Saturday 7 August 2021

UKDFD Milestone

According to a UK Detecting finds Recording Network news release:
UKDFD recently reached a milestone of 50,000 published records [...] For the large majority of records, our identifications are supported by cited references to respected sources. In turn, the material recorded on the UKDFD is cited in academic papers, popular publications and hobby websites. Students are using the database to conduct research and publish articles and guides. Our team member Bob Green, for example, has referenced UKDFD records in his Finds Research Group paper, 'Post-Cast Modifications to Anglo-Saxon Strap-Ends', and Rod Blunt has made much use of the records for his British Coins & Artefacts website. Brian Read's popular books on the identification of buttons, clasps, thimbles, etc. feature many illustrations based on UKDFD records. In addition to the above, many unique and significant finds have been recorded on the database. [...] Many of our members have been with us almost since we launched UKDFD in 2005, and have personal galleries of finds numbering many hundreds, or even more in a few cases!
Yet even so, the effects of 15 years effort is the equivalent of less than two finds each from the 27000 detectorists of England and Wales.* That's how much members care. And of course those members' collections of "many hundreds and often more" of artefacts show that the Heritage Action Artefact Erosion Counter may be way too cautious in more than one aspect. Some of those finds may well be unique and significant - but while the objects may be recorded on the database created "by detectorists for detectorists", the context it was ripped from will not be. Anyway, the sum of 50000 objects is in fact just 1/28th of the additions to the PAS record in the equivalent period (which in itself is just a fraction of the number of items pocketed by artefact hunters in England and Wales in that same time).
Note how these people are proud they used such a difficult tool "citing references to respected sources" (i.e., using books). I doubt very much "material recorded on the UKDFD is cited in academic papers" since teh academic would have to pay to access it. So the members of the public whose heritage is beiong pocketed by these folk will have no way of seeing what has gone. Also note:
We are sometimes asked if it is OK for a member to record other people's finds. This is fine as long as the finder's permission is obtained, the find-spot details are known to be reliable, and the required details and images are available. In such cases, the record will appear in the member's own gallery, and the upload used will be from their own recording package. We would obviously prefer that finders subscribe in their own name, but we understand that not everyone wants to make this commitment.
Particularly those who want to launder items using this database, but not having them traceable through it directly to them. How are the finder details "known (or verified) to be relable"?

*50 000 finds recorded in 15 years is the equivalent of 3,333 per year (64.1 per week).

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