Can Something Like This Work?

Got thinking about the various “national” groups out there, and how they are all trying to revive their efforts, and wanted to throw this idea out there, and  see what kind of feedback it generates…

    1. All three groups (FMDAC, Task Force & WWATS) set a date to meet to and discuss a “definitive” coming together or joining of forces. (IMO three separate groups will not work.
    2. The end result must be ONE national organization with a new name, (two words that come to mind…”Alliance” and “Coalition”) with balanced representation from all three.
    3. Next, come up with a do-able, and effective plan of action on how to move forward.
    4. Next, set up a date to meet with and  present your plan to the manufacturers, magazine publishers, distributors, and anyone else whose livelihood depends on the continuation of  the pastime.
    5. Present your plan, ask for their verbal support, as well as financial and material support.
    6. The NEW organization MUST be a full time group, with paid employees (at least two or three)
    7. Have a website that is attractive, informative, constantly updated, and that allows for members to have input and ask questions. (NOT a forum, but a question and answer type format).
    8. Increase dues to $30 a year for all members, and perhaps allow clubs to join with members paying $15 or $20 each (set aside a percentage for a “Legal Fund”).
    9. Forget organizing chapters for now. They have not worked out and apparently just created more problems.
    10. Hold a yearly convention/hunt/meeting, but make sure it pays for itself, and that it includes a meeting where membership can participate.

Please understand this just my idea, and I know it there are a zillion ways to add to it or change it.  I offer it as food for thought.  A few of you have  already offered ideas, and I would be inerested in hearing from others, especially from the major players in the FMDAC, WWATS and Task Force.

Lastly, let me be on record with the following because I know the rumors will start…. I want absolutely nothing at all to do with any efforts to organize a  national group.  I have been there, done that, and there are a lot more knowledgeable people out there who know what’s going on today. I do not.  I am 71 years old, quite happy  here, sitting on my ass, drinking wine, pissing off the arkies every now and then and stirring the pot, as in this post!



Thanks to Regton and Eddy Current (a.k.a. Serge Coil) for the following articles….

New Faces and New Finds

Artifacts From Oldest Known Museums

Hoard Now Declared Treasure



Filed under Metal Detecting

56 responses to “Can Something Like This Work?


    Hi Dick;

    I believe your thoughts would work if the hatred and views held by those during the 1990’s between the FMDAC and WWATS could be set aside.

    Until than there is little chance of change unless we all put aside these ancient views.

    I have met ‘BUGLER” (the founder of WWATS) here in Pittsburgh,Pa at one of our club meetings many years ago, prior to my becoming a Chapter President, and  I detected with him a few hours.

    I also met with him at the FMDAC convention years ago when he left the FMDAC. He came out of that meeting, straight to me, shook my hand, thanked me for all my help and friendship. 

    I only knew him by his nickname ‘BUGLER’ at that time and  I never did learn what the issues were between WWATS and the FMDAC. 

    Back than i t was ‘MY God don’t ever say the word WWATS’.

    Personally I found Bugler to be an extremely nice person who had/has a dream to save our hobby.

    But don’t we all??

    Harry Niemeyer

    • Agree Harry it’s not going to be easy, but I personally don’t see any other way. Ego’s and past problems will have to be checked at the door, before they meet.

  2. I LIKE it! Will share idea on my end…

  3. Yo Dick:
    If the US hobby gets organised on the lines you rightly suggest and with the lobbying clout of say the NRA, then you and I know for certain, the opposition will shit bricks – big style! What it does not need to do is ape the wretched antics of the UK’s governing body whose flag is a white cross on a white background.

  4. Oh yeh, I forgot…Jesus H ….are you really only 71?
    Bless your heart!

  5. I applaud your thoughts and efforts, but know human nature will not let either of these three come together. After all, follow the money. Yet, your ideas do lay out a platform for someone to innovate and lead if they so choose to take this Satan on head to head. I believe that the answer is coming and it will be someone outside the indoctrinated that is pushed just too far to look back. I am with you on not being that person. I am growing tired of selfless uplifting of others and transitioning my own effort. I think the marketplace will bring us someone worthy of our trust. Thus far, I just don’t see it.

    • Chad, I have a feeling you may be right, but it’s worth a mention and a try. I wonder if anyone from these groups will bother to respond?

