I've tried to take in all the angles and views that detectorists have with regards to detecting and their perception of happiness/contentedness.
With the following justifications in mind I asked a detectorist very recently this question "On a scale of one to ten, how much would you like to find a "hammy" or Roman on each visit?". The answer was a resounding TEN. This detectorist had only found ONE Roman coin and ONE "hammy" in 24 months of detecting. Obviously he would be much happier achieving the TEN that he would like to aspire to.
My next question to him was "How are you going to achieve that TEN?".
He was honest and hadn't a clue of how to achieve this but none-the-less would love to reach this goal. I was in exactly the same position in October 2010. I'm satisfied that the gap between the one and ten is now a lot narrower for me at this moment in time.
Each area below has its own justification without exception..
There are several aspects to the perception of "detecting" and as to what "pleasure" participants get out of this pastime.
There appears to be several levels to this, to describe but just a few are as follows and in no particular order;
- Beach detectorists looking for modern gold and coinage with a slim chance of anything that would qualify for PAS
- A low level of focus to a point where enjoying the ambient environment is far higher than an interest in recovering artefacts or coins. ie; minimal outings per year with very little research and with a strong hope in finding history.
- As above but may get out more frequently, say once or twice a month.
- As above but may get out between two or four times per month.
- An interest in recovering artefacts and coins with no interest in the ambient environment. ie; pure hobbyists.
- An equal interest in both the ambient environment and recovering artefacts and coins. ie; those that appreciate the natural environment whilst detecting and are quite happy to find something of interest once-in-a-while.
- A higher focus in recovering artefacts and coins with an interest in the ambient environment. ie; those that have researched the history of the search but are also aware or the natural environment.
- An almost semi-professional level of interest in both the recovery of history and with a similar level of interest in the environment. For example; pushing the boundaries of detecting to the ultimate and being able to identify each individual bird song or many other clues within the environment.
Of course, there will be levels in between all of the above points including everything from "affectionately fantasizing" what objects may exist in the ground below your coil to the level of "what does exist there".
"Hobbyists" have to be honest to themselves as to what level they are pitched at and not concern themselves with those that seek more from detecting. As I say, if you're at the first point in the list above you've got to be extremely happy at that level and enjoy that fact.
As a team, we've gone for the last option as there isn't scope for "fondly imagining" or letting "affectionate" thoughts detract from the project in hand. That's just the way we think as a team and it has resulted in a consistent record of great finds.
We thoroughly enjoy what we do with a passion. I can honestly say that we are 99.99% happy in what we do. So whatever category you fall in ... enjoy and don't attack, moan, groan, complain or argue against what is obviously working for some.
On a personal level, I myself engage in outdoor activities that will result in all the aspects that I love about the great outdoors. Whether that is tracking some of Britain's rarest birds to tracking and filming our shyest and only venomous snake, the adder. I've been very fortunate to film the "Dance of the Adders" twice in one morning!
So in essence, I love to detect as I can bring together all that I love in life and that includes finding some great archaeology and spotting some of the most intriguing natural goings-on imaginable!