Metal Detecting as Contemporary Artistic Research Method. Educational Values and Ethical Issues


  • Ionut Mihai Rusen National University of Arts, Bucharest Romania



metal detecting, artistic research, visual arts education, ethics, sculptural objects


Metal detecting became a major issue for cultural environment, over intense debates for and against. Already regulated in western countries and making its contribution to cultural and scientific studies, is still fiercely debated in Eastern European countries. Usually classified as outdoor hobby or leisure activity, metal detecting, although incomplete and inadequately legislated, has proven to be a cultural and scientific vector with great potential for participatory research and democratic access to cutting-edge technology. The centennial anniversary of First World War highlighted the major social, cultural and mainly educational impact of metal detecting opportunities of bringing to light countless artifacts and situations which described the human dimensions and personal dramas of people trapped in both major conflicts of 20th century. Besides undeniable educational values, when practiced by responsible and trained metal detectorists, inherent ethical issues arise in some contexts and situations. The article addresses the potential of metal detecting as contemporary artistic research method, within the related creative activities applied to recovered artifacts and collected data: classifications, photographic investigations, potential as sculptural objects and artistic installations. During the last decade, Eastern European metal detectorists became aware that democratization and public access to this technology offers the opportunity of participative research and regulated access to historical anthroposphere. Applications of this technology are multiple, within research areas of cultural environment. The method has great potential for educational fields and interactive teaching in arts and humanities.

Author Biography

Ionut Mihai Rusen, National University of Arts, Bucharest Romania

PhD Lecturer, National University of Arts, Bucharest, Sculpture Department. Head of Research Department.


Bressan, M. (2014). R.A.P.I. (Romanian Archaeological Photography Index), available at

Clark, S. (2013). Metal detecting and archaeological advocacy Some observations and ideas from a detectorist. Day of Archaeology. Retrieved from

Cohen, J. L. (2011). Architecture in uniform Designing and building for the Second World War. Paris, France, ditions Hazan.

Dobat, A. S. (2013). Between rescue and research: an evaluation after 30 years of liberal metal detecting in archeological research and heritage practice in Denmark. European Journal of Archaeology, 16(4):704-725

DoR (2016). Tacu Irina and Lungu Adrian, From the ground. When you unearth and photograph combs, helmets, armaments and bones, where do you draw the line between art and archeology? Retrieved from

Ferguson, N. (2013). Biting the bullet: the role of hobbyist metal detecting within battlefield archeology, Internet Archaeology, 33.

Frunza, A. (2016). Catre o noua expertiza etica: deconstruind valorile etice. Iasi, Romania: LUMEN.

Ganciu, I. (2018). Heritage for sale! The role of museums in promoting metal detecting and looting in Romania. Heritage, 2018, 1:437-452.

Grbovan, B. (2014). R.A.P.I Underground 2014 2015, available at

Grbovan, B. (2018). Categorii/Categories. Bucharest, RO: Galeria Posibila.

Huidu, A. (2019). Tailoring humans: The ethics of genetic engineering n A. Sandu, A. Frunz? & E. Unguru (Coords.), Ethics in research practice and innovation. Hershey, SUA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-6310-5

Losh, J. (2017). Battlefield bounty hunters: the detectorists of Eastern Europe. The Guardian. Retrieved from (2013). 55th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia Zsolt ASZTALOS. Fired but unexploded. Hungarian Pavilion. Retrieved from

Thomas, S. (2016). The future of studying hobbyist metal detecting in Europe: A call for a transnational approach. Open Archaeology, 2(1).

Virilio, P. (1994). Bunker Archeology. New York, USA: Princeton Architectural Press




How to Cite

Rusen, I. M. (2019). Metal Detecting as Contemporary Artistic Research Method. Educational Values and Ethical Issues. Logos Universality Mentality Education Novelty: Philosophy & Humanistic Sciences, 7(2), 32-48.

Publish your work at the Scientific Publishing House LUMEN

It easy with us: publish now your work, novel, research, proceeding at Lumen Scientific Publishing House

Send your manuscript right now