Monday, 18 December 2017

Responsible metal-detecting: a revised code of practice

© David Gill
The annual heritage day at the RSA earlier this month provided an opportunity to discuss the new Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales (2017) on an informal basis.

The endorsements of the revised code are notable by the absence of certain organisations:
  • Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum of Wales / PAS Cymru, 
  • Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers, 
  • British Museum / Portable Antiquities Scheme, 
  • Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, 
  • Council for British Archaeology, 
  • Country Land & Business Association, 
  • Institute for Archaeology (University College London), 
  • Historic England, 
  • National Farmers Union, 
  • Royal Commission on the Historical & Ancient Monuments of Wales, 
  • Society of Museum Archaeologists.
The endorsement by UCL's Institute of Archaeology is interesting given the forum piece on metal-detecting that appeared in the Papers of the Institute of Archaeology (and that is largely uncited by members of PAS although is noted by archaeologists working in Spain).

We are reminded that "being responsible" means:
Working on ground that has already been disturbed (such as ploughed land or that which has formerly been ploughed), and only within the depth of ploughing. If detecting takes place on pasture, be careful to ensure that no damage is done to the archaeological value of the land, including earthworks. Avoid damaging stratified archaeological deposits (that is to say, finds that seem to be in the place where they were deposited in antiquity) and minimise any ground disturbance through the use of suitable tools and by reinstating any ground and turf as neatly as possible.
This is a timely reminder as we approach the third anniversary of the removal of the "Lenborough Hoard". Members of PAS could, perhaps, address the five points highlighted by the Lenborough case.


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