Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Dozing Rip van Archaeol Will Ignore THIRD Letter?

Archaeologists are a dozy lot. Many can't be bothered to do this, most can't be bothered to raise a fuss about that. Heads down, peering intently down their postholes, some fondling the metal goodies brought to them by metal detectorists. Trying to get any dialogue about artefact hunting and collecting with any of them, in Britain at least, is very much like trying to talk to a brick wall. A brick wall with "Eff Off Trolz" scrawled on it by the Bloomsbury Boyz. Heritage Action however is not one to be put off by insolent silence and name-calling. So it is that they have once again girded their loins to try and arouse the sleeping slothful beast sprawled across what remains of the archaeological record. 

To: The Archaeology Forum
Dear Sirs,
Artefact Hunting using “deep” metal detectors
It is now eight months since we wrote to you pointing out that the Minelab GPX 5000 (cost, £4,500) had now been joined by the Blisstool LTC64 V3 (cost £558) in the deep seeking category with both being said to be capable of detecting small objects at a depth of 24 inches. Our concern was that depth plus affordability represented a major threat to archaeological deposits lying below plough level, one which the Code of Responsible Detecting doesn’t properly address. “Don’t dig below plough level” doesn’t reflect the new reality. The following forum postings made last month serve to show that the problem is no longer theoretical but current:
the performance of [the Blisstool] against price is amazing, looking for another machine at the moment so will be giving it a lot of consideration, it looks like Blisstool could revolutionise the hobby.”
“I have found the Bliss most outstanding for the deep searching for the remnants of scattered hoards and where a field has been very productive in the past but the plough is no longer getting down to where other coins and artifacts lie there undisturbed I have opened back up some of my long left sites where I had presumed I had cleaned out and left as worked out”
As we said in our previous letter, we should be glad to hear if you have any thoughts on this issue. It seems to us that not reacting while the situation worsens incrementally sale by sale is not a course that should be taken.
Regards, Nigel Swift for Heritage Action
Do British archaeologists have any "thoughts" on the matter of the erosion of the archaeological record by artefact hunting and collecting? I'll report back if any of them contributes anything to the discussion which Heritage action is trying to begin. Don't hold your breath.

Vignette: The Archaeosloth snores on, oblivious.

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