August was a particularly busy month for our organisation as we were invited to two separate events in Poland in order to present the aims of ECMD as well as to explain how the law related to metal detecting works in different European countries. First event was in a beautiful little town of Wschowa in Western Poland and was organised by one of the numerous Polish metal detecting/exploration societies which invited detectorists from five major exploration societies as well as archaeologists and conservators and museum staff from different areas of Poland. During a very intensive two days, all guests had an opportunity to listen to different viewpoints, highlighting problems faced by enthusiasts of metal detecting in Poland. According to Polish law, metal detecting for archaeological and historical artefacts is not illegal provided that the permit is obtained from a government official responsible for the heritage protection in the specific region. It is neither easy to obtain nor is it very practical, being more suited to a search for one particular target/treasure than an almost instinctive activity of metal detecting. ECMD delegation, represented by our president Igor Murawski and Filip Jarosz, student of Law and International Relations at the University of Surrey, who is a volunteer with the ECMD during his work experience year, concentrated on proving that good compromise between responsible metal detectorists and archaeologists is possible. Examples of cooperation between both sides in UK, Denmark and recent changes in law in Flemish countries were very well received by the audience, igniting an interesting and stimulating debate. Highlight of the event happened on the second day when representatives of metal detecting societies decided to form an official Polish Metal Detecting Federation, with the aim of joining the ECMD and working towards a constructive change in law.
Second event was of a slightly different nature – “Festival of Mysteries” held annually at the picturesque Książ Castle in South-West Poland, is the biggest event related to the mysteries of the past, metal detecting, archaeology etc., organised in Poland. It is attended by tens of thousands of people interested in history, who come from all over the country and often from abroad, with their families, to listen to invited guests, experts in their respective fields, watch historical events reconstructions and generally enjoy the special atmosphere over three days of the Festival. Our delegation’s presentation, entitled “Treasure Hunting and Metal Detecting in Europe – Law and Reality”, full of anecdotes related to famous moments in European metal detecting and examples of laws and regulations in various countries, was especially well received and appreciated by the audience. It is clear that metal detecting in Poland is a growing hobby, enjoyed by thousands, in a need of precise and sensible laws and regulations. European Council for Metal Detecting will do it’s best to play an active part in advising our Polish colleagues on how to reach a workable compromise with archaeologists. Based on our recent talks we are feeling optimistic that this goal can be reached soon.