Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Official: US, France Excavating Sites Illegally in Northern Syria

 A senior Syrian official says the US and France are carrying out illegal excavations in ancient sites in northern Syria with the help of Kurdish militants (Press TV, ' Official: US, France looting artifacts in northern Syria'', Mon Dec 10, 2018) 
Much of the digging work is conducted on the Um al-Sarj mountain near Manbij, head of Syria's Directorate-General for Museums and Antiquities Mahmoud Hammoud told SANA news agency Sunday. Manbij is controlled by Kurdish militants who are heavily armed and supported by US and French troops illegally deployed to northern Syria. According to SANA, the Um al-Sarj mountain in the northern countryside of Aleppo is rich in artifacts. US troops and their allies, it said, are carrying out similar excavations in the ancient souk of Manbij. "The excavations, looting and robbery are also taking place in the archaeological tombs in the eastern side of Manbij," he said. Hammoud said the diggings are a criminal act and a violation of the Syrian sovereignty. His department, he said, is contacting international organizations to condemn the looting of Syria's cultural heritage.
The US has been conducting airstrikes against what it calls Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

Monday, 10 December 2018

UK Artefact Hunting: Most of it Already Robbed Out

Note this is a site under permanent grassland, most likely unploughed in recent times, yet even here some oik has hoiked as many of the diagnostic and other artefacts out that they take a fancy to. And where are they (and any  records they made) now?:
PeaceHavens published 19 mar 2011
Metal detector hints. Even in the wilderness I am walking in the footsteps of some detectorist who has been there before me ... but with a bit of lateral thinking I find a new site that they missed ... nothing spectacular ... but new sites are still out there ... but it ain't easy.
"Someone's had a dig virtually everywhere" (Yorkshire dales 2011). So, in fact, if we were to STOP metal detecting tomorrow and concentrated on getting ll those old dug-up finds and their findspot details documented, we'd still be getting a lot of information about new sites, just the ones that have been dug-over by previous detectorists and not (yet) reported. The Ixelles Six (on pp. 323-34 of their recent joint article) claim that this hoiking on sites like this and the non-reporting of the material and information from them is "not cultural damage" because all that knowledge is not lost, it is just zero-gained, it's not been retrieved from them yet. The FLO says (The Foucault of Baz Thugwit?)  that the 'liminal potential' of these data has yet to be actively utilised through the application of 'the complex of relationships that comprise the 'discursive formation' of Archaeology'. The FLO says that non-recording is not a final denial. Let's see. Time to put those words to the test. Responsible detectorists - all of you - let's get the unreported material on record before any of you dig up and pocket any more!

Is the Crown Estate now Supporting Artefact Hunting?

Searching history....for the Crown Estate.


Sunday, 9 December 2018

The Archaeological Values of the PAS Database (VI): Hauntings, Heads on Poles, Imaginary Data and Clipping, Reporting Archaeological Artefacts PAS-Style

The PAS dumbdown of archaeological outreach continues on the British social media. Several FLOs seem to feel that Brits really need to know the biographies, family relationships and Daily Mail style showbiz tidbits about those fascinating Roman emperors in far-off PASt-celebrity land. There is no end to this superficial show-and-tell using ancient coins to illustrate their gossippy potted histories. Here is one of them from up North:
"A rather haunting portrait of Western usurper Emperor Eugenius on this silver siliqua He ruled for just 2 years, AD392-4, until defeat in battle and execution led to his decapitated head being displayed in the camp of victorius Eastern Emperor Theodosius I" PAS record: DUR-4D6A9E
Yup, just the gory bits folks. Of course the FLO will claim that Twitter character limitations did not allow him to mention the more important features of his reign, as he and the Battle of the Frigidus were not without significance in the wider picture of things. But that is not what the FLO dumbdown version gives you - not even a wikipedia link. Just the 'bloody severed head on a stick' version of the history of Theodosian times.

The first question is why? Why does Joe Bloggs the Twitterer need a picture of 'the head-not-yet-on-a-stick on this coin I've got' to make a tweet to say, 'hey there was this emperor, right and he's really cool, but in the end he got his head cut off and there was blood everywhere'? Why is the coin there? Is it just so you can see what he 'looked like'? Why is this portrait said by the archaeologist to be "haunting"? Is the FLO Twitterer doing this because "I've got a computer full of pictures of other people's artefacts, what can I say about them? I know, a silver coin, the proles will like that", is that it? What is this actually about?

