ECMD after the Norwich Conference – the way forward

First day of the Conference

Delegates representing thousands of metal detecting enthusiasts in 11 member countries have met in historical Norwich Castle, East Anglia, during their Annual General Meeting. The Conference began in the castle auditorium with a short statement (please see below) by the acting President, Igor Murawski from Poland, who welcomed the delegates and summed up the first year of ECMD activities. This was followed by delegates reports regarding the current situation in their particular countries. It was noted that significant progress was made in Belgium but sadly a difficult situation continues in Bulgaria. Those first presentations were followed by a very interesting lecture by Michael Lewis, head of Portable Antiquities Scheme in Britain, who presented the overview of PAS history over the last 20 years, and offered some observations, which in his opinion would be useful to creating similar databases in other countries. Multimedia presentations by other delagations followed, with particularly interesting ones coming from Denmark, France, Italy and Sweden. Naturally the most sensible laws and regulations related to metal detecting are currently in Denmark, with Arne Hertz skillfully making the case for a full scale adoption of responsible metal detecting standards by all member countries. Delegates then went to lunch and afterwards joined the specially organised metal detecting rally on the fields near Norwich. After a busy and productive afternoon all delegates met for informal talks in the Maids Head Hotel, their venue for the next day of the Conference.

Second day of the Conference began with the presentation by the British National Council for Metal Detecting with Steve Critchley explaining the role of NCMD in the law making processes in the UK as well as the general history of metal detecting hobby in Britain. Outgoing President then put forward formal proposals for the changes in ECMD Constitution, with main being the introduction of 12 months rotational Presidency, extension of the managing board to include the role of a Spokesman/International Project Coordinator (elected every 3 years in the same manner as the Treasurer) and the change in the ECMD recommended Code of Conduct (please see below). Lively debate, with delegates clarifying some points and putting forward some more proposals, was followed by voting. Both acting Presidents have then formally resigned so that each country member would have the opportunity to elect their representatives every year. Delegates approved the proposed changes and have elected new members of the board – the Presidency of the ECMD passed to Italy, with Edoardo Meacci from MD Club Italia elected new President and Ilya Iliev from The National Metal Detecting Federation of Bulgaria and Robbin Ask from Swedish Metal Detecting Federation becoming vice-Presidents, elected on a new rotational principle until the next General Meeting in 2018. Reg Mead from Jersey was elected the new Treasurer and Igor Murawski from Poland a first Spokesman and International Project Coordinator. Day 2 of the Conference was finished by more metal detecting and debates about the future of our organisation. The Norwich Conference proved to be a very constructive and pleasant event, which reinvigorated the ECMD and helped to shape plans for the year ahead, including the admission of new members. We will be presenting the short biographical information about the elected members of the board in a separate article. If you have any questions relating to this event or any other issue, please contact us at: info@ecmd.eu

Organisers wish to thank Harry Bain from “The Searcher” magazine for her help.

Photos by R. Ask, D. Hlawaty, K. Iliev, S. Joly, F. Manzella, L. Ciocca, M. Mironova, S. Potet.

“Dear ECMD delegates, colleagues, esteemed guests, friends.

Let me start by saying a big and heartfelt thank you to Liam Nolan, our vice-President from the Irish Association of Metal Detecting, who almost single-handedly managed to organise our conference. Thank you for that Liam.

Well over a year ago the idea of a strong and unified body representing enthusiasts of metal detecting from various European countries has taken shape in the formation of European Council for Metal Detecting. This was possible thanks to the tireless work of the sadly deceased chairman of the British National Council for Metal Detecting, Trevor Austin, his colleagues and some European metal detecting organisations. It was without a doubt an interesting year, a little bumpy perhaps, but nevertheless very interesting. We’ve learned the hard way that such an ambitious project is not an easy task, especially if you aim to form the strong and stable foundations and have to cooperate on an international level, with all the associated problems with language barriers, different laws applicable to metal detecting in different countries etc. However, over one year later we are still here, seemingly stronger than at the beginning – we have started with delegates from seven countries – Bulgaria, France, Ireland, Jersey, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, but now are also joined by Belgium, Denmark, Italy and Sweden, with more countries showing their interest in joining the ECMD. We have strengthened our contacts and learned about the situation of metal detectorists in our member countries. We have introduced our organisation at many international events and have presented our case to various government bodies and agencies, including the Heritage Commission at UNESCO and European Commission in Brussels. We have set up an information and meeting point, which functions as our temporary headquarters, popularised our website and social media profile. But, with all those accomplishments, we always knew that the first year will not be an easy one, that we have to wait with creating and popularising our main policies until we are truly an independent organisation with clear aims and a strategy for growth. And that is precisely why we are gathered here today – the time has come for us to set the course for the future. We know now that ECMD is indeed needed in Europe – many governments are finally moving in the direction of recognition of the importance of metal detecting. Experts are needed, not only representing archaeologists, but also passionate and responsible hobbyists, who will evaluate and recommend appropriate measures with which we will be able to reach our common goal – the best protection of our Heritage. ECMD can and will provide such advice, showing an example for others to follow.

