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Applying Social Media and Game Theory to a Self-Regulating Metal Detecting Community

I’m a bit of an idealist.

As is stands, all potentially historic public land in Kentucky is “off limits” to detecting.  This includes well-documented areas in our State Parks system and areas that will never be excavated.   When you ask archaeologists if these areas will ever be explored and often will tell you “probably not.”   It is my belief that these sites should be made available to metal detecting -but in a way that improves knowledge and explores the potential of the new sites for professionals.

postscript: Please see my posts during my Montpelier visit – I’ve refined my point of view.  This post needs re-written.

I have come up with an idea that could help us out of the quagmire and perceived “site-hoarding.”  Imagine sites are given sensitivity ratings from A-C.    ‘A’ being the most sensitive (least known, poor data set, greatest need for protection) and ‘C’ being least sensitive sites with less, but not zero, historic value.

Proposed Site Classifications for Detector Use:

  • Class A: Coordination with Archaeologists – site survey, site location, artifact scatters on defined grid, possibly in association with shovel test pits.
  • Class B:  Access to historic ground, GPS tagging and/or flag tagging of find locations and reporting.   Surrender of finds and flagging of find locations may be required depending on site.  Detectorist transitions from free-form hunting to detector survey work on that find if requested.
  • Class C: Ok for all detecting.  No permits required.  All reporting voluntary but encouraged.

On-Line Rewards System (Game Theory)

  • All detectorists on public lands must be registered and carry a membership permit ID.
  • On Class B, the registered detectorist responsible for finding, documenting and surrendering finds.  All finds are associated with their registration.  Location of finds is kept secret to a board made up of the academic and amateur collaborators.
  • Detector finds (photos, documentation, context at the “county” level only) will be made public online and the detectorists can then “share” these posts with their detecting peers via social networks such as Facebook.   Detectorists accumulate points as “kudos” for their compliant efforts.
  • Certified detectorists who break the rules will be ejected from the program and their finds de-listed from the catalog.   They will be required to surrender their permit ID.
  • Surrendered finds will be evaluated and a decision made about whether it should be retained for public good or returned to the detectorists.

What do you guys think?  Any enhancements?