New digital tool sparks enthusiasm among metal detectorists
World amateur archaeology champions
Denmark is internationally renowned for its metal detector archaeology and has some of the most competent and committed amateur archaeologists in the world. They continuously contribute to the discovery of some of the most sensational finds in Danish archaeology, and in many ways they have helped rewrite Danish history. But only a fraction of the many finds are available to the general public and to research today. Aarhus University, Moesgaard Museum, Odense City Museums and the Historical Museum of Northern Jutland have developed the digital platform DIME in collaboration with the KROGAGERFONDEN foundation. It builds a digital bridge between amateur archaeologists and the museums and the general public. This way, an important part of the Danish cultural heritage becomes available to the general public, and it will be easier for the museums to register the increasing number of metal detector finds.
"For a long time, detectorists have been looking forward to the development of a digital portal for registering finds. DIME is easy to use and has so many helpful functions that make it fun to use. I'm happy that we can now start using it," says Freddy Arntsen, detectorist and representative of the Association of Danish Amateur Archaeologists on the DIME steering committee.
"Danish metal detection archaeology is the best example of the broad popular involvement in our cultural heritage. It's also an expression of the special Danish culture of trust where everyone protects and contributes to the shared cultural heritage, and where professionals are also prepared to leave responsibility to the volunteers. We're now taking this collaboration to a higher level with DIME. We will create an even stronger connection between the many volunteers and the museums, and we will get new tools that help us gain an overview of the many new finds and share our knowledge," says Mads Kähler Holst, executive director, Moesgaard Museum.
Democratic cultural heritage management
Many amateur archaeologists have acquired significant knowledge of their finds, and the communication in the environment is a textbook example of efficient knowledge sharing. DIME allows metal detectorists to actively bring their knowledge into play for the benefit of society as a whole. This makes the portal one of the biggest crowd-sourcing and citizen-science projects ever in archaeology.
DIME will give all Danes the opportunity to learn more about the many new and exciting detector finds discovered by the many detectorists every day. In future, for example, a school class will be able to explore the many finds from the Viking Age and other periods and see what has been found in their local community.
"The idea which DIME is based on is simple and brilliant, and we hope that DIME is one of the keys to solving the challenge that we and other museums are facing with the increasing number of detector finds. Today, amateur archaeologists are often just as competent as the professionals are. This is especially true of Danish detectorists, and it's simply a matter of acknowledging them and giving them the chance to bring their vast amount of knowledge into play," says Rane Willerslev, director, National Museum of Denmark).
DIME portal: https://www.metaldetektorfund.dk/information/?om