However, the term Responsible Metal Detecting in the U.S. is rarely used or
defined. I have used the term in a number of articles but have never really
thought about what this term encompasses. This short article will be an
attempt to provide some definition for Responsible Metal Detecting.
Know and Follow the Law
- Know and Follow the Law.
- Gain Permission.
- Apply the Metal Detecting Code of Ethics.
- Join a Metal Detecting Club and National Metal Detecting Association.
- Understand the Potential Cultural Value of Your Find.
- Volunteer Your Services to the Hobby.
means that one should read and understand the
American Antiquities Act of 1906 and Archaeological Resources Protection Act
of 1979. Archaeological resources are part of our Nation's heritage and
these two acts cover archaeological resources and their recovery on public
and Indian lands.
The two acts cover all national public / Indian lands and in many cases also
have been adopted either wholly or in part by many states to cover state
lands. There are also additional regulations that have been developed by the
USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Parks
Most states also have laws that cover just state parks, beaches and
recreation areas. States usually have a specific web-site where you can find
out almost everything you need to know. Some states do not allow metal
detecting under any situations, while most states require either verbal,
written permission or a permit.
Then there are the county, city and school district laws. Each of these
entities may also have laws regulation metal detecting on their specific
lands. Contacting the authorities for these public entities should yield the
information you need.
A good rule of thumb is if it is national, Indian land or is a historical
site it is off limits to metal detecting and other lands require permission.
Gain Permission to search both public and private land.
Permission should be acquired in writing when ever possible and cover the
following: owner’s name, property address (Street, City, State, Zip) with
description of the area on the property to be searched, purpose of access to
the land, liability wavier, ownership of items found, property conditions
after the search, start / end date and time of the search with signatures of
Otherwise gain verbal permission by contacting a public authority in person
or contacting a private property owner in person and obtaining verbal
permission to enter the property. This form of obtaining permission should
cover the same terms as outlined in the written permission section above.
Apply the Metal Detecting Code of Ethics.
The metal detecting code of ethics is meant to re-enforce the national,
state, county and city laws. The code of ethics also covers gaining
permission, property damage, tampering with structures, equipment, gates and
being an ambassador for the hobby. These are important ethics statements and
following them may be difficult but very important in meeting the public’s
perception of how the hobby must and should be practiced.
Join a Metal Detecting Club and National Metal Detecting Association,
commitment to metal detecting excellences. By joining you are committing
your time to learn more about the hobby or to contribute your expertise /
knowledge to others who may be less senior in the hobby.
By joining a club and getting involved generates hobby centralism. This
centralism can impact many laws that are drawn up in states and cities which
in the past have had no voice from those in the metal detecting hobby. If
there is no voice or involvement from people in the hobby laws are created -
many times with a negative hobby impact.
So joining a club at the local level provides a local hobby voice and
joining and getting involved with a national organizations starts to
generate the necessary centralism for national support of the hobby.
Understand the Potential Cultural Value of Your Find
is practiced in England
but not practiced well in the U.S. at least not in an acceptable matter for
most hobbyists. The reason to characterize your find for its culture value
is to understand if it may be part of out American Heritage. If one is
following the law and not detecting on historical, national lands or Indian
lands there should not be a problem in getting advice on cultural value.
However, having said that one must use caution by including others for their
opinion / expertise since this could cause a litigation situation. But in
the end it is everyone’s responsibility who metal detects to ensure whether
or not a find may be part of our American Heritage and should be treated as
such. Volunteer Your Services to the Hobby.
This could be in the form of starting
a metal detecting club in your area, volunteering to be a club officer or a
specific club chairperson.
Today more than ever clubs need volunteers to handle officer duties /
responsibilities, chairmanships for membership, hunt masters, club
involvement projects, evident recovery teams, public relations, newsletters,
etc. Many of these chairmanships are important and without them the club
will not grow or become an involved part of the community.
As the local club needs volunteer support and expertise so does a national
detecting organization. People who have been with the hobby for a while
should look in the national leadership direction and move their experience
to the next level.
There, now you have my thoughts on
Responsible Metal Detecting
and how you
must fit as a metal detector hobbyist. Responsible Metal Detecting is for
everyone who puts a detector in his / her hands and starts a search for
treasure which may be under that next coil swing.