Archaeologically controlled metal detecting at the former German Army transit camp at Hanko, southern Finland
[Copyright Jan Fast]

The collateral damage caused by the broadcast of Channel 5’s controversial new documentary series “Battlefield Recovery” is going international as an increasing number of metal detectorists fear that the negative publicity the programme has drawn, especially that from archaeological bodies, poses a threat to the image of metal detecting as a legitimate hobby.

In the latest example of this fear Mr Lasse Nyman,  Chairman of the Finnish Metal Detecting Association, issued the following public statement via Facebook this morning.

Lasse Nyman via Facebook


Lasse Nyman working at the “Deutches Lager Hanko Project”
[Courtesy of Lasse Nyman via Facebook]


“I am a detectorist – proud to be one. Have been doing this for ten years. During those ten years I’ve been digging in lots of different places with lots of different people and I have seen the good and bad sides of this hobby plenty of times. Watching those “Nazi War Diggers” or whatever they call themselves “recovering” battlefields just makes me sick. Picking up skulls like carrots from the field, while pushing some crocodile tears and hunting souvenirs at the same time. That’s not metal detecting – that’s grave robbing and destruction of history. That’s unforgivable.

In my point of view, history of WW2 is one of the most endangered part of history there is, at least that’s the way I see it here in Finland. For decades historical sites of those days have been destroyed whiteout any regret. The last thing we need is those kinds of “Nazi War Diggers” programs to promote souvenir hunters and collecting for dealers. Unfortunately – money talks, bullsh#t walks.

As a detectorist, only reason for me to detect is preserve our history and the way to do it, is with archaeologists and local museums. As a detectorist I’m also worried about that all detectorists are going to be generalized as souvenir hunters during these kind of shows. In summary, these kind of shows doesn’t serve anything – not history, not memories of those departed souls – not anything.”


Mr Nyman has himself worked on one of Finland’s best known conflict archaeology projects.  The survey of the former “Deutches Lager Hanko” [German Army Transit Camp Hanko] in southern Finland directed by Mr Jan Fast .

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