Monday, 24 December 2012

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: In the Forums (1) "Ploughed and Rolled"

The Ploughed and Rolled Metal Detecting Forum was set up in November 2008 and is run by a guy from the North Shields Near Newcastle upon Tyne called Ian Smith (apparently a hypnotherapist). It has the following sections:
General Discussion - Chit chat about anything.
Rallies and Events - " Keep up to date with what's on and what's been on".
Detectors - "A place to discuss the pro's and con's of your metal detector" (sic)
Archaeology - "All aspects of archaeology" (two posts)
Sites of interest - "Post links to sites relating to metal detecting and of historical interest here".
It is an interesting example of a series of texts which well illustrate the mindset of the artefact hunters with metal detectors to which current British "heritage management policy" (I use the term loosely) entrusts the exploration of tens of thousands of archaeoklogical sites. Here you can see what they talk about, what they think of the ethical issues connected with their hobby, and what they are in it for. The links section for example is of interest for the typically large range of dealers' sites given, where tekkies can flog off the history they find (one hopes it goes to the new owner at least with full accompanying documentation):
Archers Antiquities -
Baldwin's Auctions -
Charlie Brown -
Chris Rudd -
Coin News -
Dix Noonan Webb -
Lindner Publications -
Spink -
Time Line Originals -
At the top of the "general discussion" setting the tenor for the whole sorry collection is a post on "The Paul Barford Song" and a lot of "hello from me" posts, a few on buying new detectors "Mind is at piece (sic) now", and other suchlike stuff. There is a lot in this section, together with the detector and rally section that is revealing of the tekkie mindset. Of most interest to me however were the two posts in the "archaeology" section. One of them is ostensibly about "copyright".
Hi All, I found this interesting article on the Internet about the use of photographs that are taken at rallies. I recently had a discussion with a PAS officer that wanted to attend a rally that we were organising so tha[...] 
The "article that I found in the internet" is not sourced, though it is copied and pasted verbatim from my blog, without acknowledgement. I see Mr Smith is quite happy to use my material when it supports something he wants to say, but equally happy to host inane youtube videos poking fun at the source of his information.

The thread "Your Views About Archaeologists and  Metal Detecting" is an eye-opener.
My personal belief is that the overall attitude of Archaeologists is that they would like to see metal detecting banned. [...] (i personally don't want anything to do with them). [...] they should encourage at any opportunity help from the metal detecting community [...] ask them to clear and record the finds on the sites that are at risk on a yearly basis (clubs would be only to happy to do this).[...] I'm not saying that the location of finds shouldn't be recorded, i just don't trust government agencies with the information. "Just exactly what is it that archaeologists and the government offer metal detectorists?"[...] My opinion is that the powers to be are just bullies that pick on metal detectorists because we are an easy target [...] When i think of Archaeologists the words Hypocrisy, Snobbery and Jealousy come to mind..
and an interesting bit of libel from forum member spookmore1 (that is 'personal development advisor'  Norman Kennedy) July 13, 2011 4:34pm (spelling and punctuation as in original):
 Personally the only good Archaeologist is a one that is buried,i think these people should be taken off the job and sacked by the Govenment it would save million's and would get rid of this scum for good. Paul arsehole Barford should be taken to court for liable love to meet him in a field has anyone heard about him being court in the local mens toilets I wont go into details as it may not be true that is all i can say. Norman
So, if it "may not be true" why stick it up on a public forum Mr Kennedy where it has been for the past seventeen months on a thread with 2,346 views? In fact, where he got this pretended "news" from is an equally libellous anonymous blog:  "Paul Barford (sic) Antiquities and Heritage Issues", a metal detectorist's post "Paul Barford caught in public toilet" of Saturday, 6 August 2011, but the author of those pages made it all up. This is exactly what I have been talking about, there is no way any metal detectorist is ever going to address the questions asked about the effects of current policies about artefact hunting, but they are all perfectly happy to see this kind of "answer" from one of their number. Note the blog has 5,406 views, and not a single person has sent a comment disapproving of the impression its author is creating of metal detectorists. 

The "ploughed and rolled" site turns out to be of a commercial rally organizer, and has a "special thank you goes out to the farmers, without who's (sic) kind permission our digs would not be possible". What about the British public whose archaeological heritage is being added to these people's personal collections? 

We note that the Portable Antiquities Scheme does not figure on their "links" page and I could find no mention of it whatsoever (for example when welcoming new tekkies to the forum), let alkone a section of the forum devoted to co-operation with this scheme promoting "responsible detecting". 

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at the "Ploughed and Rolled" forum, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners"  of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy". 

Vignette: ploughed and rolled.

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