Friday, 1 November 2013

1 November 2013, Ulley Roman Project Day 15

The last day! Today was the day finished the surveying! Unfortunately we were also joined on site by this gentleman.

An uninvited metal detectorist. He had arrived before us and had already made several holes in the plough soil which we spotted as we walked across the field. He told us that he had landowner permission to be there, but couldn't tell us who the land owner was. We know who the landowner is, as we had gone through the proper channels to be allowed access to the field for the project. 

He also ignored our pleas for him to talk to the farmer to tell him what he was doing on his land, then called the game keeper to come and defend his presence (who was also confrontational and aggressive when he arrived). Whilst Elmet are not against metal detectoring on site, we do believe it should fit in with a proper archaeological strategy and should not be a randomly selected hole digging exercise. He had already recovered artefacts from the ground, but as they were taken out of context, they were completely useless for understanding the past. Plus he refused to talk to us about any further finds he made whilst on site.

All we ask is for metal detectorists to work with us and not against us, as this man did. It is deeply upsetting to see that our hard work of the past three weeks can be so easily destroyed by one single minded individual. Especially on the day that the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries wrongly calls metal detectorists 'Heroes of Heritage'.

In happier news, Dave and Brian helped to finish off the final few grids of the geophysical survey. For three weeks Dave has been coming to site to help and this was his first time using the resistivity! He was a natural! We have decided that the lack of Roman artefacts in the field shows that there is little point in covering the whole field and have targeted the important areas instead.

This was finished in super quick time and we had five grids completed before lunch! The rain set in just in time for us to collect the flags from the field and make sure we had left nothing behind!

So, the fieldwork is now over, it's back to the office to write the report and wash the finds. We will need help with washing finds, so please let us know if you are interested!

Also, the project has been featured in the Rotherham Advertiser this week, so please buy a copy and have a read about what we have been up to!

Elmet would like to extend our sincerest thank you to all who have been involved in the project as volunteers and the Rotherham Archaeological Society for allowing us this chance to work alongside them and their members. Hopefully, we will have many more similar projects in the future!