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detecting news & views



Online News For You!

Welcome to all our readers wherever you are

From all at The Federation of Independent Detectorists and Detectorists.net

SO WHAT'S NEW?

It is very good to see that detectorists are making full use of all the modern innovations, not only as far as metal detectors themselves are concerned, but such things as GPS Navigation, to get to those farms that are usually situated at the end of some difficult to find trackway. Once there plotting finds becomes a doddle, and last but not least! finding their way home!
Many more detectorists are now using the Internet, either at home, or at their work, even in some cases through public libraries or Internet cafes. This has prompted far more new sites dedicated to the hobby, one such is the exciting new detecting website/forum (detectorist.co.uk) This is not just the usual small forum but a large community that already has a very big membership. At this forum there is something to interest everyone, and it includes a gallery of finds that members can add their own finds too. Competitions, some with prizes and there is even a section for those in the family who want to chat about things other than detecting. This is a website that I'm sure will grow and grow, once visited you will be hooked I'll bet.

Also new are the following websites put up by clubs. Thames & Field then Fenlands MDC next are IOW MDC and Rhonnda ASC I expect there are a lot more than clubs that have recently put themselves online but these are the ones who have recently emailed us to let us know.

WOULDN'T IT BE NICE


Wouldn't it be nice to drop everything and go out detecting? I'm sure somewhere in the world, some lucky so and so will be doing just that. In the last two months whenever I've been free to go out it has been pouring with rain, and when it's been dry enough, I've either had FID things to do or the family has required maintenance of some sort!! The only pleasure left is to reflect on past glories, sort through finds and have a little gloat at some that are special.
here's my 'gloat' for now. Found some time ago on the Thames foreshore in London is this 3000 year old axe shown below, so what you say, they are pretty common aren't they? Maybe that is true but mine is still 'razor sharp' and the bronze colour it was when it was made all those years ago, so there, now I feel a bit better.


STOP AND THINK

Whether it's the phone, email or letter, the most common question asked is how do I clean this coin or object I've just found. The answer has to be Stop and Think, yes I know it's such a temptation to jump in and start cleaning as soon as you get home but more things are spoilt by cleaning than in any other way. This does not only apply to the small objects we find metal detecting but to anything that may be of some age and quality. This includes: furniture, pictures, silverware, bronze objects, toys and almost anything else you can think of. Even restoration by experts has been known to devalue art and antiquity. Both private collector and museums and galleries much prefer things in original condition however unpleasant that looks in our eyes. Returning to metal detecting finds our advice is if you think the item has a chance of being very old then don't clean it at all, get expert advice before you go further. This is not because we wish to support the establishment but rather for your own sake. Should your object turn out to be of monetary or historic value, so you don't want to lessen it by cleaning. I can hear you saying, They are taking all the fun out of my hobby. Not true, we are trying to help. There are plenty of things you can clean but we would advise: Clean each item separately, always use a washing up bowl (so that any broken pieces, or stones from jewellery can be saved), a soft tooth brush is all you need to remove the dirt. Consider your finds carefully, if you can see that it's a common coin or object, your pretty safe but just be careful and you will get the most out of our great hobby.


"OUR PORTABLE PAST"


Launch of English Heritage's Policy on Portable Antiquities 14th June 2006.
By Justin Deeks

You are cordially invited to the launch of Our Portable Past, English Heritage's new policy for funding and granting permission for archaeological work that involves finding and collecting materials from the surface of the land.
The policy sets out in detail for the first time the standards required for work on portable antiquities and the integration of such work with prospection techniques, use of metal detectors in field work, excavation standards, conservation, project archiving, analysis and dissemination, and retention and disposal of materials.
The policy will be applied to sites and projects for which English Heritage has curatorial responsibility, or which it funds or undertakes directly. Other organisations, land owners and individuals who give consent for the collection of portable antiquities or archaeological work are also recommended the policy as a model of good practice.Ē