    • pocketspill

      But the marketplace is us. The human nature is our nature.

    • Keith Wills

      You are nearly right and the process has already started and will soon be forward to everyone. Someone outside of the groups trained for years now and knows the laws and license to practice it in the courtroom. But it will be costly, then we’ll see how many will put up or shut up.

      • Keith, thanks but the WWATS website’s last update was November 9th. If something great happened at your Rendezvous then say it please? This is exactly why people give up.

      • If we are creative, the mad money and deep pockets won’t be needed, but just enough will come in to get the job done. Although, the more I think about the one over arching effort the more I don’t like that idea. I think we have to think more like minute men.

      • Keith Wills

        I started to write a long and lengthy answer to this but I decided to delete it. Why, well I figured you have been in this long enough yourself to know what I know and what the manufacturers/magazines know and maybe a few others; folks in this hobby don’t give a damn unless something happens in their own backyard!

        This is a fact! How many times I have begged, pleaded and preached to them to care, care about if your offsprings will someday get to enjoy this hobby as we do; I know you have done the same. I don’t need to tell you the disappointment there, yet we continue on and hope someday a few more will care, maybe even care as much as their love for this great past time.

        I have been fighting for this as long as you have and some of the manufacturers have offered assistance when I go to courtrooms, go before committees and to Washington DC, but I have yet to take a single penny from them: why, because I’m ashamed of the many that don’t care enough to help.

        They have donated products several times and full page ads in the magazines to raise funds to help others being prosecuted. Once and only once a web forum cared enough to help me get to Washington to see the Forest Service when we were having some problems with them. I sent that information out, I think it still is on WWATS site of the wonderful results of that meeting, but in the long run, I have yet to hear from anyone that cared.

        You have been through this, you know! As for the WWATS website, I ask you to try to understand that our webmaster has been ill and that he is in very high demand for the moment. Another delay is that WWATS is undergoing a major change in membership and direction. New board members, changes in business documents and IRS rating, this just takes a little time and it helps no one to say something that we can not fullfill. If you check, WWATS site has never been delayed in the past, so reasoning would tell you that sometime is up, and major change is that something.

        WWATS now has two sites, the newest site under construction and for charter members soon is . Soon you will see the Rendezvous, video and much more. WWATS has planned three Rendezvous a year, watch the website to stay updated on when and where. We plan to make the Rendezvous across the US so others can benefit from them. This also takes time to plan. Hope others will learn as much as we did being there. One of the ways we hope that other clubs, groups and organizations will gather for a united cause.


      • Thanks Keith for taking the time to share your thoughts, and the current situation with WATTS….

        You mentioned the webmaster being ill, etc., and it’s a good example of why the pastime needs to have a full time organization, with paid employees. Depending on one man to handle your website is difficult. I suspect that’s why the other two groups are struggling now as well. They should be able to use it, understand it and constantly keep people informed, if only to say we are here, don’t worry.

        Why not a blog like this one? It’s free, easy to use, and you can get your message out daily or for that matter, every hour. Look into it.

        I still think three organization, trying to unite, asking for money(dues) will only spread thin those that care and might be able to help. Yes, you are right in that I have been through this, and understand the apathy that is prevalent within the pastime. Hate to say it but detectorists seem to care about thing….themselves.

        They think nothing of spending $2,500 for a detector, yet won’t give $5 to help insure they have a place to use it next year. Like you said, it takes something close to home for them to get up in arms, and in most cases by then it’s too late to fix the problem. I am disappointed in most everyone involved….I look at the hobby today, and it’s not any different then it was back in the 80’s.

        We are still groveling to be accepted, both by the archaeologists, the community, the state, etc….Why? We have done nothing wrong or illegal. It’s time we stood up, took a stand and let the chips fall where they may.

        Good luck with the reorganization, but I still wish you would sit down face to face with the other two groups and find a way to come together under one umbrella. JMO.

        Thanks again Keith…

  6. Bob

    Dick Your comments are a start (It has to start somewhere some how) Yes they can be changed. Start with your item #1 & then #4 and hopefully the rest will fall in place.

