Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Slick Weasel Words?

Over on the Ancient Artefacts Forum, there has been a brief exchange after Dave Welsh cross posted there a text about the ACCG Baltimore Coin Stunt court case. Member Adrian White quite correctly comments:
What's the difference between a "non profit advocacy group" (the ACCG) and "behind the scenes" lobbyists. Answer nothing. If the ACCG is not a lobbying group I don't know what is. Despite all the sophistries in your post it comes down to this: ancient coin dealers want to go on making money from the destruction of archaeological sites and don't give a crap about preserving such sites. Despite all their blather about educating people and publishing papers, the bottom line for them is always profit. People on this list can see behind the posturing and slick weasel words and see the truth: raw self interest.
Welsh replies indignantly that most of what the ACCG does is not lobbying, and it is not a "behind the scenes" lobbying organization, that it is "the AIA and other archaeologically oriented lobbying organizations" who are allegedly using such techniques "in order to make private collecting of antiquities impossible" (sic). He says that it is "an out and out falsehood" to suggest that ancient coin dealers do not care what sites are destroyed to provide the goods they sell no-questions-asked [well, selling the products of looting alongside other coins without attempting to distinguish them does not seem much like "caring" to me]. Welsh insists there is no sophistry in his writing, and adds:
As for "slick weasel words," terminology such as "dugup ancient coins," "decontextualized archaeological material" and a host of other loaded deceptive language constantly being used by a certain archaeologist is definitely worthy of mention.
Loaded and deceptive? Thank goodness he does not name that archaeologist.

I asked Welsh on-list what term he would prefer for ancient coins which have been removed from the soil, for example by metal detecting? I call them "dugup ancient coins", I wonder what what term he would use that would not be "loaded and deceptive"?

By the way, the noun "dugup" I got from the Uncleaned COINS discussion group. "Ancient coins" seems quite self-explanatory.

I also asked Welsh on-list what term he would prefer for ancient artefacts (such as ancient coins) which have been removed from their context in the soil without record, for example by metal detecting? I call them "decontextualised archaeological material", I wonder what term he would use that would not be "loaded and deceptive"?

By the way, the adjective "decontextualised" came from the proceedings of a NUMISMATIC congress that was being discussed last year. I offered to give Welsh the reference so he could get it from a library. "Archaeological material" seems to me to be quite self explanatory.

Photo: Weasel (Graham Carey)

1 comment:

Marcus Preen said...

I'm confused, not for the first time. Do these dealers mostly sell "not-dug-up ancient coins still attached to their context"? If so, why don't they just say so at the top of their websites? Seems a pretty obvious solution to me.

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