This was a short meeting held in the rooms of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, which I must say was a most comfortable venue.
The four people who spoke all emphasised that this new policy only applied to archaeological work and not to hobby metal detecting. So far, so good, and to be fair, just a few years ago English Heritage were so hostile to the hobby as to make meaningful cooperation unthinkable. There has been progress. However, I was the only representative of the hobby present (the NCMD did not attend), and it was clear I was not recognised as such by the speakers. Shall we say they were rather more candid with their views than if they had known. Even more so with the comments and questions from the floor afterwards. The policy document was skimmed through with some explanation, although it is mostly self explanatory. Read it for yourself, it is on the EH website. Basically, the old 'anti' attitude is retained, but with greater recognition of the value of the metal detector in an archaeological context. Indeed, praise was forthcoming for the help EH has received from detectorists in recent years. The policy most certainly does not confine itself to archaeological work or to sites EH have an interest in. The buzz words best practiceĒ are used to recommend EH's policy to other groups and it is recommended these principles are applied to detecting on sites mentioned on SMR's and HER's. It all reads, and sounded like preparing the ground for making our hobby more difficult in the future unless conducted according to some very narrow rules.

Who was there? Representatives of the PAS, EH (naturally), DEFRA, the NFU, Receiver of Wreck, the CBA, me, and others. The most valuable information gleaned was that the various Government funded bodies Ė PAS, DCMS, DEFRA, EH and the BM are working much more closely together than they would previously have had us all believe. The policy document itself has material in it from the PAS and I was told that sites are, at the moment, not being scheduled, but DEFRA agri-environment schemes are being used instead.
Lunch was provided, and this afforded a few opportunities to introduce myself. A senior figure in EH asked if I considered myself an archaeologist! I explained that metal detecting is broader than that, and as I search for modern material the answer is no; but we do have archaeologists in membership. And did I support nocturnal site raiding? At least I choked in style on a delicious smoked salmon sandwich. Here is the source of our difficulties. Our archaeological friends do not take an interest in our hobby apart from where it can be of direct use to them. They know very little about it. Plenty of detectorists, on the other hand, take lots of interest in archaeology, even the sorts that have nothing to do with detecting. Is that the arkies' fault, or ours? In the bad old days it was definitely theirs, as their minds were closed and filled with contempt; but now? Surely the hobby could promote itself better, and not just the archaeological wing either. The PAS chap who had previously been so rude at one of their conferences was much better this time, and even greeted me by name. I will put on record my respect for that and look forward to improved relations in the future.

As people were quite open that they saw the legislation enacted from 1979-96 and the negative campaigns that led to it and the PAS and the recent Code of Practice all as being part of an ongoing drive to control the hobby, we are it seems in more peril than ever before (apart from our ancient and medieval specialists who are useful to the other side). There is a rather large cultural gap between detectorists and archaeologists, and as the CBA et al clearly seek more control in one way or the other, but of something they have little understanding of, it is more important than ever to promote the hobby. Especially to politicians.

I enjoyed my trip to EH's meeting. Despite differences, they were civilised and smoked salmon always goes down well.

NEW VOLUNTARY 'CODE OF PRACTICE'


On the 2nd of May 2006 there was a meeting at the British Museum where a New Voluntary 'Code of Practice' was launched. FID were invited to send a someone along and Justin Deeks agreed to go and be our observer.
Below is a copy of the 'Code of Practice' launched at that meeting. Your FID Committee stress that this 'Code of Practice is entirely VOLUNTARY and does not replace our existing FID 'CODE of CONDUCT'. FID WILL NEVER TELL IT'S MEMBERS WHAT TO DO, OTHER THAN TO OBEY THE LAW (and our 'code of conduct'). We will however be sending a copy of the British Museums 'Code of Practice' out to all members with the next FID Bulletin, but we stress once again, it is a VOLUNTARY Code sent out and shown below for information.