But to come back to that PAS record, here's a thing:
A clipped and worn silver siliqua of Eugenius AD 392-394, Reece period 21. The obverse shows a diademed and draped bust of Eugenius facing right. [DN EVGENI]VS P[F AVG] The reverse shows Roma seated on a cuirass, facing left, holding Victory on a globe and a reversed spear. [VIRTVS RO]MA[NORVM]. RIC IX, 106d: RSC 14b possibly from the Trier mint. Thickness: 1.11mm Weight: 0.7g Diameter: 13.04mm
Then further down we get a duplication of much of the same information, labelled 'coin data (numismatics)' [sic - the reason for that qualifier is unclear] - except there the place of minting becomes 'probably' Trier (not possibly), we get the information that the spear (if we could only see that since both ends are missing on the discssed object) is 'reversed', the issue is stylistically a regular issue (though that's a bit of an odd term in the case of a usurper), the die axis is 12 o'clock and the 'Degree of wear' is 'worn: fine'. And in the section 'Coin references', the reader is told ' No coin references available'. Translated that means, 'I cannot be bothered to explain to you proles why instead of writing in longhand in a public database so you understand, I use the abbreviations above "RIC IX, 106d: RSC 14b", and if you don't know what that means, it means you are unworthy to know, hoi polloi, eff off'. That's how it reads to me (even though I know what those abbreviations mean).

 I'd like to go back to this description of an archaeological find, and look at it as such. Look at the photo. Where do you see a cuirass? Despite what the description says, the guy on the coin in front of us has a neck, but no cuirass. His bust (which we cannot see) is 'draped'. What an odd description of what we see on that coin. What's he 'draped' with? an old curtain, a towel, bedsheet, or flowers? Or is he draped over an imaginary chaise-longue in his imaginary cuirass? An odd verb to use in any context (I presume its supposed to refer to a military cloak or regal stole but these are worn, not draped) - but especially so as no 'drapes' are visible on the object being described. What we have here is a description, not of the object in front of the recorder but an imagined idealised type. This is a coin catalogue entry (in fact the missing parts of the inscription are probably copied from one) rather that an objective record of what the observer can actually see - this is not preservation of that object by record. So what is the point?

The issue becomes more annoying when it comes to the one place in that record where the actual object in hand differs from the idealised iconographic 'coin-as-it-should be' that the recorder has written about. One word, in the description. 'Clipped'. From the photo one can see this, there seem from face-on to have been six cuts, five straight and one smoothly curved. That's what it looks like, but only the recorder who had the coin in his hand can confirm, and document, that. The corners between the straight cuts are rounded. Is this due to wear, or were they filed down, or both? The 'wear' the recorder notes in passing, did it happen all before, both before and after or all after the clipping of the coin? We cannot tell from his photos, but a careful examination of the edges of this coin would probably have revealed this, which is again important information. Again, the recorder should be looking at the tool marks and recording the full biography of this, specific, object - the one in their hand. That's what a description of an archaeological object is, an actual description not an imagined idealistic picture like Inigo Jones' rectangular Stonhenge, becase 'everybody knows' Roman temples were not (generlly) circular.

Numismatists, not karaoke ones, have been discussing this clipping, how when and why this was done. Here is one piece in the puzzle, where an archaeologist had the coin in their hands, and failed to properly observe and record this phenomenon. This means that this object fails to supply the information about this aspect of its use - but this is not because that evidence is missing, but because the recorder did not look, observe, and document it. This coin is now in some unknown private collection - divorced from the fact that it was found (somewhere) in assocition with material that we will never know about in Richmondshire in North Yorkshire. Heap-of-coins-on-a-table numismatics, based on the myriad decontextualised items they use for their tabletop studies, might say something about clipping of Theodosian siliquae but without recording of items like this in their geographical and archaeological context, no progress will be made in knowing the contexts of this activity. A wasted opportunity by the Durham FLO and his team to make a contribution to the knowledge of this phenomenon. This is by no means an isolated case, the PAS database is full of skimpy descriptions where the opportunity was not taken to look at an object more carefully before handing it over to private collectors.

