Sunday, 19 May 2013

Green Waste Contamination Hinders Artefact Hunting in UK?

As has been mentioned on this blog, UK artefact hunters with metal detectors are running a petition against the degree of contamination in the green waste (compost) used on the fields they want to hoik stuff from. They are making all sorts of claims about it, but the real reason is that the signals given off by non-ferrous material put onto the fields by accident when incidentally included in compost (like foil food wrappers) hinders the rapid removal of real artefacts from the archaeological context. Personally, I'll not be losing a lot of sleep over that. As Heritage Action ("A Waste of Time" 19/05/2013) point out: 
Environment Minister Richard Benyon has just delivered some bad news for detectorists by pointing out that stringent limits on physical contaminants such as metals, plastics and glass “were revised down from a total of 0.5% of dry weight to 0.25% in 2011. They are now the toughest in Europe.”  In other words, they’ll deal with breaches that cause health hazards but there’s no chance they’ll be changing what’s considered acceptable levels – which includes one part in 400 being metal. That’s a lot of beeps. And it’s legal innit! (To coin a phrase).
Perhaps instead of petitioning government to make their hobby (getting their hands on the buried heritage) more pleasant, these guys would be better employed getting more fellow hobbyists applying best practice more frequently to their hoiking.

Vignette: Compost, the artefact hunter's enemy?

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