Friday, 2 June 2017

Collectors Abusing the Archaeological Heritage

Nigel Jones has started up a company (The Metal Detectorist) which gets access to land to search for artefacts and then swells those rights to third parties.
Are you a landowner with around 30 - 40 Acres of Land? Land that we could hold a metal detecting event on? Do you own farm land? If you do and you give us permission to metal detect on that land we could provide you with a secondary income.
It all sounds a bit Nazi:
We do not allow any member on any land who has not submitted, fully confirmed and had their personal information checked. We ask for their name, address, postcode, metal detecting insurance number, telephone number and we ask, for their links to their social media accounts so we have a visual reference each and every member.
They oversee the new members on 'a supervised dig' and they have to  'demonstrate how they complete an artefact recovery from the ground using a metal detector, pin pointer and small spade to locate and remove a find, and how they replace the ground after they have removed that artefact [...] That task is done on pasture so we can see how neat they can replace their clod of earth.
Apart from hole-filling courses the firm also has a whole load of rules and regulations. Also: 
Every member is made aware of the treasure act and how important it is, that they follow the governments strict rules about what to do in the event of finding something of considerable value. During the past couple of years we have had a number of significant finds where landowners have all recieved (sic) there (sic) 50 percent share of finds over £300.00 (sic)
No mention of how that value is calculated and by whom. What about a group of finds made by one guy on one day the commercial worth of which (as given for example on the finds valuation pages of 'The Searcher') comes to £301,50? When every member can literally fill his pockets with found artefacts to a total value, perhaps, of hundreds of pounds, why is it only in the case of single finds that the collector has to pay for them?

As for other aspects of this distorted view of 'best practice', there will be minimal reporting if the landowner so wishes:
 If any reports are made to a finds liason officer no geographic details are released without your express permission. Metal detectorist's who make these discoveries will be introduced to you by Nigel Jones where you can both arrange how you present it to a finds liaison officer and what information is released during that process. 
 The company holds out the promise of 'four figure sums of money for each day they hold a commercial artefact hunting event on the landowner's property. Also:
If you receive stewardship grants and we find a significant find, those grants are increased, dependent on the type of find we recover and the size of the land we are using. 
So the farmer is counting on the conservation grant being increased after a landowner has compromised the protection given to the historical environment of a certain site by it being included in a conservation zone? Bonkers, truly bonkers. Fortunately much of this has historically been EU money and thus after Brexit these abuses will stop.

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