Many readers will already be aware of an initiative by Keith Westcott to form an Institute of Detectorists (I o D) which is being seen by some detectorists as a possible rival organisation to the NCMD and a potential threat.
For those who are unaware of the initiative, our general understanding is that the I o D will provide training in archaeological principles for detectorists who wish to assist archaeologists on digs and surveys. The proposed Institute is intended to become a new national body for detectorists whose interests are focused around heritage and conservation. It claims that it will build bridges between archaeologists and detectorists and further the use of metal detectors on archaeological projects – promoting best practice based on archaeological principles and values to responsible detectorists. It is intended to develop and promote standards and guidance on the use of metal detectors in an archaeological context, creating a national educational programme for all detectorists to encourage them to adopt best practice in responsible detecting for public benefit.
The problem is that it is still too early to make a proper assessment on its potential impact on hobby detecting because the current position is that the detailed aims and objectives of the proposed Institute are still somewhat ambiguous. This therefore raises many questions which is why the NCMD has decided to decline an invitation meantime to join an Advisory Group within the I o D. More details are awaited including clarification of the role that the NCMD might be expected to play if it was to participate in the I o D Advisory Group and we are therefore keeping a close watching brief on the situation.