  7. Bob I can assure you that the manufacturers, publishers, etc.. will not be interested in investing in a dream or an outline. I feel certain you can get their interest, get them to show up at a meeting, but you better have some plan of action that is doable, practical and that has target dates, etc.. JMO.

    • pocketspill

      It would seem to me they would react positively to a “business plan” for the new organization. And this wheel should not be re-invented. We should solicit the advice of other successful advocacy leaders. The NRA used to be apolitical but now has been taken over by the interests of the manufacturers, not the gun owners (per multiple reports from both political arenas.) Who to get advice from (with no conflict of interest) is possibly a good next step.

  8. pocketspill

    Highly motivated by your post. Egos will be bruised and some will refuse to let go of their perceived kingdom. We are adults.

    We don’t need another forum. We need a state of the art advocacy and news site built from a commercial e-magazine framework. It should be easy for the officers to update without having a bottleneck of one site maintainer.. I’ve built many of these and made them successful. It requires that we fold all of the other sites into one and forward their domains to it.

    I wonder if we could get a memo of support for this unification process from the manufacturers and major retailers? Not a contract or commitment, but something to use as fuel in support of moving forward?.

    • Absolutely don’t need another forum….to many already. I know you could put together a site that anyone would be proud of and it would be state of the art. The memo of support thing also sounds good. Let me see if maybe I can scare a response or two from them…?

    • Scott, not sure where to go with this topic…..was hoping someone from the three groups would respond. I know for certain the major particpants have seen it, but apparently they don’t care to reply.

      Looks like we will continue with three organizations who have trouble communicating with anyone, let alone our detractors…

      Maybe you can pick up the ball and run with it…..?

      • pocketspill

        Sorry Dick, I’m not the guy to lead something like this.

        If I could indulge in a moment of hypocritical behavior, I find the negativity of many detectorists in discussions about advocacy repulsive. Any new organization must ready to compromise with archaeologists* and preservationists, not just squeeze out slack-jawed rants dipped in narcissistic goo. Detectorists need to surface the optimists and level headed detectorists out there and form an organizational committee, joined via Google Hangout, perhaps.

        * – not “archies” and yes, it matters how we refer to them.

        Last thing…anyone who would balk at a $5 dues (let alone the $30-50 most national advocacy groups require) are suffering from cognitive dissonance about moving the needle on any issue in 2013. Grass roots does not mean dirt poor, and PR, legal and administrative expenses add up even with volunteers. If there’s a fear of someone misappropriating funds, simple accounting safeguards can be put in place like in every other nonprofit out there.

  9. After thinking some I will not contact the manufacturers. It’s not my place in all this…..Likewise it’s up to the parties involved.

  10. Don’t know all the history of animosity amongst the groups but a Good Idea if cooler heads can prevail. I would also try to include representation from GPAA, whose battles closely parallel those of metal detecting.

  11. Hey Dick;
    I group with a consolidated front would be our best chance. One with a little political influence and some backing of a law degree. I would love to see us in a system like the UK. We need an official post in government that could step in and say hey your stepping on this groups rights. If we had a full-time paid lawyer with only us as a client (someone not into for just the money) we could possibly have something. There are more than enough clubs out there that hold hunts. If their was a group that we all joined say 50 dollars a year and provided us an insurance to cover our hunts and meetings (this way each club does not need to do that less money out of the clubs pocket).
    I would love to see insurance that covers our equipment as this stuff is not getting any cheaper. (2200 for a detector sheesh). The clubs provide a nice front but lets remember, just like some people should not have a drivers license, some people should not be running a club. I can see the US like the UK and like it.. But like Yoda says I fear the dark side in this one, someone getting in their that has more of the archeology stand point than the rights of citizens just wanting a hobby.

    Yeah I could go on but, I just woke up as I went to work at 4am (took a nap) and my hours are crazy right now. This requires you and I to have a lengthy conversation. orrrrrrr hold a conference call with moderators.


    • Thanks Jessie….appreciate hearing your views. I will have to say the idea of getting insurance for our equipment and insurance for club hunts is something that would have to happen much further down the road. And as for a lawyer just for us? Can’t imagine it…..

      When the FMDAC started we were very fortunate to have a lawyer/detectorist in our midst, Sam Abramo, and he was responsible for incorporating us, etc., and answering any legal questions we had.

