The Folks Who Want to Take Your Pastime Away…

Before I began my rant, I received the following document this morning and it behooves all of you to read through it (especially the manufacturers). I know most of you will blow this off, but the first few paragraphs should give you a reason to be concerned. 

John Howland and I will discuss it in more detail very soon….click on the text highlighted in red.

UNESCO Headquarters, Room II, 29-30 September 2016

Provisional agenda item 6: “Treasure hunters” and cultural trafficking –regulation on metal detectors and underground monitoring systems


John Howland’s take on the above…

What else can the metal detecting/treasure hunting communities or indeed all right-thinking citizens expect from UNESCO? It’s running true to form. This international body is itself riven and dogged with corruption and cronyism, and run by former communists not known for their record on Human Rights, or civil liberties.

For example, UNESCO says:-

“However, the Treasure Act 1996 does allow treasure-hunting at other sites, with the consent of the landowner. The United Kingdom also enforced the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) which allows for use of metal detectors and for awards when important findings have been made.” This is democracy in action the undoubted right of any landowner or farmer to exercise that right to allow whomever he/she pleases onto their land. The democratic right that is an anathema to UNESCO’s policymakers.

More seriously, and in keeping with the UNESCO’s Leftist politics, it seeks to limit ‘Everyman’ in historical research. It is not illegal to find and sell what is found on private land and never should it be. The fact that some in archaeology object, is something they will have to live with. Metal detecting in the UK at least is proving a huge success under the Portable Antiquities Scheme and is the model that all fair-minded countries and States ought to follow.

Instead of holding up the British experience as a model to follow, UNESCO parades it as the antithesis of sensible and equitable agreement.

UNESCO, apparently under the persuasive control of politically motivated archaeologists who are themselves part of the lucrative heritage circus, are advocating a cartel in which they regulate the market in antiquities.

UNESCO should be disbanded as unfit for purpose.



Detectorists from many countries were invited and XP took the liberty of providing a link on their posters to the Historic England  database showing “History in a 5 km radius of our search area”. Also helpful was the attendance of several FLOs  and 3 coin dealers. Those so inclined could dig up, get valued and sell finds in minutes, even things brought from elsewhere (and who’ll dare pretend that facility isn’t known about and appreciated Europe-wide?)”

“So a uniquely British spectacle. Hundreds of foreign detectorists (300 French, 30 German, many more from Italy, Ireland, Austria, Portugal, Holland, USA, Belgium and Australia) detecting in the Cotswolds instead of at home. Why? Because they know that Britain is uniquely careless about protecting its buried heritage, that’s why!”

These comments are from a pro archaeological, anti-detecting blog in the UK and reference the recent XP European Gold Rally in the UK….


Other than the detectorist this rally shouldn’t have been of interest to anyone, unless of course they happen to troll the metal detecting websites, forums and blogs, which this petty individual does.  He is pissed that the event happened and that FLO’s were involved (because it’s the right thing to do). And oh my….coin dealers? How dare they be present?

What’s missing from the above blogger’s critique is any suggestion or recommendation of an alternative locale to hold such a gathering. The reason of course is that he thinks events like this should never happen in the first place and no one should be allowed to own a metal detector. It’s because anywhere at all we detect must be saved for future archaeological endeavors. It’s because no one else is able to recover history quite like they do, or at least that’s what they would have you believe.


Also missing from this gentleman’s blog post is his detailed plan to actually recover “all” of Britain’s buried heritage.  No surprise there though. That is supposed to happen later on, sometime in the future, in due time, in the by and by, down the road, and of course before the land is ploughed under, parted by a four lane motorway or used for an apartment complex, shopping mall or pipeline. And certainly before the farmer gives permission to a detectorist or detecting rally.  I mean who the hell does he think he is?  The land owner?

Not to worry though….they will come (someday), they will find and record what lies beneath the soil (someday), they will save it, catalog it and make it available to everyone (hmm, yeah right).  The following is a reminder of what usually happens…..





Wanted to share this excellent video courtesy of Regton Ltd.



How Dick Became Short for Richard



Canadian Bear Attack


Throw back Thursday...the late Charles Garrett, yours truly and Alan Holcombe.......1986

Throw back Thursday…the late Charles Garrett, yours truly and Alan Holcombe…….1986





Filed under Metal Detecting

24 responses to “The Folks Who Want to Take Your Pastime Away…

  1. Stan

    Interesting document. Wally will be rubbing his own balls reading that.

  2. At the end of the document….

    “Another challenge lies in the number of videos available online, which share experiences on how to find a treasure. These tools are deceitful and prompt people in committing offences. Furthermore, despite the fact that in most of the Member States the use of metal detectors is not allowed in any registered sites, “appealing promises” are given by metal detector sellers and advertisements are shot at archaeological sites. Although in most of the national legislations referred above it is obligatory to report the discovery of a cultural property, failure to do so is not necessarily criminalized.”

