Thursday, 2 August 2018

Turkish Treasure Hunters form Association

Treasure hunters in Turkey have organized under an association, concerning the archaeology community who warned the move could speed up the plundering of ancient heritage (İdris Emen0 Turkish treasure hunters form association, archaeologists irked' Hurriyet Daily News July 30 2018).
Turkey’s “Trove Search Regulation” stipulates that a legal digging could be done in an area of 100 square meters maximum with approval from the local museums directorate. The permit is valid for a year and the excavation can be done for up to a month at most under the inspection of museum experts. The treasure hunter receives 50 percent of the treasure if it is found on state-owned land. If it is found on privately-held land, then the private owner receives 10 percent while the treasure hunter receives 40 percent, as the remaining parts go to the state. If historical structures, such as the ruins of a building, are also unearthed, then the treasure hunter receives nothing.
Because the artefact hunting has damaged an archaeological site. Britain needs to introduce a similar system.  But there are opponents of this conservation-directed approach:
The Anatolia Treasure Hunters Training and Research Association was established last month. The new organization stresses in its charter that it was founded to educate, train and assemble people who are interested in treasure hunting, while raising awareness. Archaeologists, however, doubt the true intentions of the new association. “We find it strange that an association could be found[ed with] the approval of the state, although it would work to damage the cultural heritage of Anatolia with illegal excavations,” Turkish Archaeologists Association chair Dr. Soner Ateşoğulları told daily Hürriyet. “Their actual goal is to sell metal detectors. These machines are tools that have damaged cultural heritage. The state should limit their use or totally ban them,” he added.
Although the ATHTRA might find a sympathetic ear among those stalwart friends of 'non-professional metal detecting', the Ixelles Six (Pieterjan Deckers, Andres Dobat, Natasha Ferguson, Stijn Heeren, Michael Lewis, and Suzie Thomas), there are concerns among Turkish heritage professionals that growing acceptance for the use of these tools to search for historical objects as a result of the activities of the new association would incentivize illegal diggings. . 
Uğur Kulaç, the head of Anatolia Treasure Hunters Training and Research Association, disagreed with scientific experts. As a producer and seller of metal detectors for treasure hunters, Kulaç claimed “illegal excavations and treasure hunting are two separate work.” 
and here we see the same "we are not nighthawks" argument trotted out. Searching for buried metals blindly with a tool built to find hidden buried metals in order to dig them up and take some away is simply damaging to the archaeological record - no matter what the extraneous circumstances are. 

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