Monday, 28 November 2011

So, How Much Raised for "Heroes"?

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Some while ago I was discussing here the Bishop's Burton Commercial Artefact Hunting Rally (billed as a "charity" event) where a local MP himself admits he had "had words with" a conservation body on behalf of his pro-military metal detecting friends and made sure the artefact grabfest would go ahead. I am reminded of it because I see from my tracking software tonight that somebody from the House of Commons has been searching this blog for comments on this rally, perhaps Mr Stuart himself, but I REALLY hope its a researcher for a political enemy of his.

According to an article in the village newsletter, apparently written by the landowner, the artefact hunters are described as spreading out across the historical landscape "like ants":
"The attendance was overwhelming [...] in total we had 462 detectors attend the
rally over the three days [...] and with good coverage from BBC Look North, Radio Humberside, ITV and various newspapers we had enthusiasts arriving all weekend".
So, what was taken by these so-called "unsung heroes of the British heritage" (metal detectorists)? How many finds were reported, and how many finds were taken and not reported, and how many archaeological artefacts were dug up but discarded? There are no finds at all listed on the Portable Antiquities Database page here as from this rally. What we are told however is:
Roman artifacts (sic) were unearthed [on the first day] including brooch pins and coins spanning the reign of several Roman emperors. The finding of a Bronze Age coin dating 250 B.C.containing a rare combination of precious metals, ensured the rally got off to a great start. There was a good combination of nice, and unusual, „finds „ flowing back to camp for identification by the British Museum. Of particular excitement for all the archaeologists were a series of Bronze Age artifacts (sic) including a large piece of spearhead dated 1000 B.C., a piece of axe head dated 1800 B.C. and a collection of casting ingots used in production processes that denote the area was of importance and would have been the location for a sizeable well populated settlement [...] All artifacts (sic) were photographed and recorded by the British Museum and will be available to see over the coming months at www.finds.org, go to database, rallies, Burton rally".
Well, the artefacts will not, they are now scattered in a multitude of private personal collections all over the country or on eBay. It is not very nice to see that the landowner was not being kept informed just what was being removed from his property, a "Bronze Age coin" is clearly not what was found.

Apart from how much was made by selling the finds (and photos of the finds), how much money was raised and how much of it went to the landowner, how much the organizers and how much to the "heroes"? Well, the newsletter tells us that at the expense of a hole in the archaeological record, "After all reckoning the final sum stands at a staggering £21,372.00" [raised for charity], that's 46 quid from each detectorist attending.

Source: Guy Ellerington, [in:] 'Bishop Burton News', November 2011

Vignette: What "heroes" do in your name, UK metal detectorists trash the archaeological record in theirs.

1 comment:

George Pugh said...

It didn't take me long to find this.

http://www.bishopburton.org.uk/joomla_bb/attachments/article/499/2011%20%20November%20Newsletter%20.pdf

Hope it proves useful.

 
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