Being responsible means:

Before you go metal-detecting

1. Not trespassing; before you start detecting obtain permission to search from the landowner/occupier, regardless of the status, or perceived status, of the land. Remember that all land has an owner. To avoid subsequent disputes it is always advisable to get per- mission and agreement in writing first regarding the ownership of any finds subsequently discovered (see www.cla.org.uk / www.nfuonline.com).
2. Adhering to the laws concerning protected sites (e.g. those defined as Scheduled Monuments or Sites of Special Scientific Interest: you can obtain details of these from the landowner/occupier, Finds Liaison Officer, Historic Environment Record or at www. magic.gov.uk). Take extra care when detecting near protected sites: for example, it is not always clear where the boundaries lie on the ground.
3. You are strongly recommended to join a metal detecting club or association that en- courages co-operation and responsive exchanges with other responsible heritage groups. Details of metal detecting organisations can be found at www.ncmd.co.uk / www.fid. newbury.net.
4. Familiarising yourself with and following current conservation advice on the handling, care and storage of archaeological objects (see www.finds.org.uk).
While you are metal-detecting

5. Wherever possible 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 undisturbed pasture, be careful to ensure that no damage is done to the archaeological value of the land, including earthworks.
6. Minimising any ground disturbance through the use of suitable tools and by reinstat- ing any excavated material as neatly as possible. Endeavour not to damage stratified archaeological deposits.
7. Recording findspots as accurately as possible for all finds (i.e. to at least a one hundred metre square, using an Ordnance Survey map or hand-held Global Positioning Systems (GPS) device) whilst in the field. Bag finds individually and record the National Grid Ref- erence (NGR) on the bag. Findspot information should not be passed on to other parties without the agreement of the landowner/occupier (see also clause 9). 8. Respecting the Country Code (leave gates and property as you find them and do not damage crops, frighten animals, or disturb ground nesting birds, and dispose properly of litter: see www.countrysideaccess.gov.uk).

After you have been metal-detecting

9. Reporting any finds to the relevant landowner/occupier; and (with the agreement of the landowner/occupier) to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, so the information can pass into the local Historic Environment Record. Both the Country Land and Business Associa- tion (www.cla.org.uk) and the National Farmers Union (www.nfuonline.com) support the reporting of finds. Details of your local Finds Liaison Officer can be found at www.finds. org.uk, e-mail info@finds.org.uk or phone 020 7323 8611.
10. Abiding by the provisions of the Treasure Act and Treasure Act Code of Practice (www. finds.org.uk),
wreck law (www.mcga.gov.uk) and export licensing (www.mla.gov.uk). If you need advice your local Finds Liaison Officer will be able to help you.
11. Seeking expert help if you discover something large below the ploughsoil, or a con- centration of finds or unusual material, or wreck remains, and ensuring that the land- owner/occupier's permission is obtained to do so. Your local Finds Liaison Officer may be able to help or will be able to advise of an appropriate person. Reporting the find does not change your rights of discovery, but will result in far more archaeological evidence being discovered.
12. Calling the Police, and notifying the landowner/occupier, if you find any traces of hu- man remains. 13. Calling the Police or HM Coastguard, and notifying the landowner/occupier, if you find anything that may be a live explosive: do not use a metal-detector or mobile phone nearby as this might trigger an explosion. Do not attempt to move or interfere with any such explosives.
Finding out more about archaeology

You can find out more about the archaeology of your own area from the Historic Environment Records maintained by local authority archaeology services (in England) and the Welsh archaeological trusts (see contact lists at www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/ show/nav.1549 and www.ggat.org.uk/fourwelshtrusts.htm). For further information contact the Council for British Archaeology (tel 01904 71417 / www.britarch.ac.uk) who can also supply details of local archaeology societies



THE ORIGINAL FID BULLETIN (1982)


THE NEW FID BULLETIN (2006)




