Bronze metal waste from WW1 – metal detection near Râșnov

On the weekend of September 16 – 18, near Râșnov, the national meeting of detectorists took place, that of the Pro Detection association. On Saturday we went to look for relics from the first world war. Although it is the first article in this category, much remains to be said – nature and the search for history.

Being, as I said, the first post in this category, I think I’ll outline the main ideas of metal detecting. I’ll talk about my reasons but I assume many other detection enthusiasts have the same ideas.

Metal detecting is a way to enjoy nature, forests, mountains while having a clear purpose. It’s similar to fishing – the phase where you catch the fish, kiss it in the mouth and throw it back into the water. I, for example, am not interested in keeping what I find in the ground, but rather I am interested in the process itself. When climbing mountains – go up, go down, go up again, go down for what? Well, for landscapes and maybe for pictures, maybe to learn something or maybe to get drunk on something. But there seems to be a lack of purpose, an objective. With this detection you have an excuse to hunt something you like while enjoying being in nature. And you hunt metals better than animals.

Detection is the most accessible way to come close to archaeology as an amateur. Many archaeologists jump up and down when they hear this. Well, it’s a fine line between good system restrictions and infringing on individual liberties. Man should not, in my opinion, be excessively restricted – he should be able to walk anywhere and dig anywhere that is not private property (in many states you can also walk unrestricted on private property in nature, outside the countryside) and to detect anywhere that is not an archaeological site. And every science should have an amateur side. Many amateurs become professionals. In many fields, and this is also true for archaeology, besides photography or astronomy, sometimes some amateurs produce more benefits to society than some professionals.

In Romania, metal detection is a special case – because the Romanian is a brother to the code and was not born a poet but a thief. The term detection has a negative connotation because much has been destroyed and stolen with the help of detectors. But returning to the violation of individual rights and freedoms – the fact that the state could not prevent and stop these thefts cannot lead to the unjust public condemnation of people who, legally and morally, want to implement a childhood dream by respecting all the laws of the state – to look for treasures. Ok, there are legal and ethical lines within which you can do this and they must be respected – you must have a licensed detector, you must avoid archaeological sites or areas of identified archaeological potential, you must not destroy the historical context, and you must report and hand over to the authorities as soon as you find something. People in good faith do all this.

This activity is a respectable hobby all over the world. But he who excuses himself is accused. In my opinion, the biggest thieves in the field are the very archaeologists who, with low salaries, are driven to put what they find with the detector in their pocket and not in the museum. If we were to extrapolate the number of discoveries made by amateurs, who avoided the sites, who handed over what they found and who also posted online – the number of archaeologists who should report discoveries with the detector should be somewhere, I think i coarse, 10 times bigger. Or that doesn’t happen. I’m wodering why?

Enough with the main lines.

The part of metal detecting that deals with relics from wars, especially ww1 and ww2 is poetically called Militaria. This is what I did at the weekend – Saturday and Sunday – in the forests between Râșnov and Bușteni respectively Predeal (Valea Prahova).

It’s incredible how much metal is wasted in wars. I found dozens of bronze shell heads (quite expensive metal), shell bodies – very heavy. You can make good money from scrap metal – possibly reduce costs if you take a donkey with you :)). But we don’t do that. By the way, the people I know who are passionate about detection are surgeons, accountants, lawyers, photographers, artists. They don’t really need any money from detection, it’s just a hobby.

The groups of detectorists scattered in several areas found bayonets, buckles, shrapnel, a lot of cartridges. Incidentally, cartridges are everywhere in the forests of Romania. There was a lot of shooting around here – and spikes but also bullets, unfortunately. An infantryman’s shield from the first war and even a spearhead were found. In fact, the most important piece discovered at the meeting organized by the ProDetection association, the spearhead, ended up in the custody of the Brașov County Museum of History, and the town hall of the locality within whose radius the discovery took place was also notified, according to the provisions of the law. It is a fragmentary spearhead (possibly even a fragmentary dagger), datable to the Late Bronze Age – Early Hallstadt.

Personally, I found nothing but shrapnel, cartridges, shovel, pots and many many shell heads, which I left in the place of honor near the trees. Important to specify, regarding the relics of ww1 and ww2, there are no restrictions on their keeping. But sometimes you’re just happy to find them, but many more are not worth carrying home.

That’s the thing about detection – a very nice and respectable hobby if done ethically and legally. A hobby where you can enjoy nature, you exercise a lot, you dig a lot, you use many different muscle groups. If you practice this hobby in organized groups, you can also benefit from consulting, barbecues, raffles, benches and the after party.

That was about it in Râșnov. I’ll let the pictures do the talking. I intend to post more in this category. The next article will be one from Ireland, from an area with potential Viking history.