Received an email last night from Dan LaMontagne, who took me to task a while back on the American Detectorist forum. You can view that orignal back and forth here. With his permission I share his recent email here (un-edited), as well as the PDF attachments he sent….
Hello Mr. Stout,
I thought you would like this info especially after our exchange on the American Detectorist forum. After reading this you could say the recent bad detecting shows that depict our hobby in such a negative light may have at least gotten “the powers that be” comming to the table to exchange concerns, info and to find some “common ground” . I was a little surprised at how we “amature archaeologists” were not entirely looked down upon, and actually revered for our skills with detectors, research and local historic knowledge by RPA,SHA and SAA. Well not really, after working closely with archaeologist for the last 3 years i felt this appreciation and respect alot. Mr. Stout I still stand by my original statement, the wheels are moving because to much can be gained by working together. My only part of this story is “where was the FMDAC all through this ” they are suppose to be an advocate and promote metal detecting, i think they missed a huge opportunity. you take care Mr.Stout and i encourage you to “drop by the forum” to visit.
The attached documents….
Dan, thank you for taking the time to send the email and the accompanying documents. From what I have read this all has to do with the National Geographic “Diggers” show, and how to make it more palatable for everyone concerned. While I agree with that I still have my doubts that anything correct will come of this.
To me the most telling document was the summary of the workshop proceedings. I counted thirteen members of the archaeological community, one metal detector manufacturing rep (Minelab), and one detectorist (or to use their term, one avocational metal detectorist).
While ready this summary a few things bothered, starting with…. “There was an overall agreement that AMD (avocational metal detectorists)activities should be conducted within the parameters of professional supervision.” and “This kind of oversight is key in determining where metal detecting may be conducted, how it is to be conducted, and how the discoveries that AMD’s make are best recorded, reported, and utilized with the goal of recovering information from the past.”
Another that bothers me….”The model of having objects recovered by AMDs donated to local museums or other repositories where the AMD is given recognition for the discovery of the object, and where the object is made available for exhibition remaining in privately held collections (What does “privately held” means exactly?).
They go on to mention the UK’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, but add….”although the compensation portion of the UK model remains controversial.” In other words, God forbid you should be reembursed for your research, your time and effort!
Then later….”At the same time there was general, though not universal, recognition of the considerable skills that expereienced AMDs have in the use of metal detectors both in recovering objects and locating undiscovered archaeological sites.” Well, of course we are nothing more than amateurs.
Then when discussing the possibility of creating a similar PAS here….”However, the element of compensation of AMDs and landowners for recovered objects is widely seen as a major inducement for people to engage in metal detecting for financial gain, labeled by some as “professionally licensed” looting.
Apparently the arkies want to be with us at all times, tell us where we can detect, give us written credit for finding things, but if they happen to be worth anything, forget it.
I could go on and on with my thoughts on this topic, especially the meeting summary, but will not simply because it’s something for one of our national organizations to take on or get involved with. Dan, as for the FMDAC, I haven’t a clue what their status is and have given up hope for any kind of realistic action they may take in the future. Likewise the Taskforce for Metal Detecting Rights seems to have gone into hibernation, as their website has remained the same since May. WWATS is pretty much the same….
As for me, I have given up on the possibility of any reasonable, realistic pact with the archaeological community. Their goal since the late 70’s has been to put us out of business, and I see nothing here to indicate a change in that objective. To them we will always be amateurs, grave diggers, pot robbers and looters….
Dan, thanks again for sharing all this, and I really hope you make a liar out of me. I would love to see something similar to the PAS over here. Unfornately I have just seen too many years where “token crumbs” are thrown our way, and after pissing in the wind way too many times, I have given up.
Perhaps others reading this will take up the issue, do something and share their views (there’s a place on my blog for comments). I would welcome that…..
And where did the term AMD (avocational metal detectorist) come from? Do you have the feeling they really wanted to use the word “amateur” but didn’t want to say it in public?
Sunday I found myself really enjoying the day… The temps were around 86, the winds were brisk, and it reminded me of metal detecting back home. I truly believe the fall season is the time of year when metal detecting is at it’s best. Perhaps it’s a carry over from the East coast, but I can remember those fall days when the air was fresh, the leaves were bright colors, thick on the ground, and my enthusiasm was at it’s peak. Fall here in Texas is certainly better than the extreme heat of summer, but it just isn’t the same….
Yes, the days are shorter, but the kids were back in school, not bothering you with the “what did you find mister”, and the anticipation was always higher than normal. I couldn’t wait to hit those old picnic groves , parks, and fairgrounds. No sweating, summer rains to make digging easier, and no reason to look over your shoulder. Funny how things like this stay with you, and despite wanting to go back and do them all over again, it just never seems to happen.
Fall in the Northeast is really something special, and I miss it very much….