Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Hosni Mubarak


Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has died, according to state TV. Mubarak was president of Egypt from 1981 to 2011, when he was ousted following mass protests against his rule.


Some Detectorists Expect to get Access and Taking Rights for Free


A comment on "Social media has destroyed the hobby hasn't it :("... Seen on a farming social media portal:

Note no mention of signing anything giving title to collectable finds.... 





UK Detectorist Entitlement



DIG THIS! Metal Detecting and History Group, a [Facebook] group for detectorists run by detectorists, with no hidden agendas and away from the wannabe detecting celebrities and YouTubers seeking detecting stardom.

Discussion on commercial artefact hunting rallies. Started by group administrator Iain Crozza (February 17 at 10:19 PM): "There seems to be an increase in "fly by night" - "get rich quick" merchants approaching land owners especially in Norfolk and Suffolk as well as nationwide [...] these large get rich quick digs [...] are going to totally ruin this hobby in the long run for both individuals and established genuine clubs". Reading the thread, you can see why. It seems that Britain's artefact hunters not only want the land for themselves and the organisations they themselves belong to, but they do not want landowners learning of the value of the material they take from the land. It seems that "proper metal detectorists" ("doing it for the love of the hobby") expect to get on the land for free, take away what they want for free, unless its a treasure item, in which case they recognise that they will have to share the proceeds of the sale (to the state) with the actual landowner.
Les Barratt [punctuation original] Our club lost a load of land 18 months ago as some prick [sic] got permision off [sic] one of our farmers and went back to him a couple of days latter [sic] with a gold coin and said if ime [sic] finding stuff like this whats that club not showing you. so the farmer kicked our club off the bloke that did this has done this to quite a few farms and got people kicked off so he can then move in and take people on ripping them off. it makes my blood boil.
Obviously, the landowner had their own suspicions about the honesty of the club. Another member seems a bit confused about whose land they are on, and the landowner's right to know the true value of the items removed by artefact hunters. So....
Kim Horigan I have returned to detecting after a break of 4 decades, I found it utterly shocking and offensive to see clubs offering farmers 100's of pounds or more to detect on their land even on local FB pages! What chance does a person have to get a permission now, back in the day it was a solitary hobby with no internet bragging! I'm not sure things have changed for the better...
'Shocking and offensive' for a property owner to get something of the value back of the objects they are allowing artefact hunters to remove from their property? Think of the entitlement hiding behind that comment for a moment (and referring to a landowner as merely "farmer"). And the problem for the Luddite obviously is this new-fangled technology:
Iain Crozza Kim Horigan you're totally right, I couldn't agree more! Social media has destroyed the hobby hasn't it [sic] [emoticon]

Fred Gibby establishes his authority by an appeal to seniority, a whacking big Union Jack and 'Brexit English':
Fred Gibby I have been doing this since 1979 ok first few years was only a bit here and a bit there... but since the mid 80s i have been fairly active and its only since this social media has come along that this hobbie [sic] has been turned into a money making machine.… i seen [sic] people start offering digs for x amount of money and giving the farmer even less than the x amount they Have took [sic] and withing [sic] months they have new machines new cars.. i use to go [sic] to some of these digs but once i found out they are conning the farmers i dont go... little club digs do me and most of the clubs i belong to give all the money to the farmer.. the sad thing is little clubs have had to put on digs just to keep its members because of these other digs and then that has a knock on affect [sic] and makes it even harder for the lone detectorist to get permission.
For free, of course. This is followed by Kim Horigan commenting on "just too many people now chasing a permission, flashing big money to farmers" and Iain Crozza agreeing and conservatively bemoaning change in the hobby: "its killing it mate isn't it. I reckon in 10 years the hobby will be non existant [sic] to individuals and genuine clubs". Stephen Reynolds agrees with Mr Crozza:
I'm out there a lot. Yes it's terrible. To be honest I dont come across club sites very often. Mainly group sites where sole detecting rights are secured through a wad of cash. Sometimes I've found individuals have secured the land in the same way. Cash! I've met lads who just go on where they want because they cant get permission anywhere. I've met people who concentrated on building sites near villages and had a spanner to open the fencing to gain access. Ive met grown men wanting to fight because you got a yes from the farmer on ' their permission'. And I've met people like me who have been doing it a long time and just want a day out. Going out and trying to get on as an individual is almost impossible. Being a bit stubborn though I dont give up easily..if ever! Thanks for the initial post. Good to know Its not just me!
So, just note what he's saying about the spanners (for unbolting fences), he has "met" men who just go where they want 'because they cant get permission anywhere'. They are artefact hunting illegally because they cannot get legal access. That's like not being able to afford to buy one, but wanting to drive one, so they steal my neighbour's Porsche. If Porsches were more readily available and access to them not a privilege, car theft would be down. And when Mr Reynolds has "met" a nighthawk, what does he do as "a responsible detectorist"  about it? The same as if he saw a bloke breaking into a neighbour's garage to nick the Porsche?
hat tip: Lynda Albertson ARCA

