Thursday, 12 December 2013

Focus on Metal Detecting: "Britain's Number One Detectorist" Speaks

Somebody currently claiming for himself the title "Britain's Number one Detectorist" (the name does not ring a bell) writing on a disgusting and libellous spoof blog gets very enthusiastic about a text I published here a few days ago. Apparently this person considers that somehow "the CBA have been made to look utter fools" by it. But my post did not even mention the Council for British Archaeology. Somebody is getting very confused. Regardless, "Britain's Number one Detectorist" goes bonkers with delerium:
I am delighted…I’ve waited over thirty years for this moment, and, ironically, it’s all down to YOU! God Bless you, Sir! Oh, what an asset to archaeology you are. What a star! Whether they'll be drinking your health in York tonight is anyone's guess; but rather suspect the detecting community will certainly be raising a glass! I imagine too, that a certain Doctor of our mutual acquaintance and his team will be bouncing off the walls in delight, and in fits of laughter, in downtown Bloomsbury tonight. Large ones all round!
Frankly, though I am very gratified to hear that my archaeological colleagues appreciate my efforts, I do not see what the jubilation is about.

The question posed was when the Heritage Action Artefact Erosion Counter (the nature of which I think is sufficiently well explained here for most intelligent people to comprehend what it is and what it is not) would have clicked past ten million and one objects.

In my post (“Focus on UK Metal Detecting: That Ten Millionth Object”), I told them when that was and what PAS object was being recorded at that time. Significantly, it was not a metal detecting find, reminding us that the PAS is not a purely metal-detectorist-servicing organization.

I pointed out that PAS records are not "factual" enough (his word) to allow us to determine whether or not a find made by a particular finder at a particular place on a particular site at a particular time and on a particular day was or was not recorded in the database. We have very little documentation from the PAS which allows anyone (least of all those who fork out the money for it) to learn of what is NOT being recorded. That is the point the HA Artefact Erosion Counter makes.

This is however a point which detectorists all over the country would like the rest of us to ignore (hence the attacks on it). "Britain's Number One Detectorist" therefore, true to form, suggests that one can read my post on the topic (to which he gives no link of course) and:
ENJOY how Barford squirms and tries to parry and defend what has turned out to be the biggest hoax since the Piltdown Man. [This, allegedly, is] the proof if proof were needed that the Artefact Erosion Counter is nothing more than pure tosh. [...] The AEC is phony and now, thanks to YOU, Barford, the world knows it as well!
The attentive reader (one who is not a vacant-minded admirer of the beep-beep artefact-grabbing boys) might notice that in fact "Britain's Number One Detectorist" avoids the minor problem of pointing out just where - apart from in his own mind -  there is any issue whatsoever with what I wrote. His is merely a typical argumentum ad ignorantiam, and as such really carries very little weight. The point made by Heritage Action's Artefact Erosion Counter remains to be answered, it is intended to provoke debate.

The intention of "Britain's Number One Detectorist" or any other UK metal detectorist, of course is not to engage in any kind of debate, whether it is posited on the basis of preservationists concerns or not. They simply wish to dismiss any concerns and shout down any criticism and discourage anyone from any kind of closer scrutiny of the hobby and its effects. And that is exactly what we see in the recent post by "Britain's Number One Detectorist" and his nasty spoof blog.

UPDATE: Just a few hours later.
Isn't he "the lad"? The puerile-minded author of the nasty spoof blog was no doubt getting some ribbing from his mates for claiming he was "Britain's Number One Detectorist" and has already chameleon-like changed his name again. Not for the last time I expect...

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of small-minded 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".  

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