      Later, as in the Fairmount Park situation, we had to hire a lawyer, but here again Sam was able to recommend someone who was familar with the political scene in Philadelphia, and who had friends on the inside. Just the way things work…..

  12. Sent a copy of this post out to maybe a hundred of my email contacts (all detectorists)….a couple of have emailed me, but for whatever reason don’t want to share their thoughts here. Disappointed to say the least.

    • This was from a close friend in the industry who didn’t want his name posted here…

      “Would that the several factions ever regain sanity and speak to each other, much less try to work to solve the problems. Your out line is the definitive roadmap to the solution but each group believes they are the only one to solve what ails the hobby, and the others are only seeking to debunk all others.

      A time of agreement has probably past but we can hope that clearer heads and minds will prevail and the community of hobbyists will exert enough influence to bring together the manufacturers, distributors, dealers and the dis-aligned groups to force a sane and realistic dialog. I really believe that the manufacturers must lead long enough to get things rolling, then take a back seat. The distributors are perhaps the most savvy of the bunch. Could they exhibit the same tenacity to protect the hobby, nationwide, as they do in their assigned areas.

      All of that to say I don’t know the answer but will be willing to assist in whatever way I can to achieve a happy and workable peace”.

      • The inherent problem is that of curing cancer. Once it is cured, those that cured it are out of job. This is why I look to a fresh face and someone who personally must take on this Satan. The divide and conquer strategy works to well for them to change things up now with consolidated the entrenched. Look what consolidation has done to our schools, church’s and other such institutions that are now failing. If a leader emerges, these entrenched entities will have two choices, either pitch a shoulder or become a part of the problem. Not knowing the political landscape of these entities in the past 40 or so years, I would not know where to start with mending fences. But I do know that fences get mended rather quickly when they have everything to loose and nothing to gain by not falling in step.

        I think that a broader appeal to other interest groups that are facing the same governmental intrusion could actually change things in a hurry. But beware, the socialist squirrels are running a muck and divide and conquer their favorite weapon.

  13. Mike Smith

    From my experience with being an officer in a few clubs, it cost roughly $400 a year for insurance ($1,000,000) for a club to have liability for club meetings and annual events. I do not see one company insuring all clubs nationwide and cerainly not individuals property (detectors), as some clubs are legally registered as 501(C)3’s and some operate legal but under the radar as to registration with State or Federal Offices.
    It would be great if the manufacturer’s, distributors could get together but they also operate like the three organizations, independently, and usually do not talk much to each other. We can always hope for change but they would have to make that change.
    I know I sound like a naysayer but that is just the way it is a this time.
    As Dick and many people around the country know, I am willing to help in anyway I can, but we will have to wait and see if the three organizations will communicate, as they are the key.

  14. Dick
    Your absolutely right. EVERYONE!!! needs to work together for the same cause and outcome. I’m all for supporting 1 entity to work on this huge problem. The animosities have to be left at the door. Everyone, manufacturers, detectorists, GPAA, and anyone else I forgot. I believe setting up a board. 1 spokesperson from each of the metal detecting companies, 1 person representing the GPAA, and 1 person in each quarter of the USA who represent the metal detectorists and clubs. The north/south line can be the Mississippi River. Just my 2 cents

    Kenny Briggs
    President Three Seasons Treasure Hunters
    Chippewa Falls, WI.

  15. Thanks Ken, just don’t see the chapter thing working……all you have to do is read the paper every morning.

  16. Dick, I like the idea. It sounds like there is some bad blood between the groups. Sounds quite similar to our political system. I say it’s time for everyone to put on their big boy pants and make something happen! As a side note if you personally contribute enough money nobody would say anything about you sitting in the lazy boy drinking merlot… Joking obviously

  17. I like the idea of one single organization to represent all detectorists in the US.

    The monumental task of joining the major groups into one aside, such an organization will only be efficient if it has sufficient funding or, in other words, numerous paying members to provide such. Raising the dues by 500%, however, is more likely to make existing members back off rather than entice potential new members to swarm to this new assembly.

    As with everything in life, people are going to ask: “What’s in it for me?” and (merely) being represented (albeit on a national scale) by some organization (for the average Joe) is simply not enough. People want an immediate benefit and they want it for free.

