Dr. Hoard? Seriously?

One particular club that I have a real fondness for is the Wheat State Treasure Hunters. They are a big part of the Wichita, Kansas community, giving metal detecting programs to those living there as well as elsewhere in the state . They also adopted a local park and once a month members meet to help maintain it.  Anyway I became aware a while back that their program this month was going to be a talk by the State Archaeologist, but what really got my attention was his name.  Dr.Robert Hoard.  Seriously? Hoard?


Dr. Robert Hoard

After the meeting Steve Ukena, president of the Wheat State group, gave a summary of the talk on their website and I wanted to interject my thoughts (I do this with Steve’s approval).

His complete summary can be found here:

Our Discussion with Dr. Robert Hoard


First I applaud Dr.Hoard for traveling almost 150 miles to talk to this club.  A very long drive for anyone, especially without being reimbursed. Thank you Dr. Hoard, and for the record me thanking anyone within the archaeological community is a big deal (if you are smart you won’t mention my name to your colleagues).

Okay, let me cut to the chase and give my thoughts on Dr. Hoard’s talk, and remember I am using Steve’s summary for what follows…

Steve commented “I think Pulltab and I were both a little taken back on how much our States archaeology department already works with metal detectorists. Dr. Hoard had several examples of dig sites that included the use of our equipment. He mentioned several times that he sees our tools as a useful extension of their equipment. They use several types of ground penetrating radars and other very high tech equipment but he definitely acknowledged that sometimes our equipment is exactly what they need to help them piece together the puzzles of history”.

My question is…did they use detectorists on any of these projects or did they use detectors themselves? That wasn’t really clear..

Then “Sites – Dr. Hoard informed us that any citizen can create, document, and file a site through his department. He acknowledged the fact that they will never have the time, money, and other resources to do a full dig on every site. He encouraged us to create sites based on our finds.”

Damn, finally an archaeologist admits they will never have the time nor the money to find it all. Hallelujah! Praise Wally!

Next, “Artifacts – Plain and simply put their department is not interested in every artifact we find”. Hmm, could have fooled me! This was followed by “However, they would like to be informed about them on the field site registry”.

Well this sounds great but realistically given our years of dealing with the archaeological community what tekkie is going to do this.  Lets be real, please.  If that sounds unethical then you call the state archaeologist next time you find a relic and tell him all about it and don’t forget to tell him the location.

If they really want us to come forward they need to be specific as to what the repercussions will be, if any, and how will it affect our ability to return and detect that same site again.

A mean looking Steve Ukena (he’s really a big pussycat)

Then the following really hit home with me “Dr. Hoard agreed that most humans like recognition for the work they have done. He also said that there are times when these details fall through the cracks”.

No kidding! I remember three instances where I and a few others fell through the cracks and as far as I am concerned they will be the last. We not only didn’t get recognition, we didn’t even get a thank you at the end of the day.

Then the biggie – According to Steve “The only bad news (if we can call it that) that came out of the meeting was the following. Our state has an Artifacts Act that was passed in I believe in 1967. This act prohibits the removal of artifacts from public lands whether they be State, City, Township, or County. As soon as he informed us of this the room got kind of quiet and we all paused to contemplate what these words meant. Does this mean we can’t metal detect in local parks? No it doesn’t mean that. It does mean however that under current law we would have to get a permit to collect artifacts out of public land. Well a permit wouldn’t be a big deal right? I had to ask the question. How would we go about getting a permit? The short answer was that you have to have a masters degree and apply through their department”.

Hmm, yeah right, let me dig through the garage and see if I can find my diploma (and they want us to come forward with our finds?).

Finally Steve said “Dr. Hoard encouraged us to come up with some new wording and revisions that could be made to this law to keep everyone happy”

Steve, good luck with that. When you do affect some change in the law that will recognize our right to pursue our pastime without ridiculous restrictions, let me know.

Okay let me wrap this up by saying I mean no ill will to Dr. Hoard, and as I said above, for him to go out of his way to speak to the Wheat State club, is admirable and very kind of him. Likewise I hope, that Steve and the Wheat State Treasure Hunters will not think less of me for sharing my thoughts on here.  Meetings and programs like this are great and can be useful but only when some sort of “real” change results. Now beat me up…..I am after all an old curmudgeon, right Dan?



signage2There was a comment to my post of July 31st from Eddie Black. Eddie, as I am sure many of you already know, has been fighting the powers to be in Louisville, Kentucky, to overturn a ban on metal detecting in the city parks there.

He asked “Wonder why Louisville has not received help with parks Dept. banning metal detecting. Is this a no win situation?” His question is a valid one, especially since the Task Force, back in the spring of 2013, was supposedly on top of the situation. I followed up Eddie’s comment with three more of my own, trying to prod an answer out of them but apparently they are too busy. So let me try once more here and now to see if someone might take a few minutes to answer Eddie and the rest of the tekkies in the Louisville area.



Filed under Metal Detecting

5 responses to “Dr. Hoard? Seriously?

  1. When the lion and the lamb lay down together, it’s the lamb who should sleep with one eye open.

  2. Interesting read about the arkie Dick. Thanks.

    As for Louisville, I talked to Mr. Black a while back, and related our conversation to the Task Force board.

    I attempted to contact Mr. Black by telephone and through email after that, however, as with some previous attempts at contact, I received no response. I also invited him to join in on one of our Task Force meetings, again, no response.

    In our conversation, Mr. Black said he had been out detecting a few times, and the parks employees were no longer bothering him. It was assumed by that statement and lack of response that there was no longer a problem.

    Should he wish to discuss this further, he may contact Avery Marder, interim President of the Task Force at trademarkgraphix@aol.com.

    -Allyson Cohen

  3. Dick, to clear up whether or not detectors were used or that detectorists were involved. They have a group of hobbyists whom volunteer on a regular basis to help out. Dr. Hoard was quite honest about his capabilities with his detector. I wholeheartedly agree that the meeting was fun but now we have to solidify some changes. I am guessing that this will not be an easy task, but hey if it means Statewide detecting is legal on public land it would be worth it. I wonder if other states would follow suit. I am thinking that maybe Dr. Hoards office would like to see photos of our artifacts found that are thought to be over 100 years old in return. Many mders already photograph their finds and I can’t imagine them wanting a full site report for every hunt.

    • Steve thanks for clarifying that point. I wish you luck attempting to change state laws. Hope you know of an influential lawyer who works for nothing….

      As for sharing photos? You are on your own with that….just be very careful. They will indeed want to know where items were found.

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