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Metal-Detecting for Cultural Objects until ‘There Is Nothing Left’: The Potential and Limits of Digital Data, Netnographic Data and Market Data for Open-Source Analysis

1
Graduate School, American University of Rome, 00153 Rome, Italy
2
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, London WC1H 0PY, UK
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 13 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Art Crime Research (2018))
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Abstract

This methodological study assesses the potential for automatically generated data, netnographic data and market data on metal-detecting to advance cultural property criminology. The method comprises the analysis of open sources that have been identified through multilingual searches of Google Scholar, Google Web and Facebook. Results show significant differences between digital data and market data. These demonstrate the limits of restricted quantitative analysis of online forums and the limits of extrapolation of market data with “culture-bound” measures. Regarding the validity of potential quantitative methods, social networks as well as online forums are used differently in different territories. Restricted quantitative analysis, and its foundational assumption of a constant relationship between the size of the largest online forum and the size of the metal-detecting population, are unsound. It is necessary to conduct extensive quantitative analysis, then to make tentative “least worst” estimates. As demonstrated in the sample territories, extensive analyses may provide empirical data, which revise established estimates. In this sample, they corroborate the detecting community’s own perception that they are ‘beat[ing these sites] to death’. View Full-Text
Keywords: archaeology; cultural heritage; cultural property crime; heritage crime; illicit antiquities trade; metal-detecting; netnography; open-source analysis; research methodology archaeology; cultural heritage; cultural property crime; heritage crime; illicit antiquities trade; metal-detecting; netnography; open-source analysis; research methodology
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Hardy, S.A. Metal-Detecting for Cultural Objects until ‘There Is Nothing Left’: The Potential and Limits of Digital Data, Netnographic Data and Market Data for Open-Source Analysis. Arts 2018, 7, 40.

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