Sunday 29 September 2013

In Praise of Britain's Polish Metal Detectorists

Igor Murawski ("Von Worden") suggests that the fact I have written about their annual commercial rally indicates that I have something against Polish metal detectorists in Britain just because they are Polish (rather an odd idea considering where I live) and insinuates:
Surely [this is] not because we are the first club in the UK in which members have obligation to report 100% of their historical finds to PAS, another target of your hate-posts?
This suggests that Mr Murawski has not even begun to get to grasp with the reasoning behind my comments on this blog, neither about reporting of finds, the effects of current policies on the archaeological record, the heritage issues at stake  nor the PAS. Still, that's more his problem than mine. I'd like to turn to the comment about the manner in which his club considers itself exceptional.

There were at last count about 200 artefact hunting clubs in the UK, most of them (like Mr Murawski's) affiliated to the NCMD and applying only THEIR Code of Conduct (but then only a few of them having a specific clause in their membership regulations obliging members to abide by it). Only one other UK-based artefact hunting club, as far as we know, obliges its members to abide by the official Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales, and that is the Crawley and District Metal Detecting Group West Sussex which makes reporting finds compulsory - “Any person found not declaring finds to the Finds Liaison Officer will be expelled from the group immediately“. Maybe Mr Murawski can point us to the regulations of his own group which sets out this stipulation, I could not find them on the website or forum. The CDMDG was founded in 2006, the Polish club in 2009 so I am not sure whether the claim that the Poles were the "first" can be upheld.

It is a shame that if every single one of the Polish club's finds are PAS-recorded, the photos in the website's gallery are not captioned with the PAS number allowing the viewer to go to the actual record instead of having to guess what it shows. But then exactly the same comment can be applied to the Crawley club's webpage finds gallery.

So if a group of thirty folk in Crawley can introduce such a rule in their club and the expat Poles in theirs and both clubs have people fighting to join, why cannot the other hundred and ninety or so other artefact hunting clubs in Britain apply such a rule to their members, both in their independent searching, as well as their participation in club 'digs' and other commercial artefact hunting rallies? What is preventing them all becoming paragons of responsibility?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What's Polish for porky? (In case I ever need to use it).

I'm thinking perhaps the insistence on reporting to PAS might not be a club rule so much as a Crown Estates condition upon which permission to dig up Her Majesty's bling was granted.

Actually, the rule might have gone further than that according to Geoman here

"All finds belong to the Crown Estates as landowners which is the norm and it has to be agreed where these are to be deposited which can be the local Museum via the FLO."

Did that apply at this event? I can't wait to hear that it did and that these heroic Polish historians applied the Deefholts-Billingshurst method and didn't shuffle off home with anything.

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