This is the second post of Metal Detecting, Archaeology, and Museums. The first can be found here.
Thank you to those who commented on the blog and Facebook about this post. It was great to hear from you.
Like Dianne, I would love to be able to find everything that those people on TV find. They definitely do their research about prospective sites beforehand…I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a whole team on this for at least one of the shows out there. Like I said, I have my own metal detector, but in my own front yard and at the beach, I have found less than a dollar and a couple of nails (modern).
Emilie writes that she loves “that the UK compensates people for the treasures they find. If people in the US thought there was something ‘in it’ for them, maybe they’d think twice about removing an object from its historical context without alerting anybody who could study it.” I have to agree on many counts. I’m sure compensating those in the U.K. helps keep many artifacts in the public realm rather than on someone’s mantle hidden from the world. Granted, there are many who would do and do do the selfless thing in terms of public good and museum collections. Many just like metal detecting and of those who are in to history, many are glad to show up at a site opening its grounds to them to help the site find some of its under-the-ground history. Montpelier in Virginia did just that, I shared the article in a recent Shouldn’t Miss News post, but the source has since removed the article, so here is a link about the program straight from Montpelier. I also recently found out that my friends at Belle Grove Plantation at Port Conway also allowed metal detectorists to the site of their soon-to-be Bed and Breakfast so that they could learn more about their property and find out what was in the area of what will be their parking lot. They didn’t want to pave over anything important. They are getting their finds analyzed, and I definitely look forward to hearing the results.
I think metal detecting is great for those sites that can’t afford the time or money to sponsor a full archaeology dig to get major highlights for their collections. I can only hope that of all historic-institution-sponsored digs (including those on TV), notes are kept as to the depth of finds and that maps of the field surveyed are marked so that someday it would be possible to find non-metal artifacts (anyone who knows me knows that ceramics are my thing…especially when I can glue sherds/shards back together).
Thanks for reading!