Searching for historical artifacts from key physical locations with historical significance, be it via formal archaeology or hobby metal-detecting, is both very cool but can also be invasive. How do you feel about there being so many locations that are known to have rich history still buried all around, though with restricted access which prohibits hunting?
Granted, archaeology is both a time and cost-intensive venture. Metal detecting opens up issues related to diggers who might not be respectful of the lands and only in it for the monetary gains. What is a good balance between finding history, and leaving many unknown pieces of it still unknown in the ground?
this is only a suggestion, but if state and federal agencies that are responsible for these historic sites, would come up with a guideline that would allow individual or organized metal detector people to assist them in finding and locating historic sites and items. much more of our history would come out of the ground to be used in an educational manner other than just rotting in the ground. A simple procedure of a drivers license or some other photo identification along with maybe even an appointed guide to go with the the individual or group could insure that respect and items for the site would be maintained. The results of metal detectors at the little big horn site should be self-explanatory.
True, some sort of organized effort with appropriate guidelines would likely yield a large amount of folks ready to help uncover history. It seems it’s one of those things where it’s easier for a group to do nothing than spend some time planning, yet the benefits to historical preservation and the positive public involvement would be great. Even if it was something as simple as one part of a historic area was opened up for an archaeological-level search per year, it could be a pilot to test the effectiveness, could be closely monitored, all discoveries documented, and the history learned about and preserved.