What is the UK Detector Finds Database?
The UK Detector Finds Database (UKDFD) is an initiative by members of the metal-detecting community to promote good practice within the hobby. It is an easy-to-use, friendly and supportive online facility for detectorists to record their finds and ensure that the information is both available for current research, and preserved for future generations.
Do I have to register to use the database?
If you only wish to access the database for research purposes, or to help identify a find, there is no requirement to register. If you wish to record your finds, however, you must register beforehand. Registration will also give you access to the dedicated UKDFD forum, where you will be able to discuss your finds and the database with other detectorists.
Does it cost anything to use the database, or to record my finds?
No. It costs nothing to use the database or to record your finds.
What types of find are eligible for recording?
Many of the finds typically made by metal detectorists are eligible for recording. They must, however, be potentially identifiable and not so common that they would add little or nothing to existing knowledge. Early non-metallic finds, such as flint tools and weapons, are also eligible. For specific details of eligible items, see Eligible finds.
What information do I have to provide if I wish to record a find?
You must upload good quality digital images (up to three) showing all aspects of your find, both for identification purposes and to make it useful for subsequent research. In addition, you must provide basic information about both the find and the findspot. You also have the option of providing full identification details if you are able to do so. For specific details of information to be recorded, see Guidelines for recording.
Why don’t all UKDFD images have scales attached to show the size of the objects recorded?
Scales are unnecessary on UKDFD images, as they are inseparably linked on the database to their respective details, which always include the size. We prefer that scales are not included on uploaded images for the following reasons:
1. It is frequently necessary to process uploaded images to correct their orientation. The presence of scales on the images makes this a far more complicated and time-consuming process.
2. The UKDFD database is designed for browsing as well as searching. It is important, therefore, that ‘thumbnails’ display objects at a maximum possible size to facilitate recognition of key features. The inclusion of scales can significantly hamper this objective..
Can I record my find with the UKDFD if I have already recorded it with the Portable Antiquities Scheme or elsewhere?
Yes, you can record your find with UKDFD, even if you have already recorded it elsewhere. It is important, however, to indicate this fact when uploading your information, and a specific field is provided for the purpose.
Will my find be identified and dated, and if so by whom, and how long will it take?
Members of the UKDFD identification team will make every effort to identify and date your find, or confirm/amend the details you provide. The time taken will depend on a number of factors including the difficulty posed by the item itself, the availability of identification team members (all are volunteers), and the quality of information provided, particularly the images. Once validated in this way, records will be transferred from the ‘awaiting validation’ area to the main database, where the information will be publicly accessible.
Who will have access to the information I provide?
Anyone using the database will have access to the information you provide, with the following exceptions. The location of the findspot will be limited to the county and anything you choose to enter in the optional ‘Findspot’ field. The latter is likely to be a very general location, such as ‘Near Ipswich’ or something similar. The details you provide of ‘NGR’ and/or ‘Parish’ are NOT displayed on the database and are only accessible by the administrators of the scheme.
Who is responsible for the administration of UKDFD?
The current members of the administration team are listed here, but from time to time, it will be necessary to recruit new members to ensure the continuity of the scheme. When this situation arises, integrity and a responsible approach to the hobby will be essential prerequisites of those who are enlisted.
What happens to the records on the database if the UKDFD ceases to exist for any reason?
In the event of the UKDFD ceasing to exist as a recording scheme, arrangements have been made for the database to be passed to a national metal-detecting body. All undertakings given by the UKDFD in respect of confidentiality will be honoured by the receiving organisation.
How is UKDFD financed?
UKDFD is currently being financed by the team that set it up, but plans are in hand to raise the funds necessary to secure its long-term future. Potential sources of finance include metal-detecting rallies, sponsorship, and voluntary donations. The costs of running the scheme are mainly those associated with the hosting and use of the database. The administration team and those providing the identifications are respected specialists in their chosen fields, who provide their services completely free of charge.
Why when I have just uploaded my record, can't it be viewed on the database?
Finds need to be validated by our identification team before they can be viewed in the public section of the database. Please be patient, you will receive an automated email when this process has been completed.