Metal detecting at Binchester




George Marley (external metal detectorist)

David Marley (external metal detectorist)

It’s great to be back at Binchester again with The Auckland Project, Durham County Council and Northern Archaeological Associates. Meeting up again with the fantastic volunteers who work so tirelessly and the dedicated and extremely knowledgeable NAA archaeologists, including Rebecca, Steve and Eddie, is something that we look forward to on an annual basis.

For a number of years now, my son David and I have been volunteering as much time as possible to assist archaeologists in projects across the North East of England, providing metal detecting services with the aim of enhancing the excavations by unearthing metal artefacts and coins from spoil taken from the sites. In addition, on some sites, we have searched the open site areas to pinpoint any ferrous or non-ferrous signals in order that these identified objects can be excavated in context and therefore contribute more accurately to the understanding of the areas being searched.

We firmly believe in the positive impact that responsible metal detecting can have in providing a more complete recording of historical sites. The introduction of the Portable Antiquities Scheme has been a huge success in encouraging the recording of non-stratified metal detecting finds discovered by members of the public. It is our aim to further foster and promote the important contribution that metal detecting makes, working harmoniously alongside archaeological services towards capturing our heritage for future generations. It was for these exact reasons that earlier this year we formed our new company ‘Detectology UK’ and we look forward to many more years ‘saving history together’.

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Binchester Roman fort and its environs are under the custodianship of the Auckland Project and classed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. These are sites which are considered to be of national importance. For this reason, any kind of archaeological investigation, including fieldwalking, excavation and metal detecting is prohibited without written consent from the Secretary of State.

It is illegal to carry out fieldwalking or metal detecting and/or remove objects from a Scheduled Monument without consent under the Archaeological Areas and Ancient Monuments Act 1979. There may also be acts of criminal damage associated with these activities.

Collaborative research projects such as the Binchester dig enable us not only to bring these finds to light but allow us to work together to understand how the finds relate to the built remains and the surrounding landscape. This enables us to build up a more complex picture of the past which would otherwise be lost.

To learn more about Scheduled Ancient Monuments click here.

If you are interested in taking up metal detecting, the Portable Antiquities Scheme has provided useful guidance on a range of topics, available here.

If you are interested in the work of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, or wish to report your finds to your local Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) click here.

If you’re interested in how The Auckland Project is managing its  archaeological heritage for the benefit of visitors and the public, head over to their website and/or get in touch with The Auckland Project’s archaeology team.

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