And in the PAS dstabase, can anyone show me the kind of tool that was used to make those cut marks? Nah, or course not because collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record is about kings and battles, named groups, and rusty old iron tools are just not collectable. Do a search for Roman Iron Tool on the PAS database and see how many search results you get out of nearly a million and a half collected artefacts. About as many as you'll find offered by most antiquities dealers. That's what trying to 'do archaeology' through the medium of harvesting information from Collectio-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record gets you. Nothing.

I queried the dumbdown presentation of this coin (its often coins, archaeologists in the PAS seem to spend a lot of time fondling coins) writing:
But volunteer"PAS5970ADF70017BD's"description is a copied and pasted version of the cataloge entry for the type, not actually a detailed description of the current form of that particular object you (plural) are 'recording' before it disappears again into private hands. 'Draped'?
I got the reply
It's a standard coin record. This is how those coin people like them. You'll find most will be similar.
but of course the PAS records are not made only for use by one class of people, an elite that dictates what the rest of us cn have and not have. They are supposed to be a public medium for archaeological outreach and archaeological data gathering, not yet another resource for coin fondlers like Wildwinds, OCRE, Coinproject and all the rest. Coins are archaeologicl artefacts and should be treated by an archaeological organization like PAS as such. The fact that other FLOs are doing the same as we see here is really no comfort. There are 660,948 coins on the PAS database (about half the database!) . If it is true as the FLO says that 'most' are the same kind of description of an idealised imaginary 'type' ('how those coin people like them'), rather than a truthful objective description of the actual piece of metal in front of the observer, that means that potentilly a large part of teh PAS database contains imaginary 'data'. That's food for thought. Rather more than what happened to Eugenius's head.

Never mind the Bollocks, What Happened in Skeeby in 394?

Trier Virtus coin of Eugenius (Wildwinds)
A PAS FLO deems it fit to fob off his public audience with tales of celebrity life in distant Vienne 1090 km to the southeast in his show-and-tell of an archaeological find from a charming place called Skeeby in Yorkshire. I think what the aim of (real) archaeology is instead to tell about the lives of the people in the past community living in that region, around the bloke that carried that coin around on his person at the time the emperors were battling each other and (if we are to believe the tales), the elements on the river Frigidus,* ten years after the earlier bid for power of Magnus Maximus.

We all know the book history, the FLO can use his scissors and paste to put the coin in the context of kings and battles histories. But the objects dug out of the archaeological record are far more than trophy items that can be used to illustrate an external history. They tell their own story, through the material evidence that derivs from their presence, use, reuse and deposition as part of cultural processes. It is the task of archaeological methodology to read that evidence to interpret the material correlates of those past behaviours. That is what archaeology is. 'Artefact hunting' cannot do that.

The world of the man who had that coin in the 390s was not the book-history that the FLO sees. Whever he was, he may have no knowledge of who currently was emperor in Vienne, or Milan, Rome or anywhere else.  He probably had no concept of where the Frigidus river was, even if somebody had told him that 'his' emperor had lost a battle there and was soon to be replaced by a ten-year old boy who'd nominally be in charge of Britain and its interests for a while. But then, did he know that, did he feel the need to know that? The Daily Mail 'celebrity interest' and a feeling of wider-than-local identity are features of our own times. At some stage that coin crossed the La Manche channel and arrived in northern England. How long did it circulate there and how, before it was dropped? At some stage that coin was clipped, somewhere. Who had done that and what did they do with the silver clippings? It was worn and clipped, but nobody was much bothered by the fact they could not read the inscription. When the coin was finally lost in northern Britannia, how had the lives of the Skeeby community changed since the times when it was minted? What was happening there, precisely there in this formative period?

Archaeology - when properly done - could tell us.

Metal detecting cannot, it only destroys the archaeological assemblages that are our only source of information. Why does the PAS FLO not tell that side of the story?

* the Vipava Valley in Slovenia, a pass between the Friulian lowland and central Slovenia.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

The Great Damascus Antiquities Bust?

