Tuesday 24 April 2012

Detecting under the Microscope: Can We Have Those Coins Off You Please?

Readers may remember the inordinate amount of press attention a group called "Amber's Digs" was getting at the beginning of the month. They may also remember my exhortations to readers to register with their detecting forum. Anyone following that advice would hear the complaints that the group had been (as they call it) "Barfordised" ie mentioned critically on his personal blog by one of the few British archaeologists who does not fall prostrate at the feet of artefact hunters [see here too].

Heritage Action ("Shambolic and inappropriate stewardship of potential Treasure") draws attention to something else the attentive reader of the literary productions of this Northern artefact hunting club might reveal. They equate it with the situation at the Twinstead Detecting Rally a while back where - in flagrant disregard of the law - an unknown number of artefact hunters pocketed a group of gold coins and took them home without a word to the Landowner, apparently some appeared on ebay the same evening. It seems an analogous thing has happened again within a few weeks of the latter being hushed up by a pro-detecting police force.  The day after their recent event near Thirsk, Amber’s Digs posted on their website (closed to the public):
“I have just told the farmer that a hoard of twenty two coins were found on his field and that when the field is ploughed again there will probably be more. He was happy to have been told and I told him I will show him these coins next week as we are going back on the pasture around the farm and stubble further away. So please get them in to us ... your name will be attached to your coin/coins.” 
As Heritage Action note:

  • On the day of the event the farmer wasn’t given the coins or even told they’d been found.
  • They were gathered together (well 22 were anyway) but then various detectorists were allowed to take them home. (Why?!)
  • How many took them home is unclear as elsewhere the organiser said “About ten” implying they’re not sure.
  • Now they’re appealing to the finders (“about ten” plus any others not known) to bring back twenty two coins (plus any others not known) to show to (not give to) the farmer at a further event next week!
  • Good luck with that! Surely that will strike anyone that isn’t a metal detectorists as no way to treat someone else’s property or potential national Treasure or ensure it is delivered in full to either the current owner or the Coroner? As we have said ad nauseam, if a potential hoard is found, it shouldn’t be taken away (particularly in ten or more pieces to ten or more locations by ten or more people none of whom owns it!). Common sense and logic dictate it should be delivered as a whole for safekeeping to the one person that currently owns it and who can be easily contacted by the authorities.
    Alternatively as soon as the third associated coin turned up, and it is clear a potential Treasure is involved, further uncontrolled searching should have been suspended and the authorities informed, and the site secured properly in the meanwhile until they can come and deal with it.

    No comments:

    Creative Commons License
    Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.