Saturday, November 14, 2009

Will there be a rise in illegal metal-detecting in England and Wales?

Dr Pete Wilson, the Head of Research Policy (Roman Archaeology) for English Heritage, has been quoted on the problem of "nighthawking" in England and Wales. He has now written an opinion column, "Gold rush?", for Current Archaeology (237, December 2009).

Wilson makes the point that collectors of recently-surfaced archaeological material need to understand.
It is crucial to move thinking beyond the simple monetary value of finds to the greater loss of archaeological knowledge that looting of sites represents.
Is it enough to report finds which have been recovered as a result of destroying archaeological strata?

Wilson reflects on the possible impact of the "Staffordshire hoard".
This emphasis on money poses a massive threat to the buried past as it may well encourage the looting of sites, whether designated or not, by poorly-informed new detector owners and also by the just plain greedy or criminal who know all too well that what they are doing is illegal.



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