Rational Grounds for Dialogue Between Archaeologists and Metal Detectorists in Spain

Ignacio Rodríguez Temiño 1
  • 1 Junta de Andalucía, Seville, Spain

Abstract

The sudden emergence of metal-detector users and subsequent swelling of their numbers rocked the field of professional archaeology due to the impact that the use of metal detectors has on the conservation of archaeological heritage. The situation has led to confrontation, polarisation and mistrust on both sides. These problems are particularly severe in countries such as Spain, where the law does not allow the unauthorised use of these devices. However, merely enforcing the law is not enough to resolve such conflicts, just as encouraging ‘treasure hunting’ is no solution either. This paper uses sociological models to explain the lack of communication and distance between the two groups with a view to finding principles that can be used to establish rational grounds for communication. Here ‘rational grounds’ is understood to mean foundations that will enable the convergence of the different interests whilst at the same time respecting the social function of archaeological heritage. To this end, a model is suggested based on a new wave of scientific communication aimed at including detectorists in archaeological research projects.

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