The rust of time: Metal detecting and battlefield archaeology

Pollard, T. (2009) The rust of time: Metal detecting and battlefield archaeology. In: Thomas, S. and Stone, P. (eds.) Metal Detecting and Archaeology. Boydell and Brewer. ISBN 9781843834151

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The archaeological remains of battlefields are almost unique in that they largely exist as de-contextualised artefacts in the topsoil rather than as features in the less disturbed subsoil or as upstanding remains (this paper will not discuss the concept of battlefields as landscapes). As a result, battlefields have by and large escaped any form of legal protection as archaeological sites, which is unfortunate as they are risk from a number of quarters, which include both modern development the activities of hobbyist metal detectorists. Somewhat ironically however, the practice of battlefield archaeology, which in the UK is a relatively recent innovation, would, on the other hand, be impossible without the use of metal detectors and indeed their non-archaeologist operators, a number of whom have made invaluable contributions to our understanding of these sites and the violent events they represent. This paper will explore both sides of this situation, providing background on current legislation as it impacts on the use of metal detectors on battlefields and use examples to suggest how both archaeologists and detectorists can work productively together. The discussion, which in part focuses on Scottish examples, will also consider the practicalities of metal detecting survey on battlefield sites briefly assess the effectiveness of the various methodologies which have been adopted.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pollard, Professor Tony
Authors: Pollard, T.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Publisher:Boydell and Brewer

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