A Guest Post by Lisa Hume MacIntrye, Archaeologist…

Over the past couple of months I have gotten to know Lisa MacIntrye a little better, and have to say that she is my kind of arkie (so far anyway).  That should be very telling because I am not on their “Top 100 Friendliest Detectorists” list, and it’s no secret that I do not hold them in high regard.  In any  case I asked Lisa if she would consider writing something for my blog, a “view from the other side” if you will. She readily agreed, and I thank her very much….

For those of you who are not familar with Lisa’s background, please see my post of March 17th for her bio….



I met Dick through a mutual friend, and consider him to also be a friend.  Dick graciously invited me to write an article for his blog, with the suggestion that I  could give a perspective of metal detecting from an archaeological stand point. I found this to be a wonderful idea and readily accepted.

Metal detecting, like archaeology, is a very destructive process of digging up the past. I say destructive because once we remove “it” from the earth we can never put  it back. In archaeology we are taught such things as context, and provenience, and grid systems, and documentation, and historical relevance.  This is what I know.  This is what I have spent many years practicing and perfecting. I can explain the value of context and documentation and I can demonstrate why we use grid systems.  These things may seem unimportant to a detectorist, however, to an archaeologist they are a high priority.

Lisa Hume MacIntyre

Lisa Hume MacIntyre

Metal detecting, on the other hand, is foreign to me.  I have never used one, nor have I ever had the opportunity to be a partner with someone who has used one.  I understand the basic concept of listening for “sounds” that indicate an anomaly is underneath. At this point I am not sure how the “sound” is perused.  I have read  claims that the ground is randomly dug until the object is located leaving holes all over the area with no regard to the historical value, to claims of carefully digging  and documenting the find for prosperity purposes.

While I am sure there are some that perform their hobby in an unscrupulous manner, I have yet to meet these people. Just as I am sure there are archaeologists who do  the same, I have not had the pleasure of meeting them either. That is not to say I won’t at some point, however, personally I have been lucky, because I really do not  know how I would react to these unsavory individuals. However, I do know that all detectorists are not bad people, just as I know that all archaeologists are not good  people.

Archaeology and Detectoring can, and should be, a discipline that works together. Both sides, in most instances, are after the same goal. The methodology that each  side uses to achieve the goal is different, yet they are not exclusive to the end result. Both sides should be training the other in the benefits and knowledge that the  other possesses.  I have met many a detectorist that puts my history knowledge to shame, and I am a history minor. I also know that I, as an archaeologist, could share  my knowledge with the detectoring community in a manner that would prove beneficial.

Detectoring is not going away, just as archaeology is neither going away.  History, however, is disappearing rapidly. As we pave more of paradise and put up those parking  lots, more and more of our past is buried forever. Instead of fighting to enact tougher and tougher laws against detecting, it is my belief that the archaeology community  should be fighting to find ways to incorporate the two sides in a way that is mutually agreeable and beneficial to the ultimate goal of preserving history.

There are things  we may disagree on, however a good detectorist and a good archaeologist should agree on one thing, and that is the goal to uncover and preserve that which can tell us what  makes us who we are as a society and as a human.

Lisa Hume MacIntrye


Thank you again Lisa for taking the time to share this, and for accepting us on a level playing field.  Those who metal detect want nothing more than to purse their pastime, and not be discriminated against simply because we do not have a degree…



(Forgive him Lisa, please?)

After such a great post from Lisa it almost seems sacriligious to post the latest from John Howland. You see he is once again obsessed with his two  favorite British arkies and penned another sizzling put-down (what else is new?).  I will tell you however that most of these tirades are written after a  few glasses of red or single malts, and for the most part he is a subservient guy, bowing to his wife Margaret, doing whatever she asks, saying “yes dear, no dear”, etc. (yep, true. Sorry  to shatter your image of the big guy, but I have witnessed it first hand).


So take this latest post for what it is….a rant from a “pissed” (see the UK definition) Brit!  If you feel inclined to read it click on the Malamute Saloon link above and scroll down to today’s date…. 



The following email was forwarded to me by Carter Pennington, president of the Task Force.  It came from O’Fallon city councilman Jim Pepper, and was addressed to Carter,  Mark Schuessler, president of the FMDAC, as well as Christopher Brown and Scott  Clark (a.k.a. Pocketspill).


Tomorrow night I am bringing up a motion to reconsider the Ordinance.