Two days ago, there was a lot of Internet traffic about a reported major new discovery with regards to antiquities trafficking in Syria. These reports came from the leaders and media of the Syrian opposition, and they stated that a government raid had discovered 'two metric tons of antiquities' in a house in the Mezzeh 86 neighborhood of Damascus belonging to Brigadier General Suhail al-Hassan, the commander of the Syrian Army’s elite Tiger Force unit. Several archaeobloggers helped disseminate this information, but I decided not to (despite the claims of those this blog discomforts and who have no other arguments, I do not deliberately peddle "fake news"). I held off because this news was unconfirmed and aroused my suspicions. Now it seems that I was correct to do so. Christopher Jones (Department of History - Columbia University NY) considers on his "Gates of Nineveh" blog  (8th December 2018) this "Great Great Damascus Antiquities Bust?" and concludes that the reports were a propaganda gambit. In his text he details the role of militias in today's Syria and says that 'the story remains interesting for what it can reveal about the inner workings of the Syrian regime and the role played by archaeological artifacts in the war in Syria'. He sees this report as an attempt to discredit Suhail al-Hassan by his rivals
Due to his popularity, in order to take him down, his rivals must first take down his reputation. Allegations of criminal activity are a good way to do that. Allegations that he is profiting from the destruction of the ancient past while Bashar al-Assad has presented himself as fighting to preserve civilization against the forces of barbarism are even better. The fact that many members of the regime are likely profiting from the same sorts of enterprises is irrelevant – those who survive will cover it up while those for whom the knives are out will have their misdeeds exposed.
Jones states the fact of which we are all aware, that it is 'entirely likely that senior members of the Assad regime are trafficking in antiquities as well as weapons and oil'.
Many sites in regime-held territory, most famously the site of Apamea, have been looted. A great deal of antiquities trafficking takes place through Lebanon, which almost entirely borders territory held by Assad loyalists for most of the war.
He points out that even though the civil war in Syria is becoming less newsworthy as it reduces in scope and intensity, the militias remain a problem and a cause of conflict between the old and new guard in Syrian society as individual militia leaders struggle to retain influence 
The trafficking in antiquities and other looted property may well be one part of these power struggles. Financially, the impact of antiquities will be small, but as a propaganda weapon it may have an effect many times greater.
I think though that the 'small' financial impact of any antiquities smmuggled out of Syria today may have, they are still conflict antiquities and should not be being bought by any 'responsible collectors'.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Losing the 'Idea of Archaeology' II: The Foucault of Baz Thugwit?

George I shilling 1723 
with a story (Chards)
Yesterday, I commented on the manner in which an employee of the PAS was, instead of using archaeological finds as archaeological evidence, narrativising one of them (a misidentified George I shilling) as he would if he were a coin collector. The loose coin was used to illustrate history rather than as an independent piece of evidence from its own physical context and associations (undocumented it seems). In his use of the coin, the FLO was duplicating and reinforcing the collectors's treatment of archaeological artefacts as a vehicle for the emotional experience of holding 'a piece of the past in your hands' - making something that for those 'challenged by formal education' is an abstract concept tangible, graspable. In this, the whole notion of how we use archaeological data is lost, and I think this should be a matter of concern and discussion.

I likened this approach (relating trophy items from the past to a 'kings and battles' scenario) to the concept - coined years ago by R.G. Collingwood - of 'scissors and paste history', which is what this is. This is what the FLO was doing with that artefact (and habitually does with others in his recent social media outreach, such as here last night). As such, I think this is part of the phenomenon of  how we as archaeologists currently go about projecting archaeological values to the public, and that is a topic I think needs constant review and should be the topic of wider and more intense discussion.

The FLO in question merely saw this as the opportiunity to continue the irrational vendetta he has against this blog and, it seems, this blogger. So instead of talking bout public archaeological outreach he first tries an ad hominem, saying that my post is the product of:
...or 'archaeologist' with a processual 1970 mindset uses Culture History to accuse PAS/FLO of Antiquarianism....
(see the update to my earlier post for my brief discussion of that attempt to brush aside the question). He seems to think that a habit identified by a historian seventy years ago will have ceased to be relevant today (sadly people are still writing in the way Collingwood noted). What is more interesting, however, is the long twitter development of that attempt to insultingly label me as some kind of conceptul dinosaur, where the Durham FLO apparently tries to establish his own credentials as a 'post-processualist' by quoting 1960s Foucault (!) and then adding his own FLO mumbo-jumbo. This is quite interesting as a specimen of text where a PAS attempts to rationalise what they do in collaboration with artefact hunters. Such texts are in fact rare in the literature, so it is worth attention.

