Thursday, 29 November 2012

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Corfe Cleaned Out?

On land next to the iconic Corfe Castle a certain metal detecting manufacturer has run annual rallies for many years, and as Heritage Action point out:
and they’ll be there again in 2013 despite some concerns they may have nearly cleaned it out
– “Finds were seriously reduced up there anyway this year because its had us on it for twelve years and finds dont get replaced”
No, finds do not get replaced, although the farmer did try to help the rally organizers out by ploughing deeper into the archaeological layers below the ploughsoil to bring up more finds on several occasions, with the museum archaeologists looking on (I remember writing about this on Britarch in the days when British archaeology forums discussed artefact hunting, today they hardly ever do). There was also a telly programme breathlessly reporting what purported to be a nice responsible “metal detecting survey” there a few years ago:
amidst lots of hoo-ha about how it was the future and highly beneficial for the viewers. But the cameras are long gone, the collector-boys have kept coming, again and again and again and it’s nearly all been cleaned out … "Archaeology for all", see?
Except now there's very little archaeology left for anyone else, it's all been used up. And where are all the finds taken away? Where is all the information about their distribution across the site, their associations? Some have been recorded, how representative of what has not is that?Anyway, that - for artefact hunters is not the point:
It's the fellowhip and hog roast that draws us out.
It's a shame though they cannot do the hogroast somewhere else and not as part of the stripping of an archaeological site of the collectable items.

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