Principes of a decent searcher
Maybe you just bought your dream detector today and are about to go out into the field to discover the lost history of your region. We would like to slow you down for a while and introduce you to the principles of a decent searcher.
Ten commandments of decent searchers
- I do not search at sites with archaeological finds, unless it is in the presence of archaeologists.
- I localize, photograph and publish all the finds.
- I don't damage anything when searching, the location looks the same or better after my departure.
- When finding a larger set of objects, I call experts.
- I don't litter the location.
- I always backfill the holes I dug, no matter what the condition of the environment where I search.
- I do not start a fire, camp or park a car in places where it is forbidden.
- I will keep all barriers or fences on the land as they were in their original condition.
- I do not pollute water tanks, wells or other water sources.
- I always try to behave in a way so that searching with a metal detector has the best possible reputation.
Field behavior in general
There are countries where detector searches are only allowed on moving soils - which are fields. The reason is the so-called finding circumstances of the subject. If a coin wanders in topsoil for years, its position changes with plowing every year. Its telling value is thus mainly due to the location. Even targeting with a regular GPS phone is basically sufficient in such a case. However, a different situation occurs if you move in the forest, especially in some higher parts. There is a real possibility that the object may have lied in the same place for centuries. The localization should be as precise as possible, and if it is a set of objects, you should not try to remove them, but want to call experts (see the paragraph on archaeology).
But I assume that you have already run out of your village, or town, to the first field in anticipation of amazing finds. A few things need to be said here. Our constitution gives you the freedom to move freely throughout the countryside. But you should not damage anything and if possible, after your passage, the location should look the same as when you came there. If you take away the scrap metal you find, it could look even better. It should go without saying that you simply do not search in a sown field. To harm someone's work is well beyond the bounds of decency. If you dig a hole, it goes without saying that you will backfill it when leaving. The ideal case is if you agree in advance with the landowner that you will move around their fields. In the reality of our post-communist country, where most of the field owners only rent their land to some JZD successors, it is sometimes not entirely easy, as I know myself from the organization of my own events. In most cases, you can arrange this, and you will often learn a lot of information about the local history. It should definitely always be the case that if the landowner does not want you to look in their field, you should leave.
When searching in a field, the chances of damage to the finding circumstances are minimal. I would always prefer a field to search. Cleaning up after yourself should be an automatic thing. When searching in meadows, do not use a hoe, but a spade. The sod needs to be returned to the hole as it was. There is nothing worse to mow than a meadow full of tombs.
Detectors and archaeology
Searching at sites of archaeological finds is prohibited. If you do not follow this rule, it is completely useless for you to read the following paragraph. But if you are one of those decent searchers, you move only through sites that are not archaeological sites, then you should follow the following lines.
Even in non-archaeological sites, of course, a number of archaeological finds will be made, and a visit to the local museum should always follow. Cooperation with archaeologists is now commonplace, despite a number of different opposing views in discussions on the Internet. Many, say, more enlightened professionals realized some time ago that detectors are not only a necessary evil that has emerged here, but that the natural enthusiasm of part of the population for history and archaeology can also be meaningfully exploited.
Since searching with a detector can be seen as collecting, each searcher should proceed in such a way that the information about the found objects is not lost. This means localizing, taking photos, filling in finding reports (finding report in pdf format).
Until some time ago, such an activity could seem very expensive, getting a GPS was not exactly cheap. In addition, copying data in the field was inconvenient and disproportionately delayed. This led most people not to do so, despite the fact that many of them were searchers working with museums. Fortunately, the technology has advanced rapidly, and today basically everyone owns a phone with GPS and a camera. For quick localizing and shooting, this helper is absolutely ideal, and if you search in the fields, the location accuracy is basically sufficient.
A special case are the finds of large archaeological files - depots. Whether you search in the field or in the woods, if you see that there are more objects in the exposed pit, you should always stop digging, cover the place, and call experts. In the archaeology section on the LovecPokladu.cz site you will find a list of archaeologists. But if you are very shy and afraid to just call somewhere, we will be happy to contact you. Today, there are dozens of archaeologists in the Czech Republic who are used to working with searchers. In addition, if you do this, you will be able to participate in professionally conducted excavations, thanks to which you will understand what the archaeologist must do before removing objects from the soil.
It is important to localize, take photos and publish. A find that stays somewhere in a drawer is as if it did not exist. Although it does, but it will not grow on the site again and no one will know anything about it. There will be no new book that could push the research on the topic forward...