Monday, 18 December 2017

Commercial Artefact Hunting Rallies: Is Participation 'Best Archaeological Practice'?

In the revision of the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting (sic) in England and Wales', the intention was to define what Mike Lewis announced was 'best archaeological practice' - remember the BM reckons (falsely in my view) that those involved in collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record are some form of 'citizen archaeologists'. In that case, I am puzzled by the complete absence here (as was the case in the 11-year old one it supersedes) of any mention of  participation in distant one-off mass commercial artefact hunting rallies.

In the frame of this new revised Code, is participation in them some form of ‘citizen archaeology’ or ‘best archaeological practice' or is it just grabby greed? Metal detectorists wanting to do right and what is accepted as 'responsible' are left in the lurch if they examine this code for guidance on this question.

This question is quite important as these rallies (and related group 'club digs') are  a significant way in which UK metal detecting artefact hunters-collectors 'interact with the past' and artefacts randomly grabbed in such events are a substantial component in the PAS database (when I asked, the PAS refused to say how many - which is telling). So why is this missing from the CoP?

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