Irish courts have fined a man €1k for the unauthorized use of a metal detector while discovering medieval artifacts at an undisclosed site in Ireland.
Kaspar Salmins (45) from College Manor, Dundalk, County Louth, was fined €1k, at Dundalk District Court, following an incident on April 4 2019 when he discovered medieval coins using a metal detector.
Irish law dictates that it is illegal to use a metal detector at a location designated as a national monument without the express permission of Ireland's government Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. Salmins' fine included a prosecution for not informing the National Museum of Ireland 96 hours (3 days) after his discovery, an offense under Ireland's National Monuments Act.
While in the past many civilians have accidentally made archaeological finds these must be reported to the authorities so they can be studied and preserved.
The National Museum of Ireland monitors online postings about the discovery of archaeological objects. The Museum staff also routinely assists gardaí (Irish police) in investigating any possession of unreported archaeological objects.
In Salmins' case, Irish police uncovered social media posts that led them to the Dundalk's find. Items in his possession included silver medieval coins, part of a medieval horse harness, and a detection device, the Irish Independent reports.
It is the hope of the National Museum of Ireland that Salmins' prosecution will raise awareness about these laws and the importance of protecting archaeological sites.
Maeve Sikora, the museum’s Keeper of Antiquities told the Irish Times “Ireland’s archaeological heritage belongs to everyone. Artifacts have survived for centuries and often millennia and should be available to be studied and enjoyed for generations more to come."
She added “No individual has the right to unnecessarily risk the preservation of our priceless archaeological heritage and we ask the public to be vigilant and to report any potential unlicensed metal detecting to An Garda Síochána. [Irish police]”
The Keeper of Antiquities reminded the public that no individual has the right to own any archaeological items without disclosing this to the government.
Sikora said “The Museum builds relationships with finders and their communities through this work and we would also like to thank the many genuine finders who contact us on a daily basis to report their discoveries,