|View single post by 39th Miss. Walker|
|Posted: Mon May 14th, 2007 03:47 pm||
39th Miss. Walker
|I would have no problem with relic hunters if they had to be licensed, carry written permission from the property owner with them and fill out a detailed report with the State Archaeologist.
I have seen way too many times irresponsible relic hunters who have dug whole fields and left large holes, not even bothering to fill them back in. I have seen rifle pits and breastworks dug into and eroded. Whole bombproof's have been dug into obliterating the original entrance and ramp area.
Many fields have been totally cleared of artifacts and the field now loses it's historic value and also causes the field to be lost in some cases to developers, since the evidence of the battle or camp is no longer there.
Even today archaeologist are re-visiting battlefields and sites to determine aspects of the battle or march we never knew about. Relic hunters screw this all up.
I hear from many relic hunters that they are saving history! BS, saving what history? To take an item out of it's historic content and put in some cheap glass case, most likely to be sold at the next CW sale or on e-bay? At the same time they won't divulge the location of their finds because they are afraid they will be banned from the site or someone else will come in and find something. In the mean time some of these very sites they are "saving the history" from are not being protected because the preservationist/historian doesn't know where they are.
Some relic hunters even give the argument the items are in immediate danger from being lost forever due to the effects of time. If this was true then 99% of all the archaeological sites around the world shouldn't be in existence. Other than wood or steel many of the other metals will last many centuries in the ground.
If one wants to relic hunt then the item description and exact location should be recorded with the state. This would be a win win situation. The relic hunters could still keep their finds, the state/historians could then identify important sites and interpret the history, and the relic hunters can help clean up their very tarnished past.
In many areas sites are off limits to the public, and even professional historians and archaeologists because of the abuses of relic hunters.
I own a large field about a mile form a large CW camp. I can't tell you how many relic hunters have come down her on weekends and wanting to look for stuff. When I tell them no I don't want them or the liability on my property they usually get belligerent and remind me they are "saving history". I have caught some of them on my property later. I caught one guy digging on a battery I am the overseer on, right under the no trespassing sign. They pass the signs to break in the box tombs of 230 year old graves! Is it any wonder relic hunters have bad reputations?
You want to relic hunt? Have the property owners written permission, report your finds to the State Historic office. Finally turn in those irresponsible individuals you know about.