This is what he wrote, together with a chunk screenprinted from Chapter 3 of an English translation of Foucault's 'Archaeology (sic) of knowledge'  (p. 49 here talking of the formation of objects of knowledge).This is compiled verbatim from four Friday evening tweets on (here, here , here and here) - punctuation as in the original, I have only added an inline link to Deckers et al:
love this bit of the 'archaeology of knowledge' particularly: [The object] "... does not pre-exist itself..." etc., Strikes me that this can be contextualised within the 'zero-gain'/cultural damage arguments of Deckers, Lewis et al in that it is only by applying to these liminal objects, and understanding them through the prism of, the complex of relationships that comprise the 'discursive formation' of Archaeology (of which PAS is in this sense a facilitatory element): 'zero-gain' is thus a potentiality of persistant liminality; cultural damage occurring only through cognisant dispossession of objects of their physical context, and thus consequent failure to become a discursive component or archaeological 'find' Speaking very personally, I'm not sure i completely concur, as while failure to report to the PAS, to enable that discursive transition, may not always be an abrogation it is arguably at least, a derogation of that liminal potentiality
Now I sincerly doubt (a) that the FLO would get anywhere at all speaking to the average member of the British public about archaeology (and non-recording) in such an utterly uncommunicative way, and (b) that the FLO actually believes what he himself wrote here. I  (c) would also question whether he has actually understood Foucault at all (which to save space here, I'll not go into in any detail as it is marginal to the question the FLO raised about Deckers et al.).

It should however be noted that the Durham FLO, Benjamin Westwood, confusingly conflates above the philosophical concept of 'object of knowledge' (used throughout Foucault's work of this period using clinical psychology as an example) with the physical things the FLO himself works with ('objects'). So it is either a play with words or just complete confusion that leads him to use the quote from chapter three as an excuse for not seeing collection-driven exploitation of the archeological record as a destructive activity.

Westwood's approach (like that of many of the FLOs as well as supporters of the private collection of archaeological artefacts like postage stamps) is 'object centred' [which I term 'antiquitism']. But the whole point is the 'object of knowledge' for archaeology - as in clinical psychology - is not merely the description of the symptoms, but the attempt to describe the underlying causes. The coin is a symptom, and not a past process in itself.

And it is indeed true in archaeology (as in clinical psychology) that the object of knowledge "does not pre-exist itself..." and is constructed - but the artefacts which are part of the basis of the evidence used to create a picture of that object do, of course. In the case of the loose collectables that have been hoiked by a collector from the archaeological record, by the time they reach their personal artefact stash, they have lost their ability to be part of the evidence on the basis of which that object [of knowledge] can be attained. That is the problem of artefact hunting that is discussed, among other places, in this blog.

To label a loose random artefact hoiked from the patterning of its physical asocitions in the archaeological record a 'liminal object of knowledge' seems to me to be a perverse twisting by the FLO, attempting to rationalise his (own and institutional) partnership with exploitive and destructive collectors, of the nature of the object of knowledge that archaeological methodology strives for. Getting artefacts themselves out of the ground may be the rationale in the 'let's see wot I kin find today'  ideology of the artefact hunt, but the goal of archaeoological use of the record is - always, surely - somethng else.

The Ixelles Six/Helsinki Gang ('Deckers, Lewis et al') argued that artefact hunting that does not report what has been taken is not 'cultural damage' as the rest of us think (and indeed was the rationale for setting up a PAS in the first place) but that it is merely 'zero-gain' (sic). They do not see it as a depletion of the archaeological record. I find that in itself pretty inexplicable. To take a simple pattern (like this closed deposit - right) , I do not think (would hope) there is not anyone reading this blog that is unaware of the information value at many levels of the proper documentation of the context of deposition of the individual artefacts in that deposit and in relation to other phenomena in that deposit. That is archaeological evidence and its methodological dissection, observation and recording is what differentiates archaeology from mere relic-hunting. On the left of the figure is the deposit, on the right the two boxes show what happens to it in Collection-Driven Exploitation. First the actual deposit is damaged by detectorist Baz Thugwit's removal and pocketing of those artefacts to which he took a fancy for his collection. The deposit is riddled by holes (which may or may not be entirely visible upon any excavatione artefacts) and what is left behind is not only depleted of random pieces of associated evidence, but also the deposit itself is damaged by this clumsy disturbance. This makes it impossible to read - the object of knowledge cannot be attained. But over in Baz's home is an (unlabelled) box of 'stuff'.  That's the box on the far left. There's a bit of skull (he calls it "skully the skelly" when he pulls it out of its box with a flourish to impress his mates and scare the little kids he invites upstairs to see it. There are some copper alloy finds (top row). But most detectorists have their machines set to filter out iron signals, and many when they find the brownish lumps of corroded crud throw them into the hedge and do not take them home even, so some of the metal objects that were in that context (bottom row) may not be in Baz's box. Metal detectors detect metal, and not bone, stone or glass (two middle rows). If Baz had grubbed around a bit he might have hoiked out some, or more of the glass beads, the 'cool' bone/antler comb or whatever.