THE INTERNET & DETECTING

The Internet has changed our lives and shrunk the world in a way that even advanced travel never could. This is as true in metal detecting as in any other area of life. Detectorists are now able to view the latest machines and compare manufacturers from the comfort of their own home. Almost every make and model has a forum and in some cases more than one, where owners and prospective purchasers can compare notes, share tips. Online clubs, like our own 'Detectorists Community Club' enable people to show off their finds, get to know other hobbyists and chat in real time with fellow enthusiasts often divided by thousands of miles. From finding a club to join to seeing a collection of finds, all is now possible within seconds. Free ads mean that buyer and seller can get together at the click of a mouse. What the future holds can only be guessed at but one thing is for sure, the world will continue to shrink and our hobby will benefit many times over.


Are we being 'ripped off' for the latest comments see our featured letter on the opinions page.


Let us hope that wise councils win the day and that there will be a future for the 'worlds greatest hobby' without further restrictions and constraints.

ADVICE FROM FID

It is so easy to be wise after the event, we all think this will never happen to me! The other common misconception is that if you are honest and stick to the law, then you have nothing to fear. Well it can happen to anybody at any time and we do need to take precautions to protect ourselves before setting out detecting. Photocopy all your permissions and carry them with you whenever your out detecting. Always try to park your car on the edge of the field you are detecting rather than on the public road. Leave a note on that can be seen from the outside of the car "Metal Detecting with the permission of Farmer (name). Check back on the car at regular intervals. Carry your insurance and ID cards.
The Police have a hard and essential job to do but they are just ordiary people like you and I, they cannot be expected to be gifted with knowledge on every hobby and recreation. Unfortunately for us most of what they know about metal detecting has been as the result of adverse propaganda from Museum and archeological employees who themselves are often deeply predjudiced against the hobby. This small group are regarded as academics and therefore their opinions are often taken for gospel. It may not be fair but it is up to us to go the extra mile to demonstrate our honesty rather than to take it for granted that we will be believed.


THE ONLINE CLUB

With over 600 members the Online Detecting Cub (which can be found at This linkhas proved very popular, unfortunately the website owners "The Ramius Corporation" have now decided to charge for the service
We were going to close it down but a number of members seem to be happy to pay for the service, so we will leave it up for the moment. Once we can find an alternative that will do the same things but at a price that will allow FID to offer the service to our members free, then we will just change the link and carry on from there.
Good Hunting,
The FID team.


A VERY CAUTIONARY TRUE STORY

The article below was recieved by email on the 29th July 2004 and is pasted below:

From: Gerald
To: hon.sec.fid@detectorists.net
Sent: Monday, July 19, 2004 4:38 PM
Subject: Bulletin / BBC

To Colin Hanson.
A friend of mine gave me your bulletin number 84 June 2004. On the second page you ask if anyone knows why the BBC put out a program on nighthawks.
I beleive I know the answer. Someone I know had a case dropped against him by letter. Whlie he was waiting to go to court for the judge to make it offical the BBC contacted him and wanted an interview which he said no to. He felt that the way the papers had written about him with incorrect details ( twice ) he could not trust anyone.
I am sure it was because of his high profile case that the program came out.
Below is a letter which I have sent to the Searcher and Treasure hunting magazine.
I have spoken to the Editor of British Archaeology about his article in the June issue on page 6 and he said that he may print another story for the August issue as its to late for July. He said he will check out what I have said.
Below is what happened in October 2002. Please let me know what you think and if you might print something.
Treasure hunting may be banned one day and what happened below will not help

A copy of this letter will be sent to Richard Allan MP. All documents can be provided which show where and when he was arrested and soil samples.
The BBC wanted to interview the person concerned but he declined but has gave me full permission and documents to send.