The Life of a Commercial Artefact Hunting Rally Organiser in the UK


Lynda Abertson of ARCA spotted this and thought the whole thread might interest PACHI's readers. Its a complaint against commercial artefact hunting rallies and the number of people organising them and taking part in them. This is a whole aspect of the current shape of the hobby (those 'citizen achaeologists') that the PAS and its supporters stubbornly refuse to talk about at length in a pretence that the hobby is still in its 1990s form:
Shaun McNamara You have been caught red handed Zoe, and not just by me. Pink Wellies Metal Detecting has become a byword for rip off digs, no amenities whatsoever, not even a toilet on a VERY hot early Autumn day. You and your little gang of helpers have been well and truly found out.
Oh, one piece of advice, if you are going to post up fake pictures of things SUPPOSEDLY found on your digs, it might be better if you didn’t loot (sic PMB) those pictures from places like Ebay, as these are easily traced back to source. Which is exactly what happened [emoticon] [emoticon] [another twenty emoticons]
To be honest, you are not even particularly good at being a rip off merchant, i suspected you were a shyster before i had even attended your shoddy event. Your whole modus operandi, your banter etc, it all clearly speaks of someone who is after a fast buck at the expense of others [just seven emoticons this time]
Please pass on my best wishes to ‘the dynamic duo’, those two clueless middle class tarts who you employ to pretend they have made finds on your digs. I might name and shame them on here a bit later, but the night is young, as it were... [emoticon], [emoticon], [emoticon]. Some of my own permissions are pretty barren, some have been battered for decades, but your best sites make the worst of my permissions seem positively productive. Perhaps i should thank you for, on some level, reinvigorating some of my crappier sites [emoticon]
I am surprised you had the neck to come on here and attempt to defend yourself, but i am very glad that you have, all very amusing because let’s face it, you lack the intelligence, charm and wit to have done anything other than further publicise your own shady practices [emoticon], [emoticon], [emoticon].
I await your next pithy rejoinder with glee... [emoticon], [emoticon], [emoticon].
Oh, i almost forgot... when you drove away from that dig in September, was there a slight whiff of pee pee in/on your car? Asking for a friend [emoticon], [emoticon],[another six assorted emoticons].
There is no doubt at all in my mind from the language used which way that individual voted in the Brexit referendum. There is a whole thread of this over there. The point of a commercial artefact hunting rally organiser pretending that exciting things were found on a site where they were not of course is to establish their reputation in the community for 'finding good land' and encouraging more people to pay up and come next time. But of course planting finds simply irresponsibly distorts the archaeological record. Having said that, in the whole thread there is not a single piece of documentation offered that said "Zoe" and her "middle class tarts" (sic) had claimed finds that Shane and his mates had in fact located on eBay, just a lot of emoticons, resentment and misogyny.

Note that Indignant Shaun is well aware that repeated artefact hunting makes an archaeological site or assemblage barren of collectable artefacts ("battered"). Yet, he sees nothing wrong with battering it, and other areas, more and more. Now there is "responsibility" and entitlement for you.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Dealer with Close Links with the Council for British Archaeology Sells Silver Artefact


Dealer 'denant'  (Den of Antiquity Int Ltd  - Simon Shipp, Cambridge CB25 9WJ United Kingdom ) flogging off a (one presumes, disclaimed - but why not say so?) Treasure item for GBP 1,250.00
ANGLO-SAXON SILVER HOOKED TAG WITH A QUADRUPED DESIGN AND NIELLO INLAY
Description:
Date: C. 10th century
Information: A fine example of a silver hooked tag with two pierced lobe attachment points, and depicting a quadruped to central panel with an interlaced ribbon design and niello inlay. Condition: Hook a little bent otherwise intact and of a good size with excellent detail. Size: 23mm x 28mm Please note:- Any questions regarding this object/s will be answered ASAP during office hours 09.00-17.00 GMT Monday to Friday, excluding national holidays/bank holidays. Thank you.
How about just putting the information there upfront, without anyone having to ask a dealer openly flogging off such a thing? Where was it found? When? What was its Treasure Case number and when was it disclaimed? What is its number in PAS database, I could not find it mentioned there. It also says in the sales offer:
Items offered by denant (Den of Antiquity Int Ltd) are unconditionally guaranteed to be authentic. Certificate of Authenticity, Invoice upon request. Antiquities Dealers Association and British Numismatics Trade Association member and as such abide by their code of conduct. The BNTA has become an effective force in the fight against forgery, theft and other criminal activities, thus establishing a benchmark for the highest ethical standards in the domestic coin trade. Members receive early warning notices of counterfeit coins and stolen property. ADA’s Code of Conduct binds its members to ensure that to the best of their knowledge and belief all objects sold are genuine and as described. The Association is a Corporate Member of the Museums Association, is represented on the executive of the British Art Market Federation and has close links with the Council for British Archaeology.
But as such, what assurance is conspicuously absent in the above? May well be authentic, but is that the only measure of legitimacy in the UK antiquities market?



