“I now look forward to the future, by finding things from our past…”Exploring the potential of metal detector archaeology as a source of well-being and happiness for British Armed Forces veterans with mental health impairments: 50-year-old male war veteran and survey participant, suffering from PTSD and depression, on the effect of metal detecting

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  • Andres Dobat
  • Sultan Oruc Wood, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Bo Søndergaard Jensen
  • ,
  • Sören Schmidt, University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • Armin S. Dobat, Germany
Abstract: This article presents the results of a questionnaire-based survey on self-assessment of the effects of metal detecting among British Armed Forces veterans with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and/or other diagnosed or undiagnosed psychological challenges. Although the qualitative analysis presented here only is a first step towards understanding its beneficial effects, the authors conclude that archaeological metal detecting can be regarded as having the potential to positively influence well-being and happiness for people suffering from mental health challenges. The findings suggest that practitioners perceive metal detecting as having a significantly positive and lasting effect on their health and well-being. A significant number of respondents perceive metal detecting as having mitigated specific symptoms of their psychological disorders (PTSD, depression, anxiety). The key factors for the beneficial effect of metal detecting appear to be of both mental, sensory, physical and social nature. First and foremost, however, its beneficial effect seems to be deeply rooted in the fact that the participants interact with archaeological heritage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Volume26
Issue4
Pages (from-to)370-386
Number of pages17
ISSN1352-7258
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

    Research areas

  • Mental health, metal-detecting, public archaeology, therapy, well-being

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