    Instead of reinventing the wheel, why not copy an existing successful equivalent, such as the NCMD in England?

    Here in the United Kingdom, the National Council for Metal Detecting not only represents clubs and individuals for a mere £8 a year (about $12US), but it also gives each of its members free liability insurance of up to £10,000,000 (about $15 million US), which includes cover both not only in the UK, but also while attending organized metal detecting outings abroad.

    What’s in it for the US hobbyist in comparison?

    –Eddy C.

  18. Thanks for replying Eddy…I do remember the “what’s i it for us” cheer. Used to hear it quite often and dues then were $1 a year. I think everyone here would like to copy your program, but how that happens is the big question….

  19. Received the following email response from Harold Lowenfels, who once was an integral part of the Task Force, but who retired 13 months ago. He wants to be sure that his remarks are not in any way construed as being from the Task Force.

    You may need to refer to my original ten talking points to understand a few of his responses….

    Hi Dick,
    Going to give a point by point response to “CAN SOMETHING LIKE THIS WORK?”

    1. The concept of a single force, rather than a series of splinter groups to advocate for the hobby is of course a good one, but this is the reality as I see it.

    I was unaware of any efforts by the FMDAC to revive itself, because the only effort by that group that most detectorists are aware of is the annual hunt. They also have a black eye because of the theft of funds which occurred many years ago. Because of this, the FMDAC would have to reinvent itself under a new name.

    The Task Force, is the new kid on the block. They started out as a local group advocating for the New York and New Jersey area, New York City in particular. They have recently expanded their coverage to the national arena, their intentions are admirable but they do not yet have the organization in place to effectively accomplish this.

    WWATS from what I understand is a worldwide group, and therefore is dissimilar to the other two groups and could not and should not readily merge with them. What WWATS could do however, is to form a symbiotic relationship with the other two groups either as separate entities or as one merged group. Indeed, WWATS and the FMDAC have already thrown their support behind the Task Force, when the Task Force asked for their assistance in a “Call to Arms” against the city of New York.

    2. One national organization with key personnel from the FMDAC, Task Force and others is desirable in order to have the reach and resources to accomplish the necessary goals. The blank, blank Alliance or Coalition would be a good name for this group. WWATS could be a support group to this new organization.


    4. I believe that the Task Force has already done this, but if a new organization is formed, it should probably be done again.

    5. “ditto”

    6. Not sure if this is necessary. The need should be established first. Where funds are needed, is for legal representation.

    7.This is a must.

    8. This will never happen, detectorists balked at giving $5 to join the FMDAC. Funds will have to come from the manufacturers, dealers and voluntary donations from someone’s rich uncle. The Task Force has been successful in raising funds in this manner.

    9.If not with chapters, then the organization will have to come up with some other means of gaining the coverage and local influence to carry out its mission. Perhaps, representation through local clubs.

    10. Agreed.

  20. I emailed a few of my friends and asked for their thoughts on this topic…. Bob Buttafuso responded via email, and said I could share his response here… Bob’s comments:

    Years ago, our club NVRHA (Northern Virginia Relic Hunters Association) was asked to join the Federation. A vote was taken and was quickly shot down. The main reason was fees and accountability. Also, relic hunters hunt mostly on private property or construction sites. Not parks, etc. that most coin hunters hunt in. The lawyer fees to fight issues relating to detecting would be more for the coin hunter than relic hunter.

    Our dues are now $30 per member or $35 for family membership. It would be hard to get another $15 plus dollars more out of them. I am sure if another vote was taken, the results would be the same. Unless they could be convinced that it would benefit them and not mainly the coin hunting community.

    We have fought the achies for years and it will continue to be a life-long struggle. There are some that we can work with and do while others still consider us “Looters” and “Grave Diggers”.
    Just thought I would throw my 2 cents in for whatever it’s worth.


    • Thanks Bob,

      Some good points I hadn’t thought about. Still think there’s a need for a universal coalition for all the varied interests. Suspect I will be dead and gone before it happens, but I will keep at it.

