"Securing Cultural Heritage Objects and Fencing Stolen Goods? A Case Study on Museums and Metal Detecting in Norway"
Artikkel i tidsskriftet Norwegian Arcaeological Review av Josephine Munch Rasmussen, stipendiat ved IAKH.
Abstract av artikkelen:
Private metal detecting is frequently suggested as a favourable recipe for saving objects that would otherwise perish in agricultural fields in Norway. Metal detector communities portray themselves as heritage rescuers. For this they receive considerable praise from sympathetic archaeologists and museum staff. By contrast, finders who keep objects for themselves are portrayed as so-called nighthawks. However, accounts from informants who collect, trade or search for archaeological objects reflect more ambivalent attitudes than the idealized image of heritage rescuers and the hostile image of nighthawks indicate. In this article, the issue of private metal detecting is approached through recorded interviews, official correspondence in public archives and informal accounts in online forums.
Norwegian cultural heritage law forms a background to the analysis, while certain legal concepts are employed more actively. The relation between museums and detectorists is deconstructed and explored through the legal provisions on receiving and laundering the proceeds of criminal acts in Norway’s General Civil Penal Code. It is argued here that, while it might seem practical from the point-of-view of museums to assume that finds that are handed in according to law also have been legally procured, such acceptance might also be understood as unlawful legitimation.