Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Discretion is the Better Part of ... Metal Detecting Blogging

Followers of this blog will know that one of the sources of stories I have used to show the other face of metal detecting (the one the PAS and its camp-followers will not tell you about), has been a blog published by a veteran tekkie from Texas. Among other things, I covered stories concerning hoovering of civil war sites by US metal detectorists, efforts (funded by Minelab) to get further relaxation of US legislation to the benefits of collectors, the question of the long-term future of personal artefact collections, as well as the criticism of archaeologists and archaeological bodies that reading those pages revealed. The blog was extremely revealing of the mindset of a certain group of the people involved in this hobby. Notable was the total lack of any sensible attempt to discuss the issues raised, simply dismissal, and increasingly personal attacks and harrassment aimed at a select group of critics of the hobby. It seems the hobby can only ever be expected to 'defend' itself by such means, not frank and open (informed) discussion of the issues. Policy-makers take note. Matters came to a head a few weeks ago when the blog owner decided for reasons best known to himself to disseminate online the home address of two such critics, and one of them soon after was the recipient of  threatening phone calls which were the subject of police intervention. It is good to see that the Stout "Standards" (I use the latter term loosely) is now, currently, private, invitation-only - apparently in an attempt to avoid any legal problems some of the material which I assume is still on it (about the CBA too) would cause the blog owner should the people concerned be wanting to take the matter up.   I would not imagine many truly responsible metal detectorists out there will be mourning its demise, in the form which had assumed over the past few months, it was doing their hobby no favours.

Vignette: Texas and its history. 

 UPDATE: 24th Jan 2013:

 It turns out that the concealment of the Stout blog was only temporary, and it is back with the same sort of anti-archaeological bile and guffawed comments about preservationists as before. There is now a text "The Stout Stance on Archaeologists" . In it Mr S. restates merely that he feels he owes the archaeological community absolutely nothing, and he has no desire to work with archaeologists because he is tired of what he says is their "ongoing disdain for what it is we do". He is also "disappointed in those detectorists who continue to “grovel and beg” for acceptance into their small minded world". He places at the base of that post the following which I presume is meant to be a joke at the cost of the responsible metal detectorist partners of the Portable Antiquities Scheme who report their finds for recording and sgaring: 

 This 'statement', I presume, is an answer to a private communication I sent him, asking for a unambiguous statement on the Portable Antiquities Scheme, and to what extent - if one were set up in Texas - he would collaborate with it. I would say that anyone espousing such views would well earn the disdain of the group this affects, be they archaeologists, policemen, gas-meter readers or anyone else whom Mr Stout attacks. As he says:
Hope that clears things up ! 
Yes, I think that makes who Mr Stout is perfectly clear. Its's a good job he lives over in 1836-is-old-land and not in the UK, as if he did, the PAS would be going cap in hand to the public purse to try and prise another few million quid out to make people like this their "partners". Take a look at what these people actually write about what they actually believe. Mr Stout - he tells us himself - has "many" supporters on both sides of the Atlantic who presumably share his views.

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