I think however that you get the picture, Baz's box tells us very little about the  context of deposition (obliterated by the nature of the context of discovery) of that archaeological assemblage, and the actual remains of that archaeological assemblage are rendered illegible. (I've used a grave here as a readily understandable example to make the point, but the same goes for removing randonm finds from a patterned surface scatter.) I do not see that as in any way 'zero gain', I see that as wanton destruction, just the same as if someone had cut up a thousand-year old illuminated manuscript ('boring prayers') for the sake of the coloured pictures in some of the initials to display on the wall. Destruction, and nothing else. To be frank, I really cannot see how one could convince oneself that from the point of view of the object of knowledge implicit in 'doing archaeology' that it can honestly be seen as anything else.

That is why I would characterise the FLO's attempt to dismiss these concerns as largely mumbo-jumbo that misses the point (apart from the fact that as I noted above, he misconstrues what was meant in the source text he uses by the word 'object'). Here he attempts to 'foucaultise' the position of Deckers et al. on 'zero-gain':
"it is only by applying to these liminal objects , and understanding them through the prism of, the complex of relationships that comprise the 'discursive formation' of Archaeology (of which PAS is in this sense a facilitatory element): 'zero-gain' is thus a potentiality of persistant liminality; cultural damage occurring only through cognisant dispossession of objects of their physical context, and thus consequent failure to become a discursive component or archaeological 'find'[.]"
I would question whether the object-focussed approach of the PAS as it exists today actually is anywhere near a 'facilitatory element' that brings its audience (the public) to an understanding of even the basic elements of archaeological discourse (especially if it is going to express itself in such wording as Westwood uses above). The cultural damage caused by artefact hunting (Collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record) is not (pace Deckers et al and now FLO Westwood) merely the 'potentiality of persistant liminality' (ie, in normal language, non-recording), but precisely in the very cognisance of not only the 'dispossession of objects of their physical context' and their 'consequent failure to become a discursive component or archaeological 'find'. Above all, the problem with what the rest of the world (both archaeologists and the public) has no qualms calling looting (and its cognate terms such as 'Raubgrabung') is that it  is the deliberate (cognisant if you like) 'dispossession of the physical context of its integrity, and some of its elements' - and whether or not the physical objects (finds) resulting from that destruction are in some sketchy database divorced from unobserved information about their original physical context, they consequently have been deliberately prevented from being any kind of 'a discursive component' in any but the most simplistic archaeological analysis of the deposit and site they came from.

Mr Westwood then goes on, he says, to disagree with the position of Deckers et al.
while failure to report to the PAS, to enable that discursive transition, may not always be an abrogation it is arguably at least, a derogation of that liminal potentiality
But in fact, it seems to me that - using different words - Mr Westwood is saying more or less the same as the Ixelles Six did. So I really do not know how he thinks he does not 'completely concur', when his version is the same as theirs. But anyway, let us turn to what he says, he claims that pocketing of random collectable artefacts by artefact hunters is somehow a derogation of 'their' 'liminal potentiality'. To do what? At a detecting club meeting ner Durham, Baz Thugwit shows his mates and the visiting FLO a tenth century strapend he found when detecting one weekend with his mate 'Scotty' near the latter's distant island home a few weeks earlier. It was once in the place marked '10' on the figure above, we have a location accurate to a metre square  ('X marks the spot'). I'd like to know the FLO's view on what archaeological 'potentiality' that loose find has. Maybe Mr Westwood will take up the archaeological discourse he's started and now finish taking us through how that 'liminal potentiality' of the little piece of corroded metal proffered in Baz's outstretched hand can now be in real archaeological terms. Can he?

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