    “In cases where it is not preferable to enforce an absolute prohibition, a licensing system should be established and sanctions in case of irresponsible/illegal treasure hunting, metal detecting and detector selling should be dissuasive and applicable. In addition to criminal sanctions, administrative sanctions should be applied such as, confiscation of the detector etc. Import restrictions should be considered for advanced technology metal detectors, which should be traceable.”

  3. Coin25

    I don’t understand why in this day and age are folks worried about old stuff found with a metal detector. If you want to find stuff go out and dig it, it’s deep, most is deeper then a metal detector can find it and most detectorists don’t dig deep targets for several reasons.
    I dug a Revolutionary War relic (that was donated that day to the museum where it was found) and all of the club members and museum staff could not believe that little old me really dug that item – Too funny; instead of saying Good going Tony, congratulations! – They said how in the world did you find that? Oh and one other thing – in all of my years of detecting – that was a first and only deep cool relic that I ever found, so it is not easy as those videos say it is, it’s not.
    Oh BTW – Tiger Woods thing was a hoax, probably some poor caddy died while lugging 80 lbs of clubs and water over the golf course on a hot day and they changed the name to get folks to read about it. Too sad for sure

    • Good going Tony…congratulations. These folks are on a mission to ban our sport, and the sooner the better. Unfortunately average detectorist here in the states is too busy to notice or care.

      Have no idea what the Tiger Woods reference is about?

  4. Never accept a licence! That which can be granted can be as easily be taken away. In any case it’s a tax on the hobby. I suspect the US is in for shock, being unrepresented by a national body on Capitol Hill.

    I note the UNESCO BS stays well away from the thieving by archaeologists. If they want a war, let’s give ’em one.

  5. Coin25

    Ban a hobby? – What a waste of time. Archaeologists will tell you that recreational metal detecting has little or no impact on most historic sites – espically the ones that have 30 feet of dirt on top of them like many NY sites buried under remoldeled parks or new construction buildings and or new expanded roads.

    • “Archaeologists will tell you that recreational metal detecting has little or no impact on most historic sites”

      Hmm, are you sober Tony. What archaeologist told you that?

      • To be honest Dick I have spoken to archaeologists and they did say that what detectorists do is not that bad at all and more often than not help to identify new areas of archaeological interest. It’s only the wannabe archaeologists that try to cause a shitstorm in a tea cup

      • All I can say is good on you. I read through this document (which is being discussed now) and find it a call to action to regulate the use of metal detectors. Did you read it carefully?

  6. Coin25

    Dick, that is exactly what I am talking about in this hobby, people don’t believe what you say. Asking me if I am sober doesn’t help your effort at all.

  7. Coin25

    Dick, thanks but no need for that, I don’t stretch stories. So who do we alert to investigate this new document that is theatining to ban our hobby? Avery? WATTS? Federation? Maybe we should start a Go Fund Me account and hire our own lawyer.

    Oh BTW – did anyone ever tell you, Charlie and Allan that you looked like triplets? Or at least went to the Same barber?

    • Tony, didn’t think I was over dramatizing this but if it comes off that way I apologize. I have not had the same “good feelings” that some of you have had when dealing with the archaeological community, thus my suspicions when documents like this appear. The mere fact that a paper titled “Treasure hunters” and cultural trafficking – regulation on metal detectors and underground monitoring systems” was being presented is in itself something to keep an eye on. What other reason could there be for this discussion? Certainly not to recommend a PAS program for every member country.

      Time will tell what becomes with all this and I will try and follow along. The groups we currently look to for help are not really interested in things like this, nor do they care.

  8. Coin25

    Dick, it certainly is perplexing that those folks we look to are not interested in this at least at face level to give it a read and make a few phone calls to gather more details and simply report back thier findings.

    Over the years the manufacturers gave some funds and some concern from time to time but that was short lived and not consistent.
    One time I did exactly what you did by attempting to read parts of a document to alert a MD club in order to have a discussion and let folks know what was in said new restrictions. I was told to quiet down and not make waves. The less said the less folks would panic and or make thing as worse. So I understand your plight fist hand and I praise you in your constant effort to get folks to talk about this stuff and take notice, stand up for our rights, after all most detectorists are retirees who only coin shoot and don’t disturb anything but grass and some small bugs.

    • Tony I guess all this is a carry over to the early years of the FMDAC. We did it all and went out of our way to deal with whatever came our way. We went to Washington and spoke before committees and we joined forces with a lot of like minded groups. We also had the manufacturers in our corner and they contributed whenever we asked. The FMDAC over time went from being a viable and effective organization to being a “social” group.

