Thursday, 15 July 2010

150k Reflections

Just the other day Peter Tompa noted that in his blog, "Cultural property Observer" started in April 2008 he had achieved a "milestone" in having "served" (sic) 50 000 readers since he installed his counter (?July 2008). Well, that's nice to know, congratulations Peter.

This Portable Antiquities Collecting and Heritage Issues blog was started several months after lawyer Tompa's. I was amused to see that since we are counting, the hit-counter of this blog passed a similar milestone sometime last night, with one hundred and fifty-something thousand hits. In fact a more computer savvy colleague tells me that the statistics of traffic in general (not just hits but "followers" and all the other trappings) are far more favourable for the preservationist blogs (SAFE Corner, Looting Matters etc) than the coiney blogs.

This sort of attention is quite chastening really. It is odd to see from the map in the sidebar that somebody in Bolivia (say) has looked in on a text I wrote months ago about metal detecting in Barchester or wherever. I wonder what people in different legal, social, political and cultural environments, make of what I write.

This seems a good time to recapitulate what this blog is about. It seems from what I see written about it elsewhere, there are several misapprehensions about it in the collecting world.

Despite what is commonly imputed to me by the no-questions-asked collectors of antiquities, this blog was never intended as any kind of "academic resource". Its just my blog on a particular issue (one about which I am concerned - some say obsessed) and it's just me moaning about this and that I have come across, or thoughts I have had in the traffic jam or whatever. I use it to thrash out some ideas, find ways of formulating my thoughts, exploring various angles, and when I get the chance addressing the criticisms and counter-arguments of the various groups whose positions on various portable antiquities collecting issues I disagree. There has, inevitably, been an evolution of some ideas in the course of this scribbling in the face of critical comment. Some of it can be seen on these pages.

I used to do a lot of this on forums, but - while a few appreciated hearing an alternative point of view - that was not everyone's cup of tea, and some artefact hunters and collectors got quite upset about it. Here I have my own little corner of the internet, take it or leave it, not in anyone's face. Of course there are many collectors who do not even appreciate that either, they'd prefer me to shut up totally I guess.

Despite what I am often "advised" ("be nice to the collectors Paul"), neither am I on any kind of mission to "convert" collectors. (I personally feel many of them are beyond redeption anyway, many prove to be completely unreasoning individuals who will not be convinced by reasoning and cajoling, other colleagues can waste their time on that tactic.) I am not speaking here to collectors, but about them.

Neither is this blog to be conceived as an attempt to present a fair and balanced appraisal of the antiquities trade as a whole or collecting, in which one might expect to find some of the usual claptrap about how "its not really a serious problem" or "some collectors are decent chaps misunderstood", still less "collecting can be jolly useful to the archaeologist". There are other places where you can find this nonsense, some of them are listed at the bottom of the sidebar. I personally do not believe a word of it, I've been engaged on-and-off in thinking and occasionally writing about artefact hunting/collecting issues since the mid 1970s (including a stint at the beginning when I was naive enough to think we can and should liaise and seek co-opperation). Since then, I have had ample opportunity to examine the consequences from a number of positions, and this has led me to my own personal view of artefact hunting and collecting which is what this blog can of course do nothing but to reflect.

So thanks to all that have looked in, thanks to all those that have commented on and off-blog about it. Thanks in particular to anyone who has come here and read what I write with an open mind and go away thinking that there is something here that needs to be addressed. Apologies for the typing errors.

Mind you (I'll point out before somebody else does), a mere 150 000 hits over two years is nothing much in internet terms, some you tube videos get that many in a day or two. The PAS website too, if we believe their statistics. If I had a blog on pot-noodles, or collecting bellybutton fluff (actually real examples) I expect they would get just as many 'hits'.


David Gill said...

Here are some details about subscribers for today:
Looting Matters: 253
CultureGrrl: 169
SafeCorner: 106
ARCA: 79
Illicit Cultural Property (Fincham): 79
Portable Antiquity Collecting (Barford): 66
The Cultural Property Observer (Tompa): 51
The Punching Bag: 44
Zahi Hawass: 18
Ancient Coin Collecting (Sayles): 18
Ancient Coins (Welsh): 8

I hope this gives some idea of the RSS feed contribution.

Best wishes

paul wigginton said...

whilst i agree generally with your reasoning and your principles, i must ask the question, why is archaeology only for the archi's?
surely history belongs to us all, and whomever finds this history, has an equal right to use it as they wish, within the law!
i cant help thinking that SOME archaeologists believe that only they have a right to access this history, because they have been to university, and have a degree !
whilst in reality, in this world there are thinkers and doers. some people excel at thinking ,and some people are more acept to 'doing'
thus we have theory and practise. my long winded comment is this, why are we striving to disassociate archi, from detectorist, when the end result is the same?
i agree that there are some unscrupulous DETECTORISTS, just as easily, there are some unscrupulous archis, and lets be honest here, the archis have it when it comes down to amounts of 'history' encountered.
my point is this, instead of bemoaning each other their existence, surely we should ally, and help each other in a common aim.
there is a way forward!

Paul Barford said...

"Looting Matters: 253"
Ah well, David, you are obviously in a class of your own.

I think though these figures well illustrate that in general there is more interest in efforts to combat the no-questions-asked market than those who attempt to bolster it. Which is of course how it should be.

Will we now see pleas from the marginal coineys on Moneta-L and AncientArtifacts etc to "subscribe to my blog to show your support"?

Paul Barford said...

Mr Wigginton, I do not think "archaeology" really is for the archaeologists. Archaeologists do it, but you can too. I suppose it depends what you mean by "doing archaeology".

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.