The 11th of February marked the official launch of the “MEDEA” platform. Previously, this project was in a testing phase and only a select number of people could participate. However, it is now open to all metal detecting enthusiasts who want to share their discoveries with experts and other detectorists.
We have mentioned this platform several times in the past. It was set up at the Brussels Free University in 2014 and is designed to provide archaeologists and other experts with sufficient information about archaeological objects found in Flanders. It is designed to encourage metal detectorists in Flanders, where metal detecting is legal since 2016, to record their finds on an online platform.
Here is a brief summary of the steps that need to be taken in order to report a discovery using MEDEA:
After registration, it is necessary to fill in a special form. The person who made the discovery must provide some basic information about the find, such as material type and dimensions, as well as some good-quality pictures. The precise location where the object was found must also be specified. However, this information will only be visible to registered experts. Other users will be presented with an area of approximately 7x11km. Once the document is complete, it can then be sent to a person who will examine it and look for any potential errors. If all the details are correct, the discovery will be published on the platform where it can be viewed by everyone, including non-registered users, although some confidential information will obviously be excluded. In some rare situations (for example, when a treasure is found) information about the discovery will not have to be published until further research has taken place.
The MEDEA platform is a very promising project, part of an exciting developments in “Open Science” – movement to make scientific research, data and dissemination accessible to all levels of an inquiring society, amateur or professional. It encompasses practices such as publishing open research, campaigning for open access, encouraging scientists to practice open notebook science, and generally making it easier to publish and communicate scientific knowledge. MEDEA endeavours to be a ‘collaborative project’ in which users of the platform participate in the analysis of the data, and not just in creating a product benefitting a small group of professional scientists. We look forward to seeing how it will develop in the near future. Perhaps experts and authorities from other countries will be inspired by this project, which could encourage them to incorporate something similar into their own systems.
(Wiki, Open Archaeology, MEDEA FB profile)