Sunday, 11 November 2012

"Study Up", Rich Pickings to be Had by Holiday Makers in England's Fields

Lonely Planet’s "Best in Travel 2013" gives some advice about the possibilities there are for trying a bit of holiday treasure hunting. They have compiled a list of the world's top 10 places to hunt for treasure in their Best in Travel 2013 book.* You can search for pirate treasures on Norman Island, British Virgin Islands or Oak Island, Nova Scotia, Canada or go diving for it on Florida's wrecks. They also list geo-caching in Las Vegas. Several of their get-rich-quick ideas exploit the natural environment, mining opals at Coober Pedy in  Australia and gold detecting in Papua New Guinea, and rare minerals on Russia's Kola peninsula. Or you could go "digging for dinos" in Australia  or in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia. Now, while some American 'professional palaeontologists' may claim that they know nothing about Mongolian law as it applies to fossils, the Aussie tabloid-reader gets the basic info even in the popular press:
"You’re not supposed to take your finds home with you – they’re rightfully considered national treasures – but here, especially, the thrill is in the chase. Independent (not package) tours can be hard to stumble across, but not impossible. Many guesthouses in Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar can help get your expedition underway". 
Then of course you can always go Treasure hunting in Europe. Specifically the one country in the whole of Europe that has no proper laws preventing the uncontrolled hoiking out of archaeological finds from archaeological sites by any Tom, Dick and Hamed with a spade. So sixth on the list besides all the rest we find:
Roman Coins, English Countryside Either togas suffered from a lack of pockets or departing Romans hadn’t time to stop at a currency exchange, because England is aglitter with ancient currency. And it’s yours for the picking. Amateur archaeologists and quaint folk with metal detectors have been responsible for massive finds across the island; in 2010, a chef uncovered a pot filled with 52,000 coins dated between AD 253 and 293, the largest such hoard yet discovered. Study up, be sure to get landowners’ permission and you too could hold history in your hands! Contact the National Council for Metal Detecting for information on detector hire, regional clubs and valuing your treasure.
What of course "study up" means is 'find out where sites producing this stuff are and you cannot miss'. Targeting known archaeological sites is the way to ensure 'rich pickings'. I am not sure what good knowing about 'regional clubs' would be for the two-week visitor to Britain with his hired metal detector (or indeed hiring a machine you do not know how to use). Obviously while the NCMD is known to Lonely Planet's journalists the PAS is not.

* This link for some reason opens awfully slowly on my computer this evening. You can Google the title ("Dig it! Australia among the best places to dig for buried treasure"), or use the link from Regton, UK metal detector retailers.

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