Because It’s Important!

I want to revisit the Tallahassiee Democrat article “Arrowhead hunters face felony charges” (see last update), and I’m doing this because of two comments that were probably not read in their entirety and because I think it’s important!  I’m aware that this will probably fall on deaf ears since most of you are busy perusing the ‘look at me’ videos and photos out there in tekkie wonderland but what else is new. Enjoy them because they may be the only things left of our hobby in the not too distant future.

If you haven’t read the Tallahassee article please do so and read on….

John Howland replied first with….

“The artifacts on public lands and the history they represent belong to everyone and not the few who want to auction our heritage on eBay,” said Lonnie Mann, of the Panhandle Archaeological Society.

What utter, utter, archaeo-political crap! Artefacts found on public lands ought to belong to the finder after he /she has reported them to the appropriate authority for recording, and then, be compensated financially for honesty if the artefact is retained by the State. There is nothing morally wrong with selling relics. In fact it’s a wholesome, educational recreation, and one to be encouraged.

If Lonnie Mann and his tribe of arkies want these relics, then he and his pals should haul their arses (out of their ivory towers) into the creeks to look for them – as do artefact hunters.

And as for the term, ‘professional archaeologist’ this presumably means there are people out there, in Florida, making full-time salaries from the heritage that ‘belongs to everyone’. Yet, at the same time, they condemn amateurs for making a few dollars profit, but, unlike the pro’s, at no expense to the State.

There’s something rotten in the State of Florida.


Next Jim Fielding, detectorist and Florida resident added the following….

The insufferable attitude by the state of Florida “professional” archaeologists are nothing more than desk-bound fools, not to put too fine a point on it, who are exploiting archaeological resources for “personal gain” day in and day out. We used to have, here in Florida, what was called the “isolated finds” program, which was exactly what it sounds like; you find an arrowhead or some Indian pottery you photograph it, and report it…when and where found…to Tallahassee. Then they would tell you if they wanted it, if it was rare, or “…thanks,keep it!”, if it was a common arrowhead or artifact.

The Florida Department of State (of Insanity) includes the ever-popular Florida Division of Historical Resources who have managed to criminalize picking up a 60-year old penny in a puddle of water. That’s right. After having managed to abolish the “Isolated Finds Program” in 2005, with the argument that “…people were not reporting enough finds!” (and how would THEY know?) and at the same time (2005) they also managed to weld in place the new revelation that now Florida suddenly “owned” all “submerged lands.” You have a pond on your Florida farm? You dig a 50-year-old piece of farm machinery out of the mud at the bottom and you are now a criminal on your own property!

These bastards basically took an ordinary pastime, looking for old Indian points, and suddenly turned it into a felony! Of course Florida militarized police (the archaeologists have their OWN police force!) loves it, as it’s good for their “law-enforcement” industry! Hordes of swat-armored quasi-military types with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of surplus military gear just itching for one of those “Indian Point Criminals” looting Florida’s cultural heritage! Of course, that’s not a problem if a contractor suddenly want’s to bulldoze an Indian mound, and its artifacts under to build a new Volkswagen dealership or another ABC Liquor Store…heaven forbid! And you see few Florida archaeologists getting even mildly worked up over that, but pick up a pottery shard out of the dirt and you’ll be looking at a half-dozen automatic rifles with laser sights when you straighten up.

I hear the “as usual” empty argument from the meatballs “…selling off Florida cultural resources to collectors!” and “…for personal gain!” are the reason enforcement is needed to “protect” the public’s heritage. If you’ve ever seen archaeologists “milk” a project for all its worth, taking years and years to complete a 3-month dig, you will suddenly realize what the “resources” are they are referring too…a never-ending paycheck at taxpayer’s expense!


If you read the ‘Isolated Finds Program’ (highlighted above) Jim is referring to you will find this statement:

Florida’s Isolated Finds program is an excellent demonstration project for collectors throughout the country. As most archaeologists are acutely aware, artifacts are eroding out of sites and being permanently lost in lakes, reservoirs and along rivers throughout the United States. Many of these artifacts are on state or federal land and their collection is generally forbidden by law. The mind set is that it is better for these artifacts to be lost for perpetuity than to allow their collection and curation by interested avocational archaeologists is naïve and easily exposed as a greater evil. Artifact collectors need to be allowed to collect artifacts in a responsible fashion on public land.

In Summary

I find it appalling when government deems itself the keeper of all things, especially when that government is asking you and I for our hard-earned money to keep it running, and lest they forget they work for us, NOT the other way around.

Now there may be more to this newspaper article than is shown but forget that…. I want to know why the hobbyist cannot enjoy a leisurely day out looking for arrowheads or spear points on public lands? They once could but someone, or some group of individuals had enough clout to persuade the state of Florida to change that and the answer shows up in paragraph 5 of the Tallahassee article….

“Florida forbids artifacts from being removed or disturbed when found on public lands. The prohibition is to protect “our only window into the time before written history,” according to professional archaeologists

You see they are professional. You and I? Mere amateurs, unskilled, uneducated and not fit to participate in any activities that might encroach on their endeavors. Bottom line those public lands can be bulldozed, paved over, sold to the highest bidder or deemed suitable for whatever the government decides to do with them, but you and I can’t touch them?

