MEDEA: Recording metal-detected finds in Flanders

Suzie Thomas was in Brussels this week for the Project Advisory Panel meeting of MEDEA, a new initiative led by researchers at SKAR and SMIT at Brussels Free University, and PACKED, funded by the Hercules Foundation.

Suzie joined panel members from organizations such as the British Museum, Ashmolean Museum, Aarhus University,  the Coin Cabinet of the Royal Library of Belgium and Flanders Heritage Agency to hear how the project has been developing. MEDEA aims, following recent changes in Flemish legislation, to create a research- and user-friendly database for recording archaeological material discovered by metal detectorists. The panel’s role was to advise based on their own experiences from similar projects in such as the UK and Denmark, and to provide advice based on their research specialisms.

A full day in a long but productive meeting is a day well spent.

A full day in a long but productive meeting is a day well spent.

Following extensive focus groups and consultations and after rounds of careful beta-testing and programming, the MEDEA platform is expected to launch in late 2015 or early 2016.

The Flanders experience is particularly interesting with regard to the Lapland’s Dark Heritage project, due to the interest of many metal detectorists active in Belgium that engage with material from the First World War, and the expansion of First World War tourism in recent years. This, compared to different encounters with Second World War material in Lapland may form the basis of some comparative studies further into the project.