1. Introduction

For many interest groups, utilising the internet has made contact and discussion between interested parties extremely easy and is relatively inexpensive. Metal detecting is no exception, with an array of websites, discussion-groups and fora from around the world available to anyone who cares to search them out. This article will introduce and discuss one such forum, that of the United Kingdom Detector Net website (UKDN) and how, and why, it has evolved into an extremely successful resource for education and co-operation, with a thriving online community. Please do not confuse UKDN with the United Kingdom Detector Finds Database (UKDFD) as the two sites are not connected in any way.

The UKDN forum was created by Brian and Mo Cross in 2002 and has grown from being a small group of like-minded enthusiasts talking about their hobby, into an online community of over 5400 people from all walks of life, bringing together a plethora of professions, knowledge and interests far beyond the primary, common interest of metal detecting.

It is a forum for people who are interested in the hobby of metal detecting, where members can discuss the hobby, and its place in the political and heritage arenas, exchange and share knowledge, their views, their finds, the machines they use and a multitude of other detecting-related subjects. It is free to join and everyone and anyone are welcome to apply for membership as all have something to contribute, and also something to learn.

So, how has this particular forum managed to prosper while others have withered and died or have not been so successful in growing and maintaining their membership? A strong team of administrators, moderators, technical IT staff and small-find advisors, work hard together to ensure that the site is accessible to all and is somewhere that members can talk freely about their hobby. This last point is important; it is still a hobby not a profession. Most of our members have regular, full-time jobs or are retired and metal detecting is, for them, a recreational pursuit. This applies, equally, to the above-mentioned team who help to run UKDN. They are all volunteers who give up their own time and effort to maintain a site that they are passionate about and proud of.

The co-authors of this article are both administrators of the UKDN site while also being in full-time employment, Tom Redmayne as commercial manager for a national dairy company and Kev Woodward as a senior maintenance controller in the aviation industry. Over time, UKDN has developed an Acceptable Usage Policy (AUP), which it strictly abides by at all times, and a set of aims that it continually aspires to.

UKDN actively works towards the following aims:

  1. Develop a greater understanding of the hobby and some of the wider issues through healthy, pro-active debate within the forum and through the monthly magazine, which is distributed to, and read by, our membership and beyond. The magazine includes UKDN-based news and articles, as well as wider news, debate, and issues of heritage interest.
  2. Provide a platform to inform beginners in the hobby of the basic principles in the use of a metal detector, gaining permission, site research, basic heritage law, farming scheme rules and in the 'best practice' for conservation, recording and co-operation.
  3. Actively promotes the 'Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting' (PDF) to all members of the UKDN online forum and beyond.

  4. Encourage all UKDN detectorists to record their finds with the appropriate bodies (depending where they detect). In England and Wales this is with the Portable Antiquities Scheme and in Scotland the Treasure Trove Unit.
  5. UKDN will actively work towards ensuring the future security of the hobby. We will liaise and co-operate with heritage professionals in a way that is mutually beneficial to all parties while maintaining our independence, and we encourage their active participation, either in the UKDN online community or through our on-line magazine.

All aspects of the hobby are discussed on the forum, from beginners' questions to advanced research aids and recording techniques; from how to set up and use the detector you have chosen to the laws and procedures involved in dealing with anything that you find; the scope is vast.


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File last updated: Thu Feb 28 2013