Here is my statement I will read before the vote.

Mayor and City Council:

I would like to take this opportunity to explain why I am asking for a reconsideration of Bill 6267 that was passed last meeting

First of all, it seemed that this bill was passed in haste. “Let’s pass it so we can read it more thoroughly”, does that sound familiar? Councilman Schwentker and myself  wanted to table it and take a deeper look at the wording, especially after citizen’s comments brought some issues forward. This was a bad bill from the start.

I really didn’t know how widespread this hobby is until after the meeting….

The second sentence after I. METAL DETECTING states “Everything on and in park grounds, therefore, belongs to the people of the City.”  How arrogant and self absorbed  is this?  I lose a ring or locket in the grass, can’t find it and according to this wording, it belongs to the city! I don’t care about an interpretation, what does it say,  period. And on top of that, I would be breaking the law if I went home got my metal detector, came back and tried to locate my locket, bracelet or ring.

I respect the protection of certain restricted areas however, irrigated areas (really?) and landscaped areas (any grassy area could be deemed “landscaped”.

I, along with help from various individuals and organizations came up with a, b, and c in order for people to enjoy our parks and at the same time, protect them.  One question I would ask is, how much of a real problem is this that would warrant such drastic measures that were originally put forward? I am out in the parks quite  often and for the life of me, I haven’t seen our parks torn up like a shelled battlefield.

As requested, I have sent copies of emails sent to me to Mr. O’Keefe regarding the establishment of a permitting process, where required. These are from individuals  that enjoy the hobby and want to work with the city for the enjoyment of all. Finally, I, along with others on the council, were led to believe, right or wrong, that this  came from the Parks Board as a recommendation

Mr. Patrick Breyne of the Parks Board commented, and I quote: “Staff submitted a recommendation to us for review and suggestions/advice. The Parks Board made some  suggestions, none of which was the requirement that any items found must be turned in to the City.” Are not the Committees, Commissions and Boards (with the exception of the  Board of Adjustment) recommending bodies?

They are a group of volunteers that focus in on specific areas of the city in order to provide alternative views that the Council is not aware of. They do a fantastic  job and my hat goes off to them for the work they do. I would suggest that, in the future, a representative of a Committee, Board or Commission present their  recommendations, along with their vote taken, to the Council.

Therefore I move that Bill 6267 be reconsidered.

The meeting starts at 7:30 and can be viewed at Click “Watch Live” in the menu bar of that window.

Please share as you see fit.

Jim Pepper, Councilman,  Ward 2


Wow, all I can say is thank you Mr. Pepper (someone needs to give Mr. Pepper a metal detector)! Thanks also to the Task Force and the FMDAC for making contact with the Councilman and the city of O’Fallon.



Hoping those of you visit here will consider purchasing my latest book “In Search of Treasure”…. It’s available from  White’s Electronics and all White’s istributors and dealers.  If you choose not to, that’s not a problem.  I have gotten quite used to the “street” and love dumpster diving for meals….




Filed under Metal Detecting

6 responses to “A Guest Post by Lisa Hume MacIntrye, Archaeologist…

  1. Had what I thought was a comment, but it wound up being a link to someone else’s site. Please, if you want to comment on something here, DO IT. Linking to some other site just will not work.

  2. bill from lachine


    Kudos on your well thought out post……glad to see you can appreciate what both groups share in common and that is a passion for preserving history…..kind of a ying and yang thing.

    And as you mentioned the erosion of historical finds due to development, etc…..is a fact that will not go away regardless of what approach is taken by either of our communities…..that said I’ll save whatever little trinkets I find for posterity and pass them along when the time comes.

    Regards + HH


    • Thanks Bill for the reply, and my apologies for posting it so late… not sure how that happened. It snuck by me. I know Lisa will appreciate it very much….

  3. Lisa

    As always, thank you!

  4. Lisa:
    “…it is my belief that the archaeology community should be fighting to find ways to incorporate the two sides in a way that is mutually agreeable and beneficial to the ultimate goal of preserving history.” Well and couragously said.
    But we have accomplished this in the UK with the fabulously successful and government-funded, Portable Antiquities Scheme. Here, detectorists are well recieved and outnumber amateurs involved in archaeology, though the tail still tries to wag the dog. Though the PAS should include finds made by amateur archaeologists, few if any, bother to comply.
    If you’re ever over this way there’s always a beer on hand for you!

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