Sunday 8 June 2014

UK Metal Detecting: Illegal Metal Detecting, how to Define it?

Readers might remember the controversy that broke out when Glasgow University's "Trafficking Culture" project tried to define "nighthawking" (illegal metal detecting). They added a fourth definition to the traditional three, and all hell broke out - so Glasgow meekly backed-down and changed what they'd written. But the unbowldlerised Glasgow Fourth was in fact spot-on. What kind of discipline is a criminologists which changes definitions to cowtow to the finds-pocketing oiks? Anyhow, Heritage Action have a proposition for a fifth definition related to their bowdlerisation of the fourth:  'Nighthawking and artefact theft: an open letter'. An open letter which you can bet your bottom dollar means that everyone worried about rocking the boat will ignore the question. Nevertheless, ignoring an issue because it is uncomfortable to talk about will not make it go away. 

Obviously in order to study a phenomenon in order to combat it, it it necessary first to define it. The vague label "nighthawking" needs defining and replacing (illegal artefact hunting does not necessarily involve doing it in the house of darkness and involves no birds of prey at all). It seems to me that keeping certain inside information from another party to enable walking off with their stuff is fraudulent behaviour, and should be condemned. Who, apart from a metal detectorist, would not agree to that?


Anonymous said...

Indeed. Incidentally you don't need to lie to the landowner's face.

"Silence" (as in pocketing finds worth more than 300 pounds when your finds agreement says you must show and share them) can form the basis of an actionable misrepresentation (or "thieving" as we call it down our road.)

You'd have to wonder, out of 10,000 metal detectorists (70% of whom don't report to PAS) if any of them could possibly have ever done that?!

kyri said...

"if any of them could possibly have done that" !!! certainly not they are an honest bunch,arent they???he says with tongue firmly in cheek.

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