from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The practice of being out late at night, for work or pleasure.
  • n. The action of a nighthawker; the practice of metal-detecting late at night to illegally remove artifacts from restricted sites.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From nighthawk.


  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that some tours act in an unprincipled and illegal manner, taking participants detecting on private land without permission and even "nighthawking" (staging nighttime raids) on protected sites.

    Letter from Britain: Hunting for Treasure

  • Norfolk is one of the richest areas in the country for archaeological finds, but has the second highest number of cases of nighthawking after Lincolnshire, according to a survey published by English Heritage.

    2009 February « Scavenging

  • But although the threat of nighthawking remains high, experts said the chances of prosecution remain at an all time low and penalties are "woefully insufficient".

    Antiquities Theft in the U.K.

  • Do not tar treasure seeking, nighthawking scum with the same brush as responsible honest knowledgeable people who willingly work with landowners and archaeologists and the PAS to ensure the proper recording of artifacts. newsfeed

  • As you have demonstrated, most detectorists are impervious to statistics and have spent a decade bleating they are distinct from nighthawking scum while denying or not getting it that the majority of them don't report what they find to PAS (as confirmed by PAS) and therefore have the same moral standing as nighthawks (and incidentally, are responsible for vastly more information loss than nighthawks). newsfeed

  • MICHAEL LEWIS: nighthawking is kind of a glamorous term, I suppose, given to people who are basically thieves.


  • Rural counties such as Norfolk (23), Essex (14), Oxfordshire (13), Suffolk (12), Lincolnshire and Kent (both 11) recorded the highest number of sites hit by nighthawking.

    Antiquities Theft in the U.K.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Culture24: 'The organisation that oversees the reporting of archaeological finds by members of the public in England and Wales, the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), has moved to allay fears following media reports highlighting the rise of illegal metal detecting or ‘nighthawking’.'

    February 20, 2009