Sunday 10 April 2011

NCMD Go Back on Responsibility Agreement

NCMD membership requires each member to
observe the Constitution, to adhere to the NCMD Code of Conduct and be free from conviction for any criminal offence relating to metal detecting activities.
The NCMD Code of conduct says:
acquaint yourself with current NCMD policy relating to the Voluntary Reporting of Portable Antiquities.
Which is?
The only document on this matter is that appended as Appendix D to the current NCMD Constitution the NCMD 'Policy Statement on the Recording of Finds Data with Third Parties'. This reads:
The NCMD recognises that landowners hold a greater legal title to all non-Treasure items found by metal detection or other means on their land. In doing so, NCMD members need to recognise that they have a duty of care to ensure that they uphold this at all times. This duty also includes an intent to ensure that before recording any finds with third parties they have full permission from the landowner/tenant/occupier to do so and then only to an accuracy and detail to which all relevant parties feel comfortable. Issues surrounding the potential publication of find spots data, such as on the Internet and elsewhere as well as the possible use of such data by recipients should be considered in discussions with landowners. Where necessary, recording organisations should be informed of any required restrictions on publication at the time of recording and should make provision for this information on recording forms and/or receipts.(Appendix D to the NCMD Constitution AGM June 2007).
So what happened to the assurance given when it agreed to this Code along with a number of other organizations that a condition of NCMD membership placed on all members would be adherence to the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting?

There is not even a link to it on their website...

So is it "responsible detecting" to go onto land to hoik things out where the finder does not have the freedom to report with adequate "accuracy" what they have found. No, of course it is not. Does the NCMD state that? No, of course it does not.

First of all, if it the farmer who has issues with the degree of reporting, it is up to the farmer to come to an agreement with these "third parties" (the PAS in England and Wales and the Treasure Unit in Scotland). The metal detectorist cannot act as the farmer's agent in such matters. Secondly, while the finds are the property of the landowner, the information gained as the result of the artefact hunter's search (what was found where is the intellectual property of the artefact hunter, which is not owned by the farmer who has given him permission to go onto the land to obtain that information). The NCMD policy is not in accord with British law.


Jee said...

"The NCMD recognises that landowners hold a greater legal title to all non-Treasure items found by metal detection or other means on their land."

Well I own some land and I can tell them for free I own 100% of those items thanks very much! If I choose to employ one of these fellows to find things for me the rate will be £6.00 an hour, same as my potato pickers (standard unskilled rates).

If I found my potato pickers were implying they had a degree of ownership of my spuds or offering to share them with me they'd get short shrift. A work experience teenager could pick spuds or search my fields perfectly well so that's what the job is worth, minumum wage.

Paul Barford said...

Jee, if you look in the metal detecting magazines, there's a section on "how much your finds is werth M8". You'd be surprised how much they say you can sell just a normal buckle or brooch for.

So if you find a "productive site" which produces a few of those things in a detecting trip, and con the farmer into letting you take them away for nothing, you'd be onto a nice earner.

You will note that the NCMD code of Conduct has NOT A WORD about that aspect of artefact hunting. Wonder why?

Jee said...

One of my neighbours had two detectorists on her fields just before Xmas and again this month. I'll ask her if they got her to sign one of the finds agreements that the National Council has on its website.

If so, bearing in mind she's not young, I'll suggest she doesn't let them on again. It pretty much amounts to stealing. I wonder what they took?

Paul Barford said...

Well, obviously leaving those in control of the archaeological record (so in British law the landowner) ignorant of the market forces encouraging the commercial exploitation of the archaeological record is doing nothing to enable them to make informed decisions on its conservation.

This is the sort of thing official outreach about artefact collecting should be warning landowners about, not left to members of the public to deal with themselves.

Where is the PAS landowners leaflet?

The PAS is paid to instil "best practice", all it does is make use of "whatever" practice to boost the number of finds in their database...

Jee said...

It gets worse. It seems both sides are being officially advised to agree to share the items, to avoid disputes! What disputes? The ownership couldn't be clearer.

I haven't had a landowners leaflet but if it tells me to share what I own then it will go in the bin - the same as if a scrap man turned up and asked to look in my barn. No way am I going to share what he finds in there.

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