the National Museum of Ireland is responsible for their care. “When such discoveries are made the farmer or finder is obliged to report them within 96 hours to the duty officer at the National Museum of Ireland [...] Alternatively, they can report them to a designated local museum [...] “If farmers are unsure of whether something is archaeological or not, we are delighted to take queries. Usually, an officer from the museum will ask for further details and may come and visit the find spot. [...]  The National Museum of Ireland can and does pay discretionary finders rewards to those who report archaeological objects through the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The level of the reward depends on the level of co-operation from the finder and type of object recovered. “Farmers frequently get requests from members of the public with metal detectors for permission to search on their land. Searching for archaeological objects with a detection device without a licence is illegal under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2014 and we would advise them not to allow this kind of activity on their land and to report to Gardai where necessary [...]   “If farmers are unsure whether such a person has a licence, the National Monuments Service or National Museum of Ireland would welcome a call to clarify,” Matthew said.
law:  Section 2 of the National Monuments Act 1987 (as amended) 

Information leaflet here.

Here is the NMI webpage: Advice to the Public from the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the National Museum of Ireland on Use of Metal Detection Devices in Ireland:
It is advised therefore that persons do not engage in general searches for lost or buried objects as to do so may place them at risk of prosecution and endanger the archaeological heritage. [...] Unless you have a licence from the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, it is also an offence to dig or excavate for the purpose of searching for archaeological objects, or anything of archaeological interest, even though you may not be using a metal detector. The penalty for this offence is a fine of up to €126,972 and/or up to 12 months imprisonment. [...] Unregulated and inappropriate use of metal detectors causes serious damage to Ireland’s archaeological heritage. Unsupervised recovery of archaeological objects by untrained and unlicensed users of metal detectors can greatly diminish, or can entirely eliminate any knowledge or research value that might be gained from a particular discovery. Archaeological objects must be excavated in a structured scientific manner, with careful recording of their association with other objects, structures, features and soil layers. Failure to expertly record the context from which an object has been removed results in an irreplaceable loss of knowledge of the past. [...] It may not be apparent until an object has been dug up that it is an archaeological object. In that event, the damage will already have been done and an offence is likely to have been committed.[...] Unless you have formally applied for and received a Detection Consent from the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under the National Monuments Acts, it is against the law [...] to use a detection device for the purpose of searching for archaeological objects anywhere within the State or its territorial seas. The penalty for an offence in relation to the above is a fine of up to €63,486 and/or up to 3 months imprisonment. Anyone using a metal detector in contravention of the above restrictions and who, following detection of an object, digs to retrieve an archaeological object without an excavation licence, may be guilty of an additional offence under the terms of the National Monuments Acts. [...] Under the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2004 it is illegal to promote, whether by advertising or otherwise, the [...] use of detection devices for the purpose of searching for archaeological objects. [...] Under the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2004 ownership of any archaeological object with no known owner is vested in the State. [...] Where can I get further information? [links, references to papers and a book chapter - plenty to read]. Who can receive consent for the use of metal detectors? As a general rule, the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will not grant consents for the use and/or possession of metal detectors except to suitably qualified archaeologists or persons who will be working under professional on-site archaeological supervision. Before a Consent to use a metal detector is issued, the applicant will have to make clear that the use of the device is in accordance with best archaeological practice. This is achieved through the submission of a detailed method statement setting out the proposed work programme for assessing a site and achieving the greatest possible level of archaeological knowledge from the work undertaken. Who is responsible for granting consent for metal detection? Only the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is authorised to grant consent to use a metal detector for archaeological purposes within the State and to license archaeological excavations. There is no other form of legal authorisation or approval to detect for archaeological objects. Detection Consents and licences are only given to named individuals for specific sites. Licences are never issued collectively or through an intermediary. You do not have Ministerial Consent or any other authorisation to use a metal detector for archaeological purposes as a result of your membership of any organisation or body; your level of training in the use of metal detectors; your use of a particular type/brand of metal detector; having obtained your metal detector from a particular supplier or source.
Now have a look at the post below.

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