  21. This is a complex dilemma that shares many of the same frustrations many special interest groups do especially today in this crazy political landscape. From what I am reading, the machines in place are all stagnant. The type of money that would be needed to accomplish the shared goals is staggering. The reluctance of the relic and treasure hunter to unite or trust in an organization is well founded and would take a great deal of PR to overcome and win the rank and file back to the cause. Seed money would have to be found in deep passionate pockets just to win the numbers to leverage political movement. But say we had mad money. What would you do to overcome all that is working against us?

    This is what I would do:

    Create a major network prime time show that rivals Duck Dynasty but for relic and treasure hunters. Humor, entertainment and issues that we deal with everyday in our local backyards. You focus on not the value of the finds, but the value of the story recovered. You lift up and promote private ownership of property. You point out that most if not all government owned and protected land is in fact harboring thieves both in government and outside to cache on those lands. You point out the values we as relic and treasure hunters all hold dear or should. Trash pickup, clean plugs, leave the landscape looking better than when you found it, etc. You travel the country lifting up clubs, and relic and treasure hunters that embody the temerity of the relic and treasure hunter.

    You spend your mad money on promotion of the show and get it in front of as many eyes as possible then mid season roll out a show endorsed site that hosts anyone’s finds all gps located and depth if necessary so that researchers, historians, genealogists and anyone can use the data and finds to write, create and document the history recovered.

    With this site you break up the nation in chapters or regions all the way down to a very local hybrid of a club concept. You reward them on the site for activity, and formation of the infrastructure we lack today.

    You take the users, then and create your institution or subscription list. You promote in site and on the TV show hot debate items to keep them engaged and rallying without shooting the movement in the foot.

    You open up the definition to include damn near anyone. You just want to build numbers of informed and active membership. You don’t ask much of the membership, just staying active and engaged is enough. After all, we have mad money.

    Once you have your numbers, you monetize the both the show, the site, and this is where the seed money is supplemented for advocacy. You promote members to become active and run for local office. You reach out and find other movements that share the same ideals and concerns and do joint initiatives and events. You keep gaining numbers. You get a few invested in public offices and you keep building. Maybe some spin off talk radio shows, a few more TV programs geared to reach other demographics. Roll out a local hybrid club outreach program to get your membership out and into the schools and public square.

    When you have your numbers, you use the site that now has mostly replaced the need for archaeology, as your carrot to inform the archaeology world of their new role. You also find and provide grants to win over the opposition. After all mad money begets more mad money.

    Always monetizing and bringing deep pockets into the fray without asking much of them, giving them more than they ever dreamed possible to obtain with the money, or numbers they provide.

    It is a slow up hill battle, but one that can be won if you think big and make it happen. With numbers, and mad money with a bit of creativity and temerity, politicians and archaeologists bend slowly.

    • Chad, as usual thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas.

      I think you are correct about the deep pockets, and money situation. Right now it appears as though the three groups are willing to go it alone, and we will just have more of the same ole, same ole.

      I can think big for sure, but I am too old to take up any sort of crusade. Let’s hope someone or some group will.

    • pocketspill

      The currency as I see it passes through this exchange:

      A detectorist helping archaeologists / anthropologists locate and document an unknown site saves time and resources while opening a new lens into the historical record (especially via private property hunting.) It also demonstrates selflessness and patriotism – and a true desire to maintain integrity of a site. The organization deserves notoriety for their efforts within the archaeological* and detectorist community.

      In that model, I get to enjoy my hobby as I wish – in explore mode – swinging the coil without an academic handing me flags. But I have a mission that is bigger than myself and i'm self-motivated to work towards it. I have the chance to share not only my finds, but my talents and wisdom as a storyteller of history VIA THE ORGANIZATIONS MESSAGING AND MUSCLE. HERE IS THE WAY WE BUILD THE HOBBY. WE APPEAL TO THE PATRIOTISM AND REGIONALISM OF VOTERS and POLITICIANS. When land-access rules are considered, we can send letters to legislators which include the phrases "ABC organization, endorsed by the Dept of Archaeology" or "ABC organization in association with archaeologists nationwide."

      The net-net of this improved credibility is more access to public lands and a general positive image of detectorist. Our permission requests could now paint the landowner as a patriot and preserver of heritage by working with us and the ABCD organization. The image of "looting" and thieves of history will erode.

