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When Metaldetecting And Archeology Work Hand in Hand! A School Example from Denmark!!! Must Read!

Article about: Speaking of "issues" between archeology and metal detecting in Europa, please take a closer look on how things are done in Denmark! With all due respect, many "quarters"

  1. #1

    Default When Metaldetecting And Archeology Work Hand in Hand! A School Example from Denmark!!! Must Read!

    Speaking of "issues" between archeology and metal detecting in Europa, please take a closer look on how things are done in Denmark! With all due respect, many "quarters" of Europe could learn from this!

    I´m a history teacher and take a big interest in archeology as well. Some friends and I are metal detectorists in and around the community of Lejre/Roskilde/Zeeland/Denmark. We also recently formed a local, ameteur and archeology union, where metal detectorists, local people or anyone with an interest in history and archeology can join. This initiative was celebrated with the paticipation of representatives(archeologists, the local mayor e.g.) from The National Museum of Denmark(local employees represented from Lejre and Roskilde).

    In Denmark metaldetectorists are very appreciated amongst archeologists, and for a long time - private as well as official - metal detecting has gone hand in hand with private interests and official helping hunts on archeological dig sites for traces of our past. The use of metal detectors is perfectly legal in the state of Denmark, provided you do not search in archeologically and historically protected areas, and stay at least two meters away from e.g. barrows, castles and the like. Perhaps needless to say that you wil have to be granted permission from the local landowner - and you are all set to go till you drop!

    I find it imperative to mention that only on very rare occasions problems arise metal detecting. This is due to a mutual understanding between authoritives(museums, archeologists, most landowners, etc.) on this field. Everybody shares a common interest in preserving relics and historical finds in stead of counteracting! The archeologist are as good as always thrilled with excitement of all of the thousands of finds that contribute within their archaeological context – their relationship to structures, deposits and the full range of finds, contributing to the wider understanding of a (local)site or landscape. Due to lack of funds archeology benefits from metal detectorists, the latter take pride in contributing to the knowledge and understanding of our mutal, national and local past.

    If this seems like a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale to some of the readers of this forum, allow me to give an example of the coorperation and mutual understanding between private users of metal detectors and archeologists in Denmark:

    Only two weeks ago finders of relics in the Zeeland county of Lejre, Denmark were invited to a local reception at the museum given by The National Museum and archeologists to celebrate the latest archeological and historic finds by metal detectorists! The finds are now exhibited locally until sent forward to the main museum or The Danish National Museum. Everything was professionally dispayed in glass also telling about the nature of the find and even who found it! Please watch the photos. I´m the one standing next to a display in a white, long sleeved t-shirt and green vest. My "super-find" was a stoneage bronze axe, a very scarce one, only one of four found on the whole island of Zeeland[Sjaelland]. An analysis of the metal proved it to have its origin from Austria, Mondsee near Salzburg!(perhaps they could learn something too in Austria on metal detecting!). One of the first pieces of metal arriving in Denmark. The exhibition also showed numorous and stunning artefacts from e.g. the Bronze Age, the Vikings, etc.

    Metaldetectorists in Denmark know how to carefully dig - and not deeper than the layer from plowing! Also to record coordinates and registrate every potential artefact. If in doubt, contact the local museum for further archeological investigation. Ergo: metal detecting is a matter of trust...

    As for general rules of metal detecting in Denmark, I already mentioned a few. If a relic is of archeological or historical importance you will need to hand your find over to the local museum. If in doubt, do it anyway, just to make sure. You will be a very welcomed guest at the museum. The finder will be compensated for the type of artefact in question after the relic has been sent off to The National Museum of Denmark, and a committee will have it appraised and a reward will be payed for your find, efforts and correct treatment in unearthing, preserving and registrating the specific item. REMEMBER taking the important coordinates! The piece is called the law of "Dane-fae" and goes back hundreds of years.

    What has to be handed over?(Only extracts! - you will have to check the law for yourself!):

    Treasures, naturally. Most archeological finds. Medieval or rennaissance gold, silver, bronze, tin and Iron weaponry and led objects of any kind. The same goes for the before mentioned time period jewelry. Some pieces af amber may be "Danefae", especially if decorated, have it appraised at the local museum. Bones or other materials that are carved with runes.

    What can you keep?(you may have to check the law yourself to be sure!):

    Fx: Undecorated Stone Age items such as axes(if an isolated find, NOT depot finds! - meaning more found at the very same spot) and flakes, etc.. Lumps of bronze and silver that are not decorated, evident artefacts. Led, unless they bear seal markings and the like. Iron: undecorated items of any sort that are not decorated or archealogically/historically unique. If in doubt - ask the local museum! Smaller pieces of pottery are usually not "Dane-fae", even decorated, again: if in doubt - ask. Coins from after 1536 ad., unless more than one, considered a treasure! Check the local museum anyway to be sure. Things like bronze buckles, locks and much more are usually not considered "Dane-fae". You can also keep musket balls and non-explosive canon balls, etc..

    Feel free to ask questions if you like, but please be patient, since I´m usually busy.

    In the hope, you enjoyed the "input".

    Have a nice day!
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture When Metaldetecting And Archeology Work Hand in Hand! A School Example from Denmark!!! Must Read!   When Metaldetecting And Archeology Work Hand in Hand! A School Example from Denmark!!! Must Read!  

    Last edited by F7davidsen; 06-28-2019 at 08:14 AM.

  2. #2


    Fascinating, thank you for posting !

  3. #3


    Very interesting, thanks for taking the time to detail the situation in Denmark.

  4. #4


    A very engaging post! Thank you and I look forward to more

  5. #5


    Thank you for a great thread fellow Dane!
    Very insightful and helpful for those who wants to pursue the metal detecting hobby
    Well done!

  6. #6


    Thanks to everyone finding this input relevant!

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