Are detectorists amateur archaeologists?

Can archaeology be non-professional?

The damages caused by treasure hunters using metal detectors are well-known and daily cause irreparable loss of cultural heritage. How shall we deal with them? The question has been heavily debated and opinions are varied, from repression to integration. Some specialists even argue that detectorists are instrumental in the progress of archaeological research and that inclusivity encourages engagement towards protection of cultural heritage. But detectorists do not only detect, they dig holes. At a time when archaeology turns towards non-destructive methods, doesn’t detectorism appear as a debased, harmful version of geophysics applied to archaeology?



[Image: Modern looters’ pit in an archaeological site, Cyprus © Mission archéologique de Kition]