Sunday, 16 February 2014

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Angst over Artefact Counter


Unfortunately, there seems to be rather a lot of resistance in certain quarters to the idea of treating the Heritage Action Artefact Erosion Counter as a sensible and evidence-based estimate indicating the long-term effects of current policies on artefact hunting on the archaeological record in England and Wales. It is a remarkable fact: the only people who have ever said it’s nonsense are those with a vested interest in doing so and there are no exceptions to that so far as I know! The sole archaeologist who has expressed reservations (actually it was derision) was not only in the USA but was also receiving large sums of money from metal detectorists which seems rather a blatant conflict of interests. In the UK a detectorist has just said it’s “a load of tosh”, but then it turned out he had not even read the supporting material and had no idea what it was about
Amusingly, the next day his forum colleague told him: “One wonders at the percentage of all detectorists who get the FLO to record non-treasure related finds. I’m guessing at about 15 pct(i.e. half of what the Counter says!) 

2 comments:

kristan jones said...

So what IS the problem for Responsible Artefact Hunters and their supporters with the Artefact Erosion Counter?

Why should the Heritage Action artefact counter be treated as a sensible and evidence-based estimate indicating the long-term effects of current policies on artefact hunting on the archaeological record in England and Wales, when we do not truly know the original figures and research that were used to compile the estimate.
Following a link from the erosion counter itself I am directed to this blog in your archive.
(27-11-2008) http://paul-barford.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/heritage-action-erosion-counter.html
Within this blog post you say "The basis on which the erosion counter is calculated and the underlying definitions are all laid out in the book which Nigel Swift and I have written and will hopefully be out next year".
The book that you have co-authored with Mr swift that you refer to I presume has the title Britain's Portable Antiquity Heritage: Artefact Collecting and the Archaeological Record.
You mention that chapter seven will be where the data used to compile the estimate will be revealed.
As far as I am aware the book will have it's first publishing run and release on 17th September 2015. I think I will refrain from treating the Heritage Action Artefact Erosion Counter as a sensible and evidence-based estimate, until I have had a chance to read chapter seven of your long awaited publication.
One more quote here from your blog back in 2008 in which you replied to a comment by Roger Bland "Well, until the book comes out with the details of the basis of this estimate, you can take it or leave it" if I were to be given the option of taking it or leaving it I will have to say I'll leave it until I've had the chance to read your book.

Kris Jones

Paul Barford said...

Yes, please do that, but that equally means not rushing to judgement before then unlike certain other detectorists (and the archaeologist some funded) did.

The book you cite does not now contain that material, it has been split into three, a trilogy. The one you want is the second "Plunderers or Partners: Metal Detecting in England and Wales" (the first part is NOT a question) and its chapter eight. The third one will be about the antiquities market, which is not finished yet.

 
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