The delegates from the French Federation of Metal Detectorists – FNUDEM, Sébastien Potet and Sebastien Joly, have attended the second French Metal Detecting Show (2ème Grand Salon de la Detection) held in Paris on the 8th and 9th of October. The event was attended by hundreds of visitors over the two-day period, including special guests like Harry Bain, the editor and publisher of “The Searcher” magazine, as well as some of the major metal detector manufacturers, namely Minelab, XP, Nokta and Makro. Many vendors were also present, offering a wide range of metal detecting equipment. Our French delegates found that a large percentage of metal detectorists are not fully aware of the metal detecting laws in France. One vendor in particular was criticised for encouraging night-time metal detecting, claiming that some people are just too busy to engage in their hobby during daytime. On the bright side, many people were very honest about their lack of knowledge and expressed the desire to learn more about the subject, showing that breaking the law is largely caused by the lack of proper education in regards to metal detecting, rather than greed or malicious intent.
This is a very important distinction, as many French academics and archaeologists often criticise metal detectorists for being driven by self-interest, rather than genuine desire to uncover and protect material traces of our common history. It is extremely important to educate metal detectorists and the experts alike, explaining to them each side’s concerns and arguments. The hobbyists must learn the importance of responsible metal detecting, while the professionals must realise that treating all of the former as nighthawks or criminals is simply unreasonable, as it is detrimental to the protection of cultural heritage.
Overall, the second French Metal Detecting Show was a big success. Despite the arguments about the attitude of some of the vendors, the members of the public have responded positively to the general theme of responsible metal detecting. Most people want to learn more about this hobby and ways of protecting their cultural heritage. The members of FNUDEM expect to have similar presentations in the future, providing more information about their objectives and showing how international cooperation between responsible metal detectorists is the way forward.
FNUDEM website: http://www.fnudem.net/