      I know little about TV, and a lot about online marketing. I think that a very similar upside you describe is available with a web video series + mass promotion. The demographic would be a bit younger for sure. You can get a message in front of a targeted audience for as little as $2-5 CPM (Cost per thousand impressions) on Facebook and other ad networks. As far as programming.. I'm thinking American Pickers for detectorists (with a ride-along archaeologist and guests from local detecting communities.)

      * I do not understand the "replace the need for archaeology" part of your argument. I'm a noob (but learning fast) about the archaeological methodology. I have also discussed a database like you've described with archaeologists before – somewhat modeled on the Portable Antiquities Scheme in the UK (see their online database.) But I see it as a system where the finds are available for anyone to see to the *county level only*.. The specific GPS data and property / owner locations are available only to accredited archaeologists with checked credentials. I would never open the database….even with a password. The data would have an ombudsman / committee (online) who takes requests for specific regions and evaluates them. This offers the property owners a measure of privacy and gives us something that the professionals need – data.

      • I know politics and the bureaucracy all too well to want to play their game. What I am proposing is changing the game with power of numbers and mad money would help. The way I see it, the institution of archaeology is a bureaucratic sentinel for any political machine in power. To play their game or to give any to their madness means you have lost on day one.

        Today with the technology available to the average relic and treasure hunter the archaic institution of archaeology is all but redundant. UNLESS, they revolutionize their institution. The UK has a vastly superior system to our own but still flawed beyond reason. A step forward but not the ultimate answer. Institutions only change if they are forced to realize they are redundant and their cushy jobs and status is threatened. This is why you build a better solution without their help or assistance. To that end, you do not cozy up to one political party or the other as that is admitting defeat on day one as well.

        To get anything done, you have to create a political power house from nothing that is beholden to only its membership. I think you are on the right track with the social media push as that is the game changer. And it is relatively cheap to be everywhere and build the brand. Honestly, I think the solution is a for profit brand building business rather than a non-profit as the umbrella company. Non-profits, PAC’s and other useful entities can be brought on under the umbrella as platoons and regiments to tackle individual problems and needs that arise.

        The key is not to play their game, but instead change the game with power and numbers. A TV show or a Webisode pushed through social media and a solution based online presence that is free and open rather than constrained by accreditation is the solution. The moment you put bottle necks into the system the opposition will seize upon it and divide and conquer the effort. Trust me, been there, done that.

        You create the better solution first, then make room for the Archaeological institution to play in your sandbox but in the roll you give them. They become educators and teachers and help ID artifacts, catalog and document them not for their own coffers but instead an online interactive and open database that bobby digger can update his recent finds in the local park wearing boxers from his laptop. Finds, artifacts and such are not warehoused for none to see, but retained by the property owner and/or relic and treasure hunter but their data, the documentation is instead shared with the world and available for anyone to marvel and study. This frees up the overhead of warehousing and puts the finds in the rightful hands of the property owners and relic and treasure hunters hands. With total and complete disclosure, there is no need for the laws prohibiting our hobby or industry.

        The private land owners can be protected by making everything available by township and not gps located although that info will be recorded if available. Now that property owner who really wants to know the story of his property can log on and toggle access to his properties finds by gps if he wishes. This also creates a new advocate, and bumps up the numbers from just relic and treasure hunters to property owners. Power = numbers.

        The private property owner is given control over what is revealed, creating a new advocate, increasing our numbers and replacing the upside down system we have today.

        Archaeologists serve us, they are public servants and often try to represent us by tying our hands not to protect our history, but instead to protect the political agenda of the day and criminals caching the properties or not wanting to reveal where the bodies are buried. Archaeologists are pawns with a political toothless tiger mentality. If only the numbers could be amassed to hold them accountable, this toothless tiger would cower as would the politicians.

        The only way to change the rules of the game are by amassing power and providing solutions that provide everyone a place to play in the sandbox you create.

      • Chad, you have just pretty much summed up my feelings with this post. I think we try too hard to have the archaeological community accept us, and they love to see us grovel.

        I hardily agree that we need to work on OUR program, OUR organization, OUR efforts, and if they are interested in accepting what it is we do, then we can talk.

        Like you I have been there, done that and I am tired being a second class citizen in their eyes.

        Thanks for a great commentary….

