Tuesday 29 November 2011

Rally Entrance Fees, Artefact Hunting and Landowners

If each artefact hunter attending the Bishop's Burton Commercial Artefact hunting rally spent on the weekend event 46 pounds each (my earlier post 'How much for the heroes?'), why are detectorists up in arms about a landowner who wants them to pay 70 pounds for a licence to enter his land to "metal detect" for a whole year? Indeed, why are so few landowners applying this solution, a licence and an agreement to abide by the national 'Code of Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales' and share the profits on the sale of artefacts and the reproduction rights of photos of objects taken from their land? Since so many hundreds of artefact hunters are willing to pay out for a limited right of access to landowners' property, why are not landowners charging all of them a proper fee, commensurate with the actual commercial value of all the artefacts (and "scrap metal") they remove? How many of them would still be collecting all those artefacts if they had to actually pay more for them than merely the battery money for their detectors? The PAS and heritage organizations would be doing everyone a service as part of a more rounded "outreach" circulating to landowners scans of a few of those "how much your finds are worth" sections of the hobby magazines and the books on the subject to inform landowners just what they are missing, saying in effect "take what you want boys".


Cartouche1953 said...

Are you suggesting that by charging to metal detect it then becomes acceptable to detect?. This goes against the conservation arguments put forth. I for one would not allow anyone to metal detect on my land full stop, regardless of my financial gain!!

Paul Barford said...

What is unacceptable is not the act itself, but the way it is generally carried out in the UK and - in particular from my point of view - the utterly false arguments that are offered time and time again to support the activity (or rather support not doing anything about it).

Well, George we've heard your view, now what about the views of the metal detectorists to being charged a fee for doing what most of them do for free commensurate with their material gains?

Once again, this blogger is not for "banning collecting" but arguing for making it more responsibly done than it is at present. As you will have observed, collectors (and dealers) themselves would apparently sooner die.

Cartouche1953 said...

Landowners are the rightful owners of the artefacts on their land. By charging we shift the problem of selling finds from the tekkies to the landowners once they know the value of the finds. eBay is not the sole domain of the tekkies, its a free for all and where there is money, there is greed.

Paul Barford said...

Well, if they are to be sold (and it is not illegal) who should be profiting, the actual owner or a bunch of oiks he's unthinkingly granted the right to 'take what you like chaps' on the assurance that most of it is "not worth much M8"? Let us see landowners taking INFORMED decisions about the heritage on their property.

Cartouche1953 said...

Your last comment is contradictory.On one hand you say that it is the landowners that should be 'profiteering' and you then go on to say "let us landowners taking informed decisions about heritage". If landowner are profiteering then their decisions based on the heritage on thier property wil be governed by profit. Hardly the way we should be moving forward.all those owners of Tudor manor houses struggling to make ends meet would only be more than pleased to have a commercial metal detecting rally with 'guaranteed finds'and charging the detectorists an arm and a leg for the privelidge and be damned with the artefacts. The landowner is simply selling of the artefacts for profit as a first tier supplier as against second tier supplier detectorists. No, this is an absurd idea.Not the way forward at all.

Paul Barford said...

I do not present this as a "way forward" I cannot see why most detectorists should feel entitled (vide the Prince Charles thread) to get for free what others willingly pay for. Especially when its riding on the back of the ignorance of the landowners of what is being taken from their property and how much it is worth on the "minor antiquities market". Why can't they be actively informed so they are able to decide themselves under what conditions they allow these people onto their land? Is this too not part of "outreach"?
So you think these rallies DO NOT already take place? Have a look.

PS I did not advocate landowners selling off artefacts, I was saying that if detectorists are taking stuff with commercial value for their collections (as they are) that they should all recompense the farmer to some degree for ALL of it [not just that which is the subject of a "Treasure" inquest, and not just that which is sold immediately]. Why is such a notion a problem? Would you have them continue to give away the nation's archaeological heritage to the collectors' market for free?

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