APPAG Inquiry on Archaeology and Metal-detecting in England launched

The All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group (APPAG) has launched a call for evidence on Archaeology and metal–detecting welcoming written submissions by deadline of 30 April 2024.

The APPAG writes:

Relations between archaeologists and the metal-detecting community have improved significantly over the last 25, especially with the establishment of the Portable Antiquities Scheme – a project to record archaeological finds made by the public in England and Wales – and reform of the Treasure Act 1996, covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Most archaeologists now recognise the value of detector finds for advancing knowledge, and recognise the contribution made by responsible metal-detecting for understanding Britain’s past. The UK has led the way in this regard, becoming a model for public finds recording schemes elsewhere in Europe. However, there is a recognition that more could be done to bring these communities closer together in the public interest, especially with more people than ever taking up hobby metal-detecting. As such, the aim of this inquiry is to see what can be done to support responsible metal-detecting in England (specifically) and promote the benefits of archaeologists and metal-detectorists working more closely together. We therefore welcome written submissions from anyone with responses to any or all the questions in the call for evidence by the deadline of 30 April 2024:

  1. What are the main factors contributing to better relations between archaeologists (whether academic, commercial, community, museum-based, organisational etc) and metal-detectors users (both independent and within detecting organisations), and how could these be advanced further?
  2. What is the role of hobby metal-detecting (as a research tool) in the context of advancing our understanding of the archaeology and history of Britain, and how does that link with professional and non-professional archaeology?
  3. How should access to metal-detected finds (especially those in private collections) be facilitated, for both the wider public and academic study?
  4. What is the relationship between metal-detecting and other forms of community archaeology, and how could closer cooperation be encouraged?
  5. How do we better promote responsible metal-detecting, and what are the roles of archaeological bodies, landowners, detecting organisations and those that organise events for detectorists, such as those organising detecting holidays and rallies?
  6. How could archaeologists better facilitate the use of metal-detectorists (and the wider public) in archaeological projects, and what are the barriers to that? Might it be possible to develop and promote methodologies for systematic metal-detecting surveys?
  7. How do archaeologists, metal-detectorists and others work together to better acknowledge best practice? What is the role of museums (for example) and other publicly funded bodies in highlighting the positive contribution of metal-detecting?
  8. How have museums benefitted from detector finds, and how could mechanisms be improved to enable museums to acquire more public finds?
  9. What should happen to archaeological finds found through metal-detecting not acquired by museums? How can metal-detectorists be encouraged and supported to document their collections and plan for when they can no longer look after them?

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