Thursday, 9 August 2012

Metal Detecting Under the Microscope: Robbie Tries Sarcasm

On reading the story of the latest TOT-ring on another blog, hapless tekkie "Robbie" attempts sarcasm:
Rare silver ring By golly it was dug over in England!!!! By a metal detectorist ??? Why didn’t those archaeologists dig it up?? After all–they know where and what every single thing is located in the ground !!! And if you don’t believe me you can ask them — they will tell you !!! ;o)
Well, will they? metal detectorists do not generally like to reveal their productive sites to other metal detectorists (that's why the PAS does not publish proper findspot location details on their database). But yes, more often than not the details of the location of archaeological sites are given in the public record, which is why the Bloxwich Research and Metal Detector Club boyz were able to target the fields near where the Hallaton Hoard (one of Britain's Secrete Treasures' top fifty nationally important findspots) had been found to see what other valuable finds they can hoik out.

Robbie  really does not get the idea of conservation, going by the way he applies it to the archaeological resource, he presumably thinks its about shooting all the rhinos' felling the rainforests and harpooning all the whales now. The conservation of the archaeological record does not consist of finding and hoiking out all the silver rings. I think there are a lot like Robbie in metal detecting.


Robbie said...

Can't shoot a rhino, fell a rainforest or harpoon a whale with a metal detector, or maybe you think we can??
You drive a car on roads, purchase items at stores, live in a house, studied at numerous colleges and universities that all were built over land. Land that could have possibly held thousands of artifacts now lost to progress. Are you going to complain to whoever built all those things for not conserving the land and items lost under all the modern made structures?? Of course you won't, you want to complain about someones hobby pastime, which doesn't harm anyone. That TOT ring was found with a metal detector. Why was it not found by an archaeologist?? Because they didn't know it was there and never would have located it unless they chanced upon it by accidentaly digging in the exact location. A historic artifact was located by someone else and the archaeologists can't stand it. Nobody gets the grant money for that dig.


Paul Barford said...

The point I am making, and you are (again) missing is that artefact hunting and its effects on the historical environment (the finite and fragile archaeological resource) is a conservation issue. One like any other where the need to preserve something for everyone's benefit is opposed to the selfish interests of an exploiter. Detectorists see it as an issue of "rights", I see it as one of responsibilities.

As for roads, libraries, factories and hospitals, I do not suppose you in Houston will have heard of an Environmental Impact Assessment incorporated in the planning and development process? that's what we do over here in Europe. Try it.

By the way the concern is not so much with "artifacts" as the archaeological record of which they are a part.

As for archaeologists "not knowing" there was a site where the ring was found, I think you do not understand what I wrote about targeting known sites. The ring was found near where an important accumulation of artefacts was recovered by previous archaeological fieldwork. It does not take a rocket scientist to work out that there will be other valuable finds at the same location for the same reasons.

Metal detectorists claim they can "read" the landscape and do research to find productive sites. You assume that they are the only ones who can do that. The difference is that a metal detectorist will do it to hoik things out to put in their own pocket or on eBay, while the aim of archaeological resource management (a concept invented in the states, no?) is to preserve the record in situ and attempt to manage any changes to it.

Robbie said...

I know archaeologist can read the landscape better than any metal detectorist, as they have studied just to do that. You are correct on that point.

As for the Hallaton Hoard area, if that area is so important as to preserving conservation records, why wasn't the whole area studied, and not just a small part of it? It is possible that if you study an acre of land there could be a very important find within feet outside of the researched area, and it could be missed??

That ring had been in the ground, unknown to anyone, for at least 1,000 years. Now since it was located it is important??? Where was it's archaeogical record of importance for the last 1,000 years??

What if that ring had been handed down from generation to generation from father to son over the past 2,000 years?? Even after all the years studying to be an archaeologist there are no perfect answers, only assumptions of what happened in the past for every single artifact of record.

At least the ring finder reported finding it, as he could have sold it on ebay !!!

Archaeologists were in that area studying, where was their concern for the rings preservation and for its historical resourse?? Only when a metal detectorist finds it on property with the landowners permission, does it become important.

If the land has been in use for 2,000 years and if just one time a farmer plows the field to plant crops, grass, dig a hole to plant a tree, that would taint any archaeology ground study because in the ground layers of dirt have been disturbed, overturned and not in the perspective cycle of layers of dirt.

There are some metal detector users that do sell some of their "archaeology" items for money, as do museums( to buy other collections), universities and even archaeologists themselves have been found to sell their collection.


Paul Barford said...

well, once again the problem seems to be your complete inability to understand what we mean by "conservation".

So, to take your main "point", the only way YOU can see of preserving the archaeological record is spending vast sums of money digging every scrap of information about the past up. If we only sample a site you see nothing wrong with the the artefact hunters coming along along, hoiking out the rest and claiming a reward for doing so?

What other of the world's finite resources do you think this model should be applied to? Whales and rhinos maybe, the ones not in zoos can be shot?

Is this what you understand by "sustainable management" where you come from?

Robbie, why not go and find a book on archaeology, instead of hanging around here asking dumb questions, which even when you get an answer, you are incapable of understanding? Go and find an archaeologist in Houston and ask him or her why there are any archaeological sites left.

This is a blog about metal detectorists, not FOR them, it seems to me your intent is now simply to annoy.

Robbie said...

Sorry to annoy you, so since I don't understand archaeology as it pertains in the U.K. and you don't understand metal detecting as it pertains in the U.S.A.... I won't bother you further.
Have a good day.


Paul Barford said...

I quite clearly related what I was saying to archaeology as it is done in the USA, it is more or less the same (at least when seen from the point of view of what you were trying to say). Well would it not be really good if there was a place - like a blog - run by somebody who has been doing it for several decades - like Mr Stout - where we could go and find out exactly what is what in US metal detecting? But when you go to one (for example Stout's Standards) all you get are posts about some derogatory and evasive posts about some "Warsaw Windbag" and Malamute crudities, and a Robbie lurking who obviously is out to pick a fight.

So before you go, tell my readers and I where there is a web-resource we can go to to learn about and learn from some real US detectorists who are "doing it right"? Can you give us some links to a forum, or a blog, something so we get a better impression than we've received from Mr Stout's derisive treatment of the issues raised? Thanks.

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