We have come together to debate and decide on the best course of action during the coming years. I believe that we will be able to strengthen our foundations and build upon what we have already achieved. We need to look forward – trying to find best solutions for each of our members based on their particular situation. Let’s not kid ourselves that a single golden way exists for all of us. Let’s not base our designs on simply copying the British system, which will never be accepted by any European country and which even in the UK is being increasingly criticised. Our aim must remain the same – we must create and then uphold the standard for Responsible Metal Detecting or RMD for short. What exactly should we mean by RMD? Well, for a start it needs to be a fully ethical standard, following a strict Code of Conduct. First and foremost on the agenda should be the obligatory recording of ALL historical finds. Such finds should be reported to a local museum, archaeologist, or preferably self-recorded in a specially designed finds database. This recording should be done with the highest possible standards in mind, with precise GPS coordinates, photographic evidence etc. Where no such database exists we should strive to create it, together with archaeologists of course. Only by strict cooperation with archaeologists and people responsible for heritage protection will the hobby of metal detecting survive and grow in the 21st century. All future members of the ECMD should adhere to those standards or desire to implement it at some point in the future. Our mission must also be educational, not only to metal detectorists informing them about the benefits of responsible metal detecting and the importance of heritage protection but also to public at large. All of this must be done in an ethical and transparent way, clearly distinguishing between the interests of metal detecting manufacturers and industry and the interests of responsible hobbyists. I believe that, with the right amount of effort, we will be able to find a perfect compromise.

Let me finish just by saying that I had a privilege and pleasure to lead the ECMD since its formation in April 2016. I am happy to pass the responsibility to another member country, with additional support of increased number of officers on our board and a new recommended Code of Conduct. I am certain that in this way we will inject fresh energy and initiative into our project. Let me wish you all a constructive and pleasant Conference and enjoyable and productive time on the fields of East Anglia! 

Igor Murawski – PHEC Thesaurus, acting President of ECMD”

New recommended ECMD CODE OF CONDUCT 

1. Responsible metal detecting where it is allowed, is not about you, but about the
preservation of our Heritage. All found historical artefacts that may be of interest to an archaeologist, museum etc., to keep or register, should be documented with onsite photo documentation and GPS coordinates.
Systematic search that can document the distribution of found artefacts is recommended.
Remember that removing any artefact without recording it is a dilution of history.

2. Do not disturb artefacts in their original context, that is a job for the archaeologist. Responsible metal detecting concentrates on finding artefacts in the plough layer. Search below the plough layer or on other surfaces should be conducted with the agreement and cooperation of archaeologists.

3. Be sure that you know general and local limitations and laws related to detecting, and always adhere to them.

4. Educate yourself, so that you yourself can identify most artefacts, and if in doubt
ask competent persons, ensuring that all relevant artefacts are registered, treated
and stored properly.

5. Visit websites that offers relevant advice.

6. Do not trespass. Obtain permission from the landowner or a relevant
government body (if applicable) before venturing on to any land.

7. Respect private property, leave gates and property as you find them and do
not damage crops, frighten animals or disturb nesting birds. Also respect
other parties like nature lovers, walkers etc,.

8. Whatever the site, do not leave a mess or an unsafe surface for those who
may follow. It is perfectly simple to extract a coin or other small object buried
some centimetres below the ground and reinstate the grass, sand or soil carefully,
so that even you will have difficulty in locating the find spot again.

9. If you discover any live ammunition or any lethal object such as an
unexploded bomb or mine, do not disturb it. Mark the site carefully and
report the find to the local police and landowner.

10. Keep your country tidy. Safely dispose of refuse you come across.

11. If in doubt always seek advice from an ECMD representative in the country
where you desire to search.

12. Be aware that most countries forbid the export of even the simplest artefact
without an export licence and/or special permit.

13. Remember that when you are out with your metal detector you are an
ambassador for our hobby. Do nothing that might give it a bad name.

14. Never miss an opportunity to explain your hobby to anyone who asks about
it.

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