I am a detectorist. Someone who enjoys metal detecting in my spare time. I have been involved in this recreational pastime now for just about 40 years, and have benefited greatly from it. It is an outdoor endeavor that has undoubtedly been good for my physical health as well as my mental well being. I have also become interested in history as a result.
When I go metal detecting I have no idea what I might find or come home with. Oh, I try to make sure that I am detecting an area that might hold something old, something of interest, and yes, something that might make me rich beyond my wildest dreams. Have I found those things? Well I’ve found hundreds if not thousands of items over the years. Some of them are old, some of them are interesting, but most of them are junk. Likewise I am still waiting for that one find that will put me on “easy street”. I know in my heart that will never happen, but you see, that doesn’t really bother me because all my other detecting friends are in the same boat, and we know the odds of something like that occurring are nil and none. We just love the thrill of the hunt.
Classify me a coin hunter if you like. That’s what I primarily search for, and the older the coin, the better of course. I have never found a gold coin, nor have I ever found a silver dollar. I have found numerous silver and copper coins, mostly from the early 1800’s on and I have shared many of them via talks and demonstrations at various community events. Are they worth a lot of money? Not really, but they are coins I had fun finding, and each has a story…. none of which would be of interest to you.
I am writing to you today to enquire why you and your fellow archaeologists dislike me and my colleagues so much. Just what is it we do that you find so distasteful? Do we hunt on your archaeological sites? No. Do we find items that are of interest to you? Of course but isn’t it great that we do? I mean if we didn’t, who would? Was that small town park or farmer’s field on your list of “to do’s”?
I wonder why you continue your effort to put us out of business by telling communities and governmental agencies that we destroy history! Just what history are you referring to? That which has yet to be discovered, or that which might overshadow your professional credibility? I am sorry I just get a little confused.
I also wonder why when someone with a metal detector breaks the law, you assume that he or she is “all of us”, yet when one of your colleagues does the same thing they are not painted with that very same wide brush. I guess it doesn’t count somehow or it’s just not the same. Funny how that happens…
Mr. Archaeologist (may I call you Arkie?) there’s a lot of land out there, and yes maybe some of it is of historical significance. The question of course is how will we ever know? How can we uncover it’s past, it’s mysteries, it’s secrets without exploration? Does is it all belong to you? Are you just waiting for millions in grant money to tackle this monumental effort? I think not, yet you work so damn hard at making sure we never have the opportunity either. Kinda selfish wouldn’t you say?
Arkie my friend, I have another question. Why is it that you almost never reach out to us, and ask us to help in your efforts? Is that just simply “too embarrassing”? Oh, I know you’ve thrown a few crumbs our way, but it’s hardly ever a joint effort, and in one instance you even asked detectorists to pay a large sum of money to participate.
Over the years I and others have volunteered our time to help law enforcement officials, historical groups, those who have lost valuables and we have participated in various charitable causes. We could help you too if only you would just “get over it”. I know, I know, many of us do not have college degrees, and yes, probably some of us never graduated high school, but what we do have is knowledge that you can use and not just in the technical sense.
I know of relic hunters who can identify found items instantly, and even speak to it’s history or importance in a particular location, battle or campaign. They could and would put you to shame, yet again you refuse to accept their input. Instead you would rather work at depriving them the right to find that next relic, that item that if you had your way, would never see the light of day. Oh, I know you think it would be better left in the ground, but do you really believe that? Would you prefer it be lost forever under a shopping mall? I mean, come on please….
Just recently Ed Vaizey, Heritage Minister in the UK said….
“There’s something essentially mysterious and exciting about buried treasure, and I’m delighted that each year reveals still more finds. These items help us get a fuller picture of how life was lived centuries ago, and add enormously to our rich and varied cultural heritage. I also salute all the responsible metal detectorists – true heritage heroes – whose patience and unceasing curiosity do so much to bring this treasure to light”.
So Arkie I look forward to your response, and your reasons for casting doubt on our hobby as well as our integrity. We seek nothing more than the reasonable right to pursue our pastime, and while I know this is hard for you to understand, we’re honest, hard working people, who love history too. Imagine that?
A tax paying, metal detecting enthusiast
ANOTHER LEGEND AND A GOOD FRIEND HAS LEFT US
I am about to embarrass myself because I was not aware of his death, but Glenn Carson passed away in May of this year. I only just heard about it last evening after receiving an email from Bill Chapman, long time treasure hunter in Golden, Colorado.
Glenn and I first met back in the early 80’s, and he and Mary were always willing participants at our FMDAC conventions. We also ran into each other a lot when I was with Garrett. A more kinder man never existed. His wife Mary, passed away in 2004. Glenn was and is a legend in this pastime and he will be missed. RIP Glenn….
How I missed his passing, and why I did not bother to contact him over the years bothers me a great deal. Forgive me Glenn..
A fitting tribute is shared HERE…..