When are we going to wake up?



Filed under Metal Detecting

30 responses to “Because It’s Important!

  1. Robert Moore

    Hey Dick, Don’t pay any attention to those jerks on You Tube who Metal Detect wearing suits. We sure as hell don’t. Robert Moore

  2. Hi Dick:
    You’ve highlighted the perfect example of the intensifying stranglehold academia – in this case archaeology – is slowly and surely applying to the neck of Floridians (and others around the world). ‘History’ is fast becoming a lucrative racket for a select few.

    Not only is this increasing pressure slowly choking the life out of citizens’ rights, but is simoultaneously increasing the rights of the State’s archaeologists who are accountable to no-one – to the point that their salaries are protected in times of economic downturns, while other sections of the community face going to the wall. I reckon a smart lawyer could blow this racket wide apart.

    The word ‘Professional’ in relation to archaeologists means they are paid a salary, it should never, ever, be used in the context of excellence since some archaeologists are not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

    Time to bring Florida’s heritage circus into the public spotlight?


    • It’s become a ‘look but don’t touch’ life for those of us in the metal detecting and collecting fields….

      • Maybe….but whose fault is that?

        Streetwise arkies (and thank Christ they are in the minority) would already have had the US hobby in the bag. Most US hobbyists have no idea, or, more probably don’t give a toss what’s hurtling down the line towards them. The ball is in their court…and they can’t see it!

        There’s gonna be a-squeelin’ and a-whingin’, BUT it’s too late.

        Unless there’s some kind of movement, NOW, within the hobby, it’s curtains and frankly, US hobbyists deserve all that’s coming their way! And believe it or not, I applaud the arkies for conducting a superb, well-thought political campaign.

        If only our people could have done something similar and shown the same commitment; dedication to a cause; and lied en masse to get the job done.

        US Tekkies should look at the US arkies’ way of campaigning and LEARN.

      • Hey you are preaching to the choir. I am well aware of it. Not even sure why I bother to bring things like this up. No one ever really responds or gives a rat’s ass.

  3. We actually spoke about this at the club recently. The usual progression of this underhanded legislation in Florida is perpetrated in secrecy, most usually with a quiet addendum to a Senate bill that has nothing to do with archaeology or artifact collection or metal detecting, say, like a rider on “Bill 899, “Railroad Safety Barrier Colors” (I made that up) or some such thing. This is done to hide the lawmaking from the metal detecting public, although they say it is not hidden and meets the requirements of the “Sunshine” law. The problem is, they ARE hiding it among legislation that gives no clue as to the actual contents of the bill in many cases.

    In order to find this type of legislation, and notify interested party’s and comment on it in enough time BEFORE it become law, you’d almost literally have to read every single bill submitted to the House and Senate from beginning to end. That’s a lot of reading, but it may be the answer DOES lie herein, and Florida metal detecting clubs, especially, should start to spend some time reviewing bills in their entirety, looking for a reference to metal detecting or artifact removal, or archaeological proclamations of “ownership” and “enforcement.”

    Florida House Bill H591 in 2012, but was exposed by a detectorist who got wind of it, a plan to outlaw metal detecting on beaches and land permanently, Sponsored by state archaeologist who proposed draconian penalties for doing so to be so severe and financially crippling to anyone with a metal detector, that even Florida State Senators were a bit leery of it. Over 14,000 e-mails were received from metal detectorists all over the U.S. effectively shutting down the Florida government’s attempt at outlawing a lawful hobby. So it can be stopped…only disinterest and apathy will allow it to progress.

    • Jim thank you for once again for taking the time to comment and share your experiences. As for the added riders to bills I believe it’s called “pork”…a well suited word indeed.

      • Yes, it’s pork all right. I gotta say that we have seen some responsible archaeology digs, such as the Titusville peat bog site about 30 minutes to the east of us here in Orlando, where they found 12,000 year-old Indian remains mostly intact, and the search for Fort Caroline in Northern Florida. Archaeology is the study of ancient cultures, NOT artifacts. This sticks in a lot of archaeologists craw. Someone finding a common arrowhead makes them pee themselves, and I know people that have been subject to harassment and loss of thousands of dollars because they picked up a worn artifact. The state spend hundreds of thousands of dollars equipping militarized police to hide in the underbrush waiting for “looters’ to pick up a lousy arrowhead…something that used to be legal years ago, but somehow is not a felony? Seems these state employees simply are protecting their turf, not protecting history. Just sayin’

    • Todd Hiltz

      I remember replying to a petition in regards to Bill H591 via FaceBook and email. Social media is extremely powerful and does work

  4. BigTony

    Maybe you all have something here about saving our crazy hobby. Do we need a lobbyist that will find these items for us and alert the email list to get the word out…..or maybe I am crazy?

    • Not sure that’s the answer Tony but even if it was there’s no one to pay a lobbyist, and therein lies the problem, or at least that’s the way I see it.