      John also comes from that time period when he was an important part or the newly formed NCMD in the UK, and he too knows what can be done when you fight for your rights. That sort of spirit is missing today and I don’t see it coming back. A totally different group of participants today and not interested in being proactive in anything. Unfortunately It will take some sort of ass kicking for them to take notice. JMO.

      • Dick & Tony:
        This is probably nothing more than sabre rattling by a cell of rag-bag of rabble rousers within UNESCO; that bloody awful self-serving elite, populated by former commies who yearn for the bad old days of authoritarianism. Look at the CVs of those who support their democracy-free crap. By their friends do we know them.

        Tony writes: “Maybe we should start a Go Fund Me account and hire our own lawyer.” That dog will hunt. Forget WATTS etcetera, this way lots of cash would roll in and we could take them on and play as dirty as they do. The press will love it!

        If this means some of these cretins lose their well-paid jobs-for-life then so much the better; the rest will back off when they see reputations hanging from the yardarms and swaying gently in the breeze.

        Best though, for the moment, to keep an eye on the shysters.

  9. Coin25

    The real important item here in this is that UNESCO is sanctioned by the United Nations. So they want to protect thier historic treasures and I get that – the problem we have is the state or local governments interpreting this as “All items are historic” – and thereby they object to recreational hobby.

    Dick and you are right to alert folks that more will come our way via State and Local governments from this type of situation because they don’t have the funds available to distinguish between what is Treasure and what is just common stuff or not historic.
    Many times when they close a park or restrict the hobby, (here in the US) folks banded together and sent letters or made calls and many of these places recinded thier initial stop gap measures. Now going forward who will be that voice if the younger MD community will not take heed and get involved?

    Gotta go, have to visit a sick friend today….I’ll check back later tonight I hope others will respond and help get more good people involved.

    • Tony you are right in that states tend to look to elsewhere when it comes to items like this because it’s easier to adopt someone else’s regulation and make it yours as well. Then there’s ARPA which is always the predominant throwback or dependency. If and How the UNESCO will affect ARPA remains to be seen. We just need to remain aware of things like this and stay on top of them.

      As for others responding, don’t count on it. For all the followers I have here only a few that take the time to comment, and honestly without them I would have quit a long time ago.

  10. Coin25

    Dick, that is the way it goes with a blog and or web sites where you can post stuff. Most people check in but don’t leave a message that they were here. Hopefully we are not missing out on some good suggestions or funny comments to lighten the load. Folks should also know that between you and several of your close friends – joking takes on another level….I for one will never get angry at your rants/posts/pokes or banter.

  11. John H

    Yo Bubba:-

    Exposing the lies and the loonies.

    Recent finds:-
    1. A rare coin found in York has been described as “jaw dropping”.
    Museum experts say the coin is 1,400 years old and one of only 19 ever found.

    2. A rare 2,000 year old roman pendant found in Cheshire is currently being examined at the British Museum.

    Both of the above examples tend to show that UNESCO’s archaeological advisors are deliberately daubing a canvas in a childlike fashion to pose it as an ‘Old Master.’ So much then, for archaeological accuracy. UNESCO is unfit for purpose and international support for it withdrawn.

    The UK’s PAS is without doubt the way to go and shows that metal detectorists are a valuable archaeological asset. As expected, slackjaws on archaeology’s loony fringe are insulting anyone connected with these finds including the BBC (!) who reported the finds.

    Keep it up – your’e doing us a great service.

  12. Surprised a bit, but not unexpected. Thanks for the heads up on this one Dick. I’m going to put it on my blog and bring it up in our club meeting at the CFMDC. We are in contact with almost all the other Florida MD clubs, and will circulate this among everyone and see what we can come up with to counter this ca-ca.

    • Hi James, thanks for your interest. Please understand that there’s not anything to do now, and writing to UN/UNESCO would be time wasted. From what I can see there were no “concrete plans” drawn up to go after detectorists, BUT the document is very distinct in its wording and it’s a sign that we are on their radar.

      Provisional agenda item 6: “Treasure hunters” and cultural trafficking – regulation on metal detectors and underground monitoring systems
      This document contains information on international and national regulations concerning metal detectors and treasure hunting”.

      I think too they are initially looking at those in the Middle Eastern, Asian and European countries. Syria and Iraq are a big concerns. We must however stay on top of things like this and continually monitor what happens next, because what happens elsewhere can be used as a reference by those here who wish to see us gone.

      The following link would be a good one to monitor…

  13. James look too at the “purpose” of this meeting and note paragraph 4 where it reads:

    “Subjects on the agenda include: treasure hunters and the regulation of metal detectors and underground scanners, free ports and illicit trafficking.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.