A Treasure hunterís story

In October 2002 a metal detectorist on his way home from a farm he has permission to search on was stopped in his car and arrested for going equipped.
This person had done nothing wrong but be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the end evidence was shown and the CPU dropped the case and all his property that was taken from him and his house has been returned as he had done nothing wrong but not after he had gone through hell and back.
The person stopped was Mr Robert Duquemin who was arrested for digging on a scheduled site, the Roman town of Cunetio. The papers said he was stopped leaving the Roman town when in fact he was stopped over 8 miles away, copy on interview sheet below. The papers also said his house was searched and £250,000 worth of coins and antiquities was taken from his home. On the night in question Mr Doquemin was detecting on a field that he has permission on. He was not able to park his car at his field because of the utility works at the entrance to the field so he parked his car near some houses where he believed it would be safe. From there it was just a short walk to his field across the footpaths, about 5-10 minutes. Because Robert works shifts and finished at 10pm he would often go out in the dark, he has been detecting for over 15 years and wont miss a week. Articles in magazines show people do this.
On his way home, he was stopped by the police in Chiseldon, over 8 miles from the Roman town. The police arrested him and left his car in the service station just off J15 on the M4 While he was at the station his house was searched and everything he had collected over the years was taken. The police also wanted to take shoe polish away as they said he might cover his face with it.
In the interview room about a week after his arrest, the police used one of Robertsís maps and asked what field he had been digging. Robert pointed at the map and the police marked that position on his map. The police then went to the Farmer to check out his story. After the Farmer confirmed he did go his land the police went to the wrong field, (not the field he told the police he was on) and took soil samples. At a later interview, the police told him they took soil samples from his field, they then told him what field that was by landmarks. Robert asked for the interview to be stopped so he could talk to his solicitor. He told the solicitor the police had gone to the wrong field. Roberts solicitor then arranged for there own soil sample to be taken from the correct field and contacted the person that was used by the police for some very big high profile murder cases, so this man is no fool. This scientist (one of the best in the UK) took more samples, this time from the field that Robert has permission on which close to the Roman town and took samples from the town and other fields. The samples showed the soils are all similar in the area and Robertsís coins could have come from the field he said he was on.
At one interview, the police was going to prosecute Robert for not declaring the silver Saxon strap end. This was found a few years ago but as its silver Pc Noyce wanted to charge him with not declaring. As far as I know when something is found which might be treasure you must report it within a time period or as soon as you know that its treasure. Once Pc Noyce told Robert it was silver and what it was, Robert took the correct action and reported it, the police then dropped that charge.
At another interview the police showed a letter from me to Robert, giving map references of sites in the area. The sites were taken from the internet which I said in the letter. The police then searched his house for the second time looking for a computer. If the police had read this letter properly, they would have seen I sent the letter with the sites because Robert canít get access to a computer and any PC would have been seen in the first search.
I have done metal detecting for about 10 years now and look for sites on maps. Once a site is found we then contact the farmer or land owner to try and get permission. It is possible that the site might be protected but once we know where a site is we search the surrounding area, not the site itself, that would be wrong and against the law. Itís better to detect in an area where you know there has been some activity thatís why Robert got permission on the farm close to the Roman town.
Pc Noyce then wanted to talk to me. In a conversation with him he asked me to inform him of shops that might take treasure off peopleís hands to be sold on. He also wanted me to inform on metal detectorists who may break the law, the conversation came to an end after that.
The only thing the police could say was that his car was parked close to the town. Robert was told the case was dropped by letter but had to go to court to hear that officially. The judge told the police to hand back everything that was taken from him and from his house apart from the Saxon strap end. The police made him wait about four weeks before they gave heís property back.
The police wasted thousands on this case which was a farce from the beginning on prosecuting an innocent man, thatís why the case was dropped. How can the police say he was on the field when he was stopped over 8 miles from it? Look at any map, to get to Chisledon, where he was arrested, you need to drive past five small towns. How can the police say his coins came from the Roman town when it was proved that the soil was all similar on all the fields around including the farm he has permission on. Are the police saying that the Romans did not walk anywhere and would not drop coins elsewhere If people believe the news papers he would be very rich but the papers were not correct in what they printed If he had that amount no judge would have told the police to return everything to him. Robert has been hounded since that night back in October 2002. He has lost most of his permission on farms because of this and canít get any new permission. Some countries ban detecting but I canít see why. We do no damage, our machines only go about 8 inches deep and, if we are lucky might make two or three holes every 20 feet. A plough goes much deeper and covers all the land and will destroy anything it hits. If a bronze coin or artefact is left in the ground the chemicals that the farmer puts down will destroy it for ever, so it must be better out of the ground. I know there are people in the hobby for the money but we are not all like that. Robert has a great collection from the last 15 or more years, he was dedicated to this hobby, but now he is called a nighthawk who plunders scheduled monuments. The police once said to Robert that if any holes are dug on protected sites they have the right to bang on his door. To be told that must worry him a lot but he wonít let it show. MP Richard Allan tabled three parliamentary questions. If the hobby is banned in the future a lot of people will blame Robert, if its banned it could be on the basis that Robert was digging on a scheduled site. No one had printed the correct details. Robert is a quiet person who does no harm and can not take on the papers or police and just wants to forget that night in October but he is not getting the chance to forget because of all the articles that keep coming out which are not correct He will not give any interviews even when the BBC wanted to pay him. I have got his interview papers taken just after his arrest which say he was arrested in Chiseldon , letters about the soil samples to say all area are similar and all other documents about his case which to me, show why the case was dropped. Perhaps you have no interest in what I have said or have as evidence, but someone has to try and put this right. I regard Robert as a very close friend and feel sorry for the way he has been treated. As far as everyone is concerned, Robert was caught but let off. But as he was not found guilty he canít make any appeal to clear his name, which is very sad. Robert once said that he wished he would have been found guilty then he could appeal and clear his name. As it stands to everyone, he is a lucky thief who had a case dropped because the value of the coins was about £50. There has never been any mention of the evidence that cleared him.
Roger Bland, head of portable antiquities suspects it was the low value of the coins that led to the CPS dropping the case, thatís like you can burgle a house but as long as itís under £50, its ok.
It would be nice to think someone would print the correct details if only for the sake of our hobby.