    • Hello Tony:
      No, you are not crazy, far from it, and ‘Yes’ we/you need a lobbyist, but one that is fully briefed, but by whom? WWATS and FMDAC etc, etc, have not, in my view, proved a success. So it’s back to the drawing board to organise a ‘national representative body’ with several classes of membership – Manufacturing, Hobby, Retailers, Detecting Media/Press, as a few suggestions.

      Then, get a sympathetic politician on board. Remember the bumper sticker….I METAL DETECT & I VOTE…it concentrates the mind of some in marginal areas! Prepare Press Releases and time them for release for maximum effect. The gloves have to come off.

      The real danger is that if archaeology as a whole can spring Florida-type laws – which would be right at home in North Korea – on an unsuspecting public, then why not in other States?

      What’s happening is almost the same scenario as happened in Britain over forty years ago…and we halted their bandwagon of lies and propaganda. However, they still strive and seek to control, and over four decades since, I’m still exposing their BS whenever it crops up.

      Best wishes

  5. Let me also add that a lot of people viewed this particular post and only 5 people responded. Der ya go…

  6. Bigtony

    Yeah, I knew that would come up but maybe this is one way we can get started.
    First find out what the cost is then start a go fund me page to pay for it.
    Then put out the word around the country, world, manufacturers and see what happens.
    If you build it they will come……..or am I crazy………
    I know others can add to this post and get something started on saving our hobby!

    • I doubt lobbyists will work for whatever is collected from a “go fund me” account. Likewise I, as well as others, have been putting out the word for years and look what has happened….nada. Ask Allyson Cohen. Ask her about the Task Force. Ask Mark Schuesller about the FMDAC. Detectorists bust their balls to find coins and relics but it ends there. Years ago they cared. Today they do not.

      I better stop here. I’m on my third glass of red and I will only get worked up. Thanks Tony….always appreciate your comments and ideas. We just need a few thousand more of you.

  7. Illustrated by this famous quote : “You can’t get a reaction from someone who doesn’t give a shit.”
    ― Emma Chase, Tangled

  8. Lisa

    I have one comment. I find it extremely unfair, and downright rude and unfounded, to be labeled an idiot.

  9. Lisa

    No. It just gets my hairs up when someone lumps archaeologist into a group insulting our degrees. Its a reputable degree. I worked very hard to earn it and i wont apologize for it. It’s no different than someone having any other degree. Yes, there are morons in every profession, degree or not. However, that is no reason to degrade a group.

    • Worse yet it’s me! Damn…

      Lisa, applaud your degree, really. I don’t have one and will never have one. I just think that so many decisions, changes and yes laws & regulations are crafted by and for those who have degrees as though that somehow trumps (oh jeezus) common sense and life experience. Detectorists, the majority of them are tired too of being painted as evil and uncaring people.

  10. Lisa

    While you and I don’t always se eye to eye, I’ve never felt like you are evil or uncaring. In fact, quite the opposite. And many of those I’ve met through you I think are outstanding people who could teach me a thing or two. And I agree with you on many instances with regards to policies. Probably more on your side than the other. I just get very hurt when people degrade my degree. I truly have learned a lot. And thanks for the applaud!

    • You are welcome….I won’t live long enough to see a coming together of the archaeological community and the treasure hunter but I do hope it happens.

    • Hi Lisa:
      I heartily agree that morons exist on both sides, but, when the ‘group’ as you refer to it, supports, or even advances draconian legislation to make criminals out of its citizens, or snuff-out a legitimate and wholesome pastime without any dissension from within that ‘group’, then it’s quite reasonable – in my view – to assume all Florida’s archeologists support this kind of tyrannous legislation which is more suited – again in my view – to the regime in Pyongyang.

      Opposition and dissent to Florida’s oppressive heritage legislation is surely to be expected from those most affected by it.

      Finally, all this has nothing to do with degrading the Archaeology Degree and I for one don’t expect you to apologise for your Degree. Why would you?


  11. BigTony

    Lisa is right, we all (on both sides) need to stop the hate. We need to find a way to meet in the middle.
    If there is an injustice somewhere then we detectorists need to get our side of the story out to those making the bad policy. No name calling or other harsh stuff. If our tax paying voice and opinions don’t work we then need counsel to support our rights.
    There are bad folks on both sides but that shouldn’t stop good folks for coming together.

  12. Lisa

    John…thank you. But, would you not agree that by assuming that any FL bills/laws passed has the support of all Florida archaeologists is like stating all Americans support every bill passed by Congress?

    • Hello Lisa:
      No, I do not agree, for the simple reason that in Congress the views of all the People are represented. Opposition or contrary opinion from the archaeological lobby to the FL heritage laws is a deafening silence.

      There must be members of your profession I’m sure, who have in their quieter moments said to themselves, “This is wrong. Right must be done.” Were these individuals not cowed by, or in fear of their livelihoods for speaking out, then I have no doubt relations would seriously improve and those who’ve inserted Trojan Horse clauses into Bills will be exposed to public scrutiny.

      I trust you realise that my stance on this principle is in no way personal and I wish you well.


  13. Lisa

    Big Tony…Thabk you. I couldn’t agree more

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