Denmark, England, Flanders and the Netherlands are among the most progressive areas of Europe in terms of mechanisms to record archaeological finds found by members of the general public, and make these finds accessible for research and public interest in the past. Thanks to the cooperation between Portable Antiquities Scheme, operating in England and Wales, and archaeological institutions from other countries, special group was formed with the following aims:
- Advance archaeological knowledge through the recording and research of public finds;
- Encourage best archaeological practice in the field when searching for and recording public finds;
- Support museum acquisitions of important archaeological material found by the public;
- Advance international cooperation in the field of archaeological finds recording.
The group aims to achieve these goals by:
- Making the information on archaeological finds discovered by the public accessible to all, including international researchers as well as the wider public;
- Distributing knowledge on regulation and responsible behaviour for the public when searching for (and recovering) archaeological objects;
- Acting as an intermediary between finders of scientifically important finds and museum and heritage professionals in a responsible way;
- Exchanging information on regulations, experience and expertise with international colleagues;
- Support research through our finds recording databases and other means, by acting as intermediary for finds experts in different regions around the North Sea, and by identifying gaps in archaeological small finds knowledge.
- Stimulate and enhance public engagement and access to the archaeological heritage at local, region, and national level;
- Improve standards of archaeological work done by members of the public to engender a sense of shared ownership in the past;
- Enable members of the public to contribute to the recording and handling of archaeological heritage in order to advance knowledge;
- Advance the democratisation of heritage management in Europe through the incorporation of principles of citizen science and crowd-sourcing.
- Promote the study of recorded finds as an internationally important body of archaeological evidence for human behaviour and interaction around the North Sea.
ECMD welcomes this initiative and aims to work very closely with North Sea Area Finds Recording Group and all bodies which understand the relevance and potential of responsible metal detecting.