Saturday, 22 February 2020

EBay.com: 200,000 Archaeological Artefacts on Sale in One Week in January


This weekend I am doing some stakhanovite editing of a text on the trade in North African lithics that is supposed to go in a volume on North African prehistory that I am collaborating in. The first draft of my text has to be shortened by half and has to have a new bit written at the beginning and end... I have just chucked this bit out and it took half a day to get the data together. It's not very satisfactory as a text anyway. The point is however pretty interesting.
The scale of the online commerce in antiquities [as a whole, not just the lithics PMB] is enormous, but it is difficult to count absolute numbers, because of the way different sellers list items using various terms and listing them in different sections of the larger websites. On eBay.com in the first week of January 2020 for example, the search engine reveals that in that week, there were a total of at least 196,936 archaeological artefacts on sale. This includes just over 72,000 antiquities (and ‘antiquities’) in the section of the portal specifically dedicated to antiquities (over 23,000 of them were of metal). There were about three hundred North African stone artefacts listed here. In the numismatic section, there were 104,800 ancient and medieval coins on sale (excluding an additional several tens of thousand of examples from SE Asia and the Far East that I did not count). More artefacts and pseudo-artefacts can be found in the ‘collectables’ section (mainly under ‘cultures and ethnicities’). Here were found the bulk of the Native American lithic items (19,520) and several hundred North African stone artefacts. Another 616, mostly North African arrowheads were being sold in the ‘rocks and minerals’ section.
Among the antiquities, 3800 items were marketed as Palaeolithic and Neolithic objects, the bulk of which were stone tools from various sources in Europe, MENA and SE Asia. It seems that a substantial proportion of these were in fact not ancient artefacts (this is a general problem with the indiscriminate internet market of portable antiquities, neither buyers nor sellers can distinguish between authentic and fake – and for some sellers fakes are easier, and less risky in legal terms, to market). Together with the ‘collectables’ a total of 20,611 out of 192,750 portable antiquities (10.7 %) were lithic artefacts. While the bulk of this material comes from collecting in the USA and, though to a much lesser extent, Canada, the North African material forms a substantial portion of this group of items.
My paper was intended to be making the point that the discussion of artefact hunting and collecting (Collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record) should not by any means be restricted to metal detecting, and I was going to do this by investigating one bit of the trade in lithics. The original plan has had to be changed and the focus of the article will be shifted to the effects of this trade on the archaeological record (I'll try and use the rest elsewhere).

Note that the figure 193,975 refers to items being offered for sale at one time on only one of the several eBay portals (not including results from the various national ones). It also does not include other online selling plaes, catawiki, Faceboox, Sixbid etc etc. This trade is massive. 


Friday, 21 February 2020

András Riedlmayer and Serbian Nationalist War Crimes Against Culture


Mostar Bridge
András Riedlmayer, a bibliographer at Harvard’s Fine Arts Library, knows more about the destruction of that region’s cultural heritage during the Yugoslav Wars from 1991 to 2001 than almost anyone, and has helped set a precedent of prosecuting this kind of destruction as a war crime (Anna Burgess, 'Harvard librarian puts this war crime on the map', The Harvard Gazette February 21, 2020):
In 1992, when he read about the burning of the National Library, Riedlmayer knew it was an attack on more than physical objects. It was what he later testified to being “cultural heritage destruction”: intentional and unnecessary destruction of sites and records that act as a community’s collective memory. The crime comes from a desire to not only kill individuals who are part of an ethnic or religious group, Riedlmayer explained, but to erase their existence, “remove any evidence that they were ever there to begin with, and give them no reason to come back.” In the case of the Balkan region, cultural heritage destruction was part of attempted ethnic cleansing by the Serbian nationalist government led by Milosevic. The nationalists came to power amid destabilization in the former Yugoslavia and began targeting Bosnian Muslims, Kosovar Albanians, and other non-Serbs. They destroyed everything from ancient mosques to property records




 
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