Between Two Places: Archaeology and Metal-detecting in Europe

Pieterjan Deckers 1 , Michael Lewis 2  and Suzie Thomas 3
  • 1 Department of Art Studies and Archaeology, Brussels Free University, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
  • 2 British Museum, London, United Kingdom
  • 3 Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, Museology. University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 59, 00014, Finland


Since the Valletta Convention (1992), the debate concerning non-professional archaeological metal-detecting in Europe has been conducted largely at the level of individual legislations. Papers in this Topical Issue take stock of current knowledge of and attitudes towards metal-detecting across Europe; its nature and impact as well as the policies and approaches that arise from it within professional archaeology and heritage management. With this collection of papers, the editors aim to stimulate a more unified debate and, ultimately, a common understanding of ethics and best practices in relation to metal-detecting that transcends national and jurisdictional boundaries in Europe.

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  • Bland, R. (2005). A Pragmatic Approach to the Problem of Portable Antiquities: the experience of England and Wales, Antiquity, 79 (304), 440–447.

  • Dobat, A.S. (2013). Between Rescue and Research: an evaluation after 30 years of liberal metal detecting in archaeological research and heritage practice in Denmark, European Journal of Archaeology, 16(4), 704–725.

  • Haldenby, D., & Richards, J.D. (2016). The Viking Great Army and its Legacy: plotting settlement shift using metal-detected finds, Internet Archaeology, 42.

  • Lehorst, M. (2013). A way to balance societal needs in law: Suggestions for new regulations on the use of metal detectors in the Swedish Heritage Conservation Act. In A. Langerlof (Ed.), Who Cares? : Perspectives on Public Awareness, Participation and Protection in Archaeological Heritage Management. (pp. 15-17). Budapest: Archaeolingua.

  • Musteaţă, S. (2014). Archaeological Heritage Crimes in Romania and Moldova: A Comparative View, in L. Grove, S. Thomas (Eds.), Heritage Crime: Progress, Prospects and Prevention. (pp. 71-80). Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

  • NWO (2016). PAN: Portable Antiquities of the Netherlands. onderzoeksprojecten/i/20/26420.html (accessed 23 December 2016).

  • Rasmussen, J. M. (2014). Securing cultural heritage objects and fencing stolen goods? A case study on museums and metal detecting in Norway, Norwegian Archaeological Review, 47(1), 83-107.

  • Thomas, S. (2012). Searching for answers: A survey of metal-detector users in the UK, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 18(1), 49-64.

  • Ujhelyi, N. (2016). The Relationship Between Archaeology and Metal Detecting in Present Day Hungary. Budapest: Central European University unpublished MA dissertation.

  • Ulst, I. (2010). The problems of “black archaeology” in Estonia, Eesti Arheoloogia Ajakiri, 14(2), 153-169.

  • Winkley, F. (2016). The Phenomenology of Metal Detecting: Insights from a Unique Type of Landscape Experience, Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, 25(2), Art. 13.


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