      • Many Archaeologists actually feel the same way we do. They have invested all this time and money to get credentials that only hog tie them into stagnation. They see the writing on the walls. They will heartily join us as members and advocates, if we don’t twist their arm to change an institution that is bankrupt of ideas and innovation. We provide the solution, and they will be thick as thieves trying to weasel their way into such a movement. Which leads to the need for it being a “for profit” rather than a “non-profit” umbrella business vehicle. You have to be able to ferret out the sentinels like a tyrant, while keeping it open and robust to keep gaining momentum and growing your power base.

        Another idea that may make this happen without deep pockets is to not reinvent the wheel but instead offer real solutions to the entities that are already serving the relic and treasure community. Why not add the database to the already large relic and treasure user forums that are out there? They already have huge catalogs of finds. Why not take those finds and add them to a google earth map where the users can geo locate where each was found?

        It would only assure the continued growth of those forum sites and give them a tool to grow their membership, the key would be that they would sign on and share that membership list or give the entity access to that membership through on site advertising and promotions.

        There are already a ton of people moving into the entertainment realm, instead of creating our own program, why not supplement promising upstarts with funding and bring them into the fold with access to the membership that is gained by making key alliances with sites that are already doing what we would like to see accomplished.

        Mountains can get moved if your not tightly constrained into the box that the opposition wants to shut us into.

      • Another thought, there is this club template that I have been dying to try. It is heavily based on “one member, one vote”. It is very organic and would readily adapt to our online world, but instead get very local, very fast. The really interesting thing about it is that it is the secretary and not the president that run the local clubs. Back in 1917-1930’s it recalled the very first Governor in USA history. It all hinges around a yearly convention where each group representative, the secretary, travels to the convention and votes on behalf of the club they represent. All business for that year is discussed and a board is elected to run the movement for that year. All officers are duly elected each year, all finances are transparent and revealed and each are held accountable for their actions or in-actions in their term with the annual vote.

  22. Sorry for the late reply Dick. Traveling again…

    I have always been a supporter of the FMDAC, I give my 5 dollars a year hoping that they are doing what they can to help promote the good image and possibly get previously closed areas reopened, or at least try. I know some good has been done.

    The larger the voice the more impact it has at making change. We do need one voice! In that group we should have every aspect of this great hobby covered, from manufacturer to end user and even the people we help.

    The new group website should have several pages that tell the stories of ring returns, law enforcement help, museum donations, all the “we aren’t doing this for monetary gain” stories! Most of the old time detectorist’s do it for love of history and finding cool things. Some of the new hunters jumping on the band wagon, due to more publicity are in a different category. Before we can change laws we need to change the image the public currently has of us.

    Most people won’t volunteer, they will only pay dues. They don’t realize that with out participation eventually this hobby will go the way of the dodo!

    Chicago Ron

    • Ron thanks for your comments….you are right about the lack of volunteers. Never used to be that way when I started out years ago. No one today wants to be bothered, and we need not only one group, but a full time one, with paid employees. JMO.

      Aware you’ve been traveling…..looking forward to hearing more about the project, and when it will on the air.

  23. Keith Wills, former WWATS president just posted this under the “Will We Ever Get Together” post, and I think it’s more appropriate here….

    WWATS has always been open to unity with all the organizations from the begining and still is. The very reason for the latest Rendezous was just that, to unite as many as possible as one force. Thousands of invitations was sent out across the country to each of the organizations including the Rock Hounds, Fossil collectors, the GPAA to name a few. WWATS has always been a part of several other organizations working towards the same goals of “keeping public lands open for the people”. Some refuse to accept it unless they get full credit for whatever may come from the groups work if positive, but those in WWATS and the others are not asking for notice, that is not why we are in it, nor the fight, or recognition, or promotion. We had hopes that many of the other groups would attend this past week at 2013 Rendezous because our associated group PLP (Public Lands for the People) was there to speak to all of us and explain the importance of all groups coming together and how we would ALL become a force to be-recon with. They told us of the law suits they have with the federal government at this time and the much needed support from all to stop it from happening in other states due to a president being set if they were to loose. It was hours and hours of very important information I wish everyone could of heard. YES, It is VERY IMPORTANT that all of us are on the same page and working toward the same goals, or we will ALL fail! Keith Wills

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