Thursday, 10 June 2021

Firm to Offer Individual Pay-to-Dig Artefact Hunting in Ten UK Counties

We are revolutionising metal detecting
in the UK where annual subscribers can
access and book permissions across 10+
counties directly from the app, solving the
number one issue for most detectorists
 in the UK. No more rejections!

A new company Just Dig Ltd (incorporated 06 January 2021) and run by Luke Higgins (45), Mark Becher (47) and Scott Holden (32), with registered offices in Aylesbury, Bucks) has been set up to offer pay-to-dig access to land in 10+ counties. 
Just Detect is a finds recording social platform for detectorists around the world - built by detectorists, for detectorists
Find and follow other detectorists to see, like and comment on their finds in your feed
Earn a point for every find you record and climb higher on the leaderboard
Chat with other members using the in-app messenger feature
Filter finds by country, [detector] manufacturer, land type, material, broad period and object type
Enable follow requests for profile privacy. Only you and your followers will see your finds
Record your find spot locations to view on a map. Location data is strictly confidential
Learn new things via the Just Detect blog where guides will be published regularly
UK annual subscribers will be able to book permissions across 10+ counties in phase 2
This is of course not the first time in the UK we've heard of a "finds recording" platform with social context "built by detectorists, for detectorists" (ie not involving any contact with archaeologists and other heritage professionals). It also shows what the PAS is (as I have always said) the ability for finders to show off what THEY have found. In the PAS finds have always been in the database anonymously, ignoring the fact that in any collecting, bragging rights are important. So in UKDFD proud finders could organise them by portfolios, here they will "score points" (though numerically, not by what they contribute to knowledge). On the right, we see a typical record, a single photo, just one side, very basic brief superficial information what it is (actually, that can be seen on the photo!). The first information field is what make of detector was used to find it (useful to detector manufacturers for marketing purposes - presumably these data can be sold to them). Then the findspot was on what type of land . here it is "arable" - you can see where the statistics from that will go... Then some single-word comment  on material, bla-bla. Location of findspot, well, none need be given. As we see, finder data and location data are hidden, available only to finder and their followers. So what kind of a record is that for the rest of the stakeholders in the heritage? That's it. Possibly there is even less information here than in a typical eBay sales offer.    One presumes the Portable Antiquities Scheme has been consulted about this (will provide direct links to FLOs), so where can we find an official statement by them on the concept? What do they think about the archaeological effects of the spread of pay-to-dig access to finds-producing sites?
But of course the "recording" is just a front for the real money-making activity behind this setup. What is intriguing is that nothing is said about what controls and guarantees are available for landowners from JD in the "book a permission" scheme. The problem for detectorists up to now has been when they've gone to meet farmers by door-knocking, or discussing it face to face over a farm gate, a lot of farmers say 'no'. Farmers are choosy about who they let on the land. These scheme will cut out the personal element, farmers will just make the land available to whowever has joined JD and paid the subs. It's a one-sided arrangement, JD members can discuss the landowners and tenant farmers through their platform, farmers cannot learn that after what happened last Saturday, Farmer Samuel does not ever want Baz Thugwit on his land again. I don't see how Higgins, Becher and Holden see this working

There is no link to a page about standards/ethics, let alone the Code of Best Practice for Responsible metal Detecting or disciplinary measures taken against any member not abiding by them. 

As for the FAQ... under  "Export Licences Do I Need One?" to take stuff out of the UK (like if you went on a metal detecting holiday organised by Mr Becher) we read: "Yes, if you reside or live outside of the UK and find treasure in the UK, you will need an export licence". The factual content of the webpage matches the spelling...
But one thing is quite good about this, the more this is marketed, the more those farmers in Britain and abroad that did agree to let artefact hunters onto their land for free are missing out on a whole lot of cash. If they learn that their mates who've signed up for JD are getting actual cash every time a detectorist goes on their land AND that they can have a free tracking app that with its Big Brother capabilities allows them to keep realtime tabs on the precise location of the blighters every moment when they are there, then they are likely to stop allowing artefact-hoiking for free, and suddenly this hobby becomes much more costly to take up.  And once it has priced itself into a manageable size, it can be regulated (on the grounds of fiscal responsibility of the landowners). 

1 comment:

Brian Mattick said...

"No more rejections!"

Quite an admission. If the farmer doesn't actually SEE the detectorist he's more likely to say yes!

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