Monday 11 March 2013

Renewed Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Going for Known Site

Wessex Water is about to give permission for recreational artefact hunting on a barrow site? On a metal detecting forum near you, member "nenhyandai" based in Wessex has his eyes on a possibly "productive site" (Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:33 pm):
I have been eyeing up a row of fields in particular and have noticed on the map a 'Possible barrows site' on one of the fields. [...] I'm not a religious guy, nor do I believe evil spirits will awaken and haunt me, but out of respect, I dont want to go digging what could still be a burial site. On the other hand I think the field is in a great location to detect on and Roman occupation wasent far from the location, and the field/Site is not protected... 
neither do I expect many UK archaeologists will awaken and bother him. I'm interested in what particular "map" he has with such a site marked on it. Who produced it and for what purpose? Member Alex ("Verulamium") in Julian-Watterland (Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:20 pm) says:
 If it wasn't a legal protected site and I had permission from the landowner NOTHING would stop me from exploring that one!!! 
Not even concerns about keeping off known archaeological sites? And what does your FLO say about that? It turns out the land is owned by Wessex Water, and on contacting one of their land managers ("he couldn't have been any more helpful") and was given the contact details of the tenant's farm manager:
I called her straight away and I'm pleased to say that she seems lovely and was really eager to hear about my site research. She is going to contact him in the next week and let me know if he’s OK with it, turns out he’s really interested in history and has always been curious about detecting, a good sign I'm sure!
Good sign for artefact hoikers maybe, less good for the preservation of the site from being emptied of archaeological finds by a collector. Since he claims to be doing "site research" can we assume that any survey he does will be properly published - maybe with the help of a conservation grant by Wessex Water?

Vignette: Burial mound - not an appropriate place for an artefact hunter to go searching for collectable grave goods

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