A response to a paper by Samuel A. Hardy
In a recent paper in Cogent Social Sciences, Samuel A. Hardy (2017) has attempted a wide-ranging comparison of the efficacy of different kinds of regulations of metal detecting. In it, he attempts to estimate the number of metal detectorists active, whether lawfully or illegally, in several different European countries, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the USA.
He also attempts to estimate the ‘damage’ caused by their removal of artefacts ex situ. This, he does by first estimating the average amount of hours per year searched by the average metal detectorist, and then estimating the number of significant artefacts found per hour of searching. By multiplying these estimates, he arrives at the estimated number of significant artefacts removed ex situ per year in each of the examined countries, which he takes to be the ‘damage’ that is caused.
These estimates he then compares transnationally, and arrives at the conclusion that comparably permissive or liberal regulatory regimes are ineffective in minimising harm to the archaeological heritage.