BEGINNERS PLEASE

Every day we receive both email and snail mail from people who are either just about to start metal detecting or who have just started and wonder what to do next.

We have all been in their position and one time or another and I would ask fellow detectorists to be patient helpful with these newcomers to our wonderful hobby. If you meet them out detecting, or on the net in a chat room or newsgroup, please take a little time to help them. The hobby needs new blood because only numbers matter in the fight to stop bans and prohibitions. You can have the best cause in the world but if you are only a small group, authority will take no notice of anything you say however reasonable it may be.

OUR ADVICE TO BEGINNERS

Buy as many hobby magazines as you can and read about it before rushing out to get a machine and start detecting. Join an organisation or club so that you can demonstrate to landowners that you are responsible. Donít buy the most expensive detector just because itís the latest technology, if you have trouble working it or just donít get as much out of the hobby as you expected it could wind up an expensive item in the attic. Good earphones are nearly as important as the detector itself, no good the machine hearing a deep coin but not passing the information on to you. Remember every bit of land belongs to someone, so make sure you have valid permission before detecting. Itís a good idea to practice in your own yard with a few metal objects in plastic envelopes with a piece of string attached, bury them at different depths and see how they sound.

We could go on and on but probably wouldnít cover the things you would like to know, so if you are a newcomer to detecting, think carefully about the things you need to know and ask either in your club or organisation, or in a newsgroup or chatroom or write to your local magazine.

Good Hunting,
The FID team.


WE WELCOME YOUR VIEWS ON ANY ASPECT OF THE HOBBY

Letters, news items, criticism, articles, all are welcome and subject to available space will be included in 'Online News' as soon as possible. Just send them to 'Fid Online News' . And like everything in FID your contribution will receive immediate attention! Is very proud to feature such outstanding contributions.

Any concerns or interest in membership of FID may be directed to Hon Secretary FID




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