Thursday 18 April 2013

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: "Which Machine for Deep Pasture"?

On a metal detecting site near you, outreach has failed to extend to a certain member "mark1976" who no doubt would prefer us to think of him as among the legion of "responsible metal detectorists". Sadly he totally ignores what that is taken by the rest of us to mean (and mutually agreed between a number of national organizations including metal detecting ones). Namely, this guy [Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:18 pm] asks what kind of a machine is "best" for digging archaeological and historical artefacts out of deep pasture [clue: the actual answer to that from the point of view of conservation is "none"]:
I have been using a dfx but I want more depth as the good stuff is deep, the land i go on is pasture that has not been ploughed for hundreds of years. I am looking at a price of about 500 tops I have thought about a t2 and mine labs but am at a total loss as what will give me the best depth. My mate uses an etrac and I can't believe he depth he is pulling things up from.
Now of course, you'd be forgiven for thinking he'd be immediately slapped-down by over a dozen truly responsible detectorists on the forum who told him that artefact hunters are only "supposed" (that's what they all say they do) to take stuff from the freshly-ploughed ploughsoil, not aim to did stuff out of stratified levels hundreds of years old. That's what happened, surely? If that's what you think, sorry to say, you've been bamboozled by the pro-tekkie propaganda of the PAS and its supporters. The next post by "Glenfiddich" [Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:00 am] without so much as batting an eyelid recommends not only a machine but a dealer that will sell it to him for the purpose. Yes, but then another responsible detectorist comes in and protests right? Nope. Somebody called "Le Rocher" chimes in [Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:37 am] extolling the praise of the Minelab Etrac:
i have an etrac and it never ceases to amaze me as to the depths it gets me to. i'd bide my time save my pennies and get an etrac. There are plenty of second hand machines on a certain auction site. expect to pay £800 ish for a machine in good nick
Then, another member cuts in [Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:32 pm] with a plug for his favourite minelab site-wrecking machine, not a mention of the notion of avoiding deep detecting ancient pastrure.

 Now, surely, PAS outreach will see this discussion is going on and a FLO will immediately join the discussion and give the organization's stance on such matters. After all the British Museum announced not so long ago that they were using the detecting forums for their "outreach" (Pull the other one). Let's see a little bit of it right now. Or perhaps the PAS should just give  back all the money they've taken for ostensibly promoting "best practice". Recreational artefact hunting on relict areas of deep pasture which have "not been ploughed for hundreds of years" is most definitely NOT "best practice".

Of course the alternative is that the forum moderators will now hide this thread like they generally do when what is displayed on the detecting forums is at odds with everything the British public is being glibly told about "metal detecting".  

Take a good look at what's happening on forums like this. People like these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners"  of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals - and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a sustainable heritage management "policy". 

UPDATE 21.04.13: and quelle surprise, attempting to follow the links given above reveals that the thread has now been deleted or moved... So what have UK metal detectorists got to hide?  Quite a lot it seems.


Unknown said...

Sorry, I don't see a problem with digging a hole 6"x6", maybe 10" deep. The spoil is replaced in the hole, and the plug is stomped back on top of it. You can barely see someone has dug there.
If the find is archaeologically significant, it is reported to the PAS who then record it and follow the correct proceedings etc... It basically saves you archies arriving with 2 JCB's, armed with a dozen spades digging 3 ft deep and really messing up the ground.
Please, do tell me how you find ancient artefacts without digging up the ground.

Paul Barford said...

", outreach has failed to extend to a certain member ..."

QED, basically.


Unknown said...

no problem digging in pasture where you have permission, anything important whether deep or shallow, gets reported,but whats the problem with wanting a bit more depth? I mean they don t give the top end detectors away for nothing...

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