While you are celebrating this weekend please remember why!

We celebrate Memorial Day to honor all the brave men and women who gave their lives so we could live free in this the greatest country in the world.  Thanks to them you will be enjoying that cookout, family get-together, parade, fireworks, whatever….they will not! 

So take a short break or two from the celebrating, lift a glass, offer up a toast and shout out a loud thank you Lastly have a safe and fun holiday!





Received the following from John Howland today and decided to share it here as well as in the Malamute Saloon.  Hope you will take a few minutes and see just what it is that is bothering the big guy this time around….


There’s a lot of confusion particularly amongst some UK novice detectorists as to the ins and outs of written agreements with landowners.  In fact, it’s all very Straightforward. If you want it Kosher then go to the fountain’s head for refreshment: The Portable Antiquities Scheme is the source, handing down excellent advice on the subject from its website http://finds.org.uk/ (much of it applicable in principle to the US too, by the way). I quote:-

Guidance for landowners, occupiers and tenant farmers in England and Wales

Metal-detecting, Field-walking and searching for Archaeological Objects: guidance for landowners, occupiers and tenant farmers in England and Wales

This guidance had been jointly produced by the Country, Land & Business Association, the National Farmers Union and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, September 2010.Finds Agreement…

*It is recommended that landowners/farmer occupiers have a written ‘finds agreement’ (available from the CLA or NFU) with anyone wishing to search, outlining the nature of the permission, the area to be searched and what happens to any objects found.

*Many people go to the countryside to search for archaeological objects. They mostly search on cultivated and arable land.

*The majority of people looking for archaeological objects are metal-detector users, and are likely to be members of the National Council for Metal Detecting (www.ncmd.co.uk) and/or the Federation of Independent Detectorists (www.fid.newbury.net).  Both organizations have a Code of Conduct by which their members are required to operate as a condition of membership and also provide members with public liability insurance.

*Field-walkers and/or other amateur or professional archaeologists also may seek permission to search. In most cases they will recover finds from the soil surface, such as worked flint or pottery, but (with the landowner/farmer occupier’s permission) may also wish to excavate. Such individuals may be affiliated to a local museum, archaeological society, university or be professional archaeological contractors. Many archaeologists will be members of the Institute for Archaeologists (www.archaeologists.net) and follow its Code of Conduct.

*A Code of Practice on Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales (see http://www.finds.org.uk) has been endorsed by all key archaeological bodies & metal-detecting & landowner/farmer organisations. This is the first time that these bodies have joined together to define responsible metal-detecting and provide a clear definition of what constitutes good practice.

*Landowner/farmer occupiers also have a duty of care under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and 1984


Bill Pearlstein, a principal of the US law firm, Pearlstein & McCullough, summed-up the basis of it all when he wrote on Washington, DC, Peter Tompa’s authoritative Cultural Property Observer blog, that, “The fundamental principal of US and UK law that no one can ever take title of stolen property has been the basis of numerous successful claims for the return of antiquities.”

Some of the more astute and better organised detecting clubs and groups retain their own firms of solicitors (attorneys in the US) – whose names appear on the clubs’ headed notepaper – and who negotiate mutually agreeable search contracts with third parties. The contents of these contracts are nobody’s business except the signatories: It’s their deal, their business. The same goes for rallies. These are legal and wholesome events enjoyed by many and the fact the usual suspects foam at the mouth in protest, is hard luck on them!


A group of terrorists burst into the conference room at the Hilton Hotel, where the British archaeologists were holding their annual convention. More than a hundred archaeologists were taken hostage. The terrorist leader announced that unless their demands were met, they would release one archaeologist every hour.



It’s manifestly obvious, even to the terminally dim, that anyone venturing forth on land that’s not theirs requires permission – Rights of Way accepted — to do so from the landowner. Though it’s mainly metal detectorists who chase down this permission, other pursuits requiring similar access include among others, ‘field-walkers and/or other amateur or professional archaeologists’ who all need the same agreements to some degree or another. Precisely how many amateur fieldwalkers/archaeologists ride roughshod over landowner’s rights by wilfully ignoring written permission, or how they divvy-up of their ill-gotten pottery shards and flint tools without the landowner getting a fair shake — though figures are apocryphal – is at best rare; at worst non-existent. There’s little more frustrating than researching a meadow or field only to have had these ‘Sunday Strollers’ removing artefacts willy-nilly and all going unrecorded. Is this ‘irresponsible’ archaeology? Of course it is!

What at first glance appears to be a new phenomenon, currently dubbed, ‘Dayhawking’, has been going on for years, especially by well-meaning bumbling amateur history societies. Indeed, archaeology has a long and distinguished record of looting other country’s artefacts mostly craftily cloaked in the mantle of ‘research’. Yeah, right!

The total sums ‘earned’ from this insidious mugging is anyone’s guess; but assuming the miscellany of items hoiked from the UK’s arable farmland as just one prime example, pans out at £1.00 per item, yes just one pound, for every pottery shard and flint tool stolen without written permission since 1900 say, must run to millions of pounds.

I often come into contact with landowners in a social context, and many tell me they have given verbal permission to non-detectorists (arkies, etc.) on the basis that, “they seemed harmless enough,” and are astounded when I tell them pottery shards and flints are worth good money. “What b******s”, one NFU man told me, “Thanks for the information.”

Whereas all NCMD/FID affiliated metal detecting clubs initiate written agreements as a matter of course, sadly similar ‘agreement templates’ are unsurprisingly, you might think, missing from archaeological websites. This suggests amateurs of the Sunday afternoon, rambling ‘Bobble-hatted Brigade,’ dupe landowners to ‘opt in’ – or put crudely…. ‘If they don’t ask, we won’t tell ‘em.’ One has only look at the PAS database to discover the huge discrepancy between the over-abundance of detector-found items compared to what amounts to a famine of artefacts  from archaeological activity. Why is this I wonder? I’ll leave that for you to answer!

So, be alert to the threat of Dayhawks. Tell your landowners about them and negotiate where you can; sole search rights!


A guy goes down for breakfast and it is quite obvious his wife has the hump with him. He asks he what’s the matter? She replies, “Last night you were talking in your sleep and I want to know who Linda is?” Thinking quickly on his feet he tells her that Linda was ‘Lucky Linda’ and was the name of a horse that he bet on that day and won him £50. She seemed quite happy with the explanation and he went off to work. When he got home that night, his wife had the hump with him again. Asking her what the matter was now, she replied “Your horse just phoned.”






Filed under Metal Detecting

5 responses to “While you are celebrating this weekend please remember why!

  1. Lisa MacIntyre

    What archaeology convention can afford the Hilton? We hold our conferences at the Denny’s.

    • Not sure they have Denny’s in the UK? Then again John wouldn’t go anyway if they didn’t have a bar.

    • It was a Hilton in an eastern European capital, out back. where they store the garbage.

      Denny’s? That’s very high end, innit? Anyway, I thought you Florida arkies were knee-deep in pirate treasure, er, beg pardon, pirate artefacts. You ought to come along to a Tekkie bash and see how organised crime celebrates!! Ha, ha!

      I’ll see y’all in the bar. x

  2. Bob K

    Not licked and is the bar open? Hope you & wife have a wonderful weekend.

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