MEDEA: Crowd-Sourcing the Recording of Metal-Detected Artefacts in Flanders (Belgium)

Pieterjan Deckers 1 , Lizzy Bleumers 2 , Sanne Ruelens 2 , Bert Lemmens 3 , Nastasia Vanderperren 3 , Clémence Marchal 1 , Jo Pierson 2 , and Dries Tys 1
  • 1 Department of Art Studies and Archaeology, Brussels Free University, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
  • 2 iMinds-SMIT, Brussels Free University, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
  • 3 PACKED vzw, Centre of Expertise in Digital Heritage, 1080 Brussels, Belgium


Since 2016, hobby metal-detecting is legal in Flanders (Belgium), although it was unofficially tolerated for many years before. However, research on metal-detected artefacts in Flanders is hindered by a low reporting rate. The MEDEA project aims to address this by encouraging detectorists to record their finds on an online platform. Finds experts are invited to enrich records with further information and thus instigate a rewarding feedback cycle. This paper discusses MEDEA’s ‘Human-Centred Design’ development process and the design choices underpinning the platform. MEDEA may be seen as an example of ‘Open Archaeology’ and related trends in digital humanities.

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