Several European countries and regions have similar approaches to non-professional metal detecting, characterized by a liberal legislation, inclusive attitude and mechanisms supporting collaboration between heritage management, research and the interested public.
As expressed in its vision and aims, the European Public Finds Recording Network supports these approaches through international collaboration.
As the European Public Finds Recording Network, we aspire towards:
- Broad public engagement and access to the archaeological heritage at local, regional, national and European level;
- A democratized approach to heritage management in Europe, stimulated through the incorporation of principles of citizen science and crowd-sourcing;
- A recognition of recorded public finds as an important body of archaeological evidence for human behaviour and interaction.
It is our objective to work closely together, and with other areas, to:
- Advance archaeological knowledge through the recording and research of publicly discovered finds;
- Encourage best archaeological practice in the field when searching for and recording publicly-discovered finds;
- Supporting ways for public finds to be preserved and made accessible for the benefit of the whole of society, both nationally and internationally;
- Enable and facilitate members of the public to actively contribute to the recording and handling of archaeological heritage in the pursuit of knowledge;
- Promote international cooperation in the field of archaeological finds recording;
- Advance knowledge of public attitudes towards and impacts on cultural heritage;
- Develop democratic approaches to heritage management in Europe.
We will achieve these goals by:
- Making information on archaeological finds discovered by the public accessible to all, including international researchers as well as the wider public;
- Facilitating the incorporation and use of public finds in cross-national research;
- Distributing knowledge on regulation and responsible behaviour for the public when searching for (and recovering), or discovering by chance, archaeological objects;
- Acting as an intermediary between finders of scientifically important finds and museum and heritage professionals in a responsible way;
- Exchanging information on regulations, experience and expertise with international colleagues;
- Improving standards of archaeological work undertaken by members of the public to promote a sense of shared stewardship of the past;
- Supporting research through our finds recording databases and other means, by acting as intermediaries for finds experts, and by identifying gaps in archaeological small finds knowledge;
- Incorporating and further developing principles of citizen science and crowdsourcing in public finds recording.