I came across this on the BAJR Facebook page, asking for help. Unsuspectingly, I clicked on it, the first questions seemed to be leading in the right direction. The purpose of this research study, says Wendy Somerville-Woodiwis of Durham University is:
to gather information as to how copper-alloy coins are treated by both conservators and finders, and to then test how the treatments affect the coins in the future. Your feedback allows this project to have relevant and up to date information.Question 1. "Are you: Conservator, Finds Liason Officer, Archaeologist, Numismatist, Other (please specify)". Ticked the box, but then, wait a second.... First of all an FLO has no business cleaning a finder's coins, and in what way is an FLO not an archaeologist? Then some rather disturbing questions about how "you" clean coins - "a copper-alloy coin which has been discovered in the ground". Then suddenly:
"4. How does metal detecting benefit your profession, can you give an example?" and "
5. If you are a archaeologist, do you use a (sic) metal detecting on site and how can it benefit the excavation?"
Jaw drops. What relevance to "how copper-alloy coins are treated by both conservators and finders" completely eludes me. This looks like some kind of preparation for PAS-inspired head-patting pro-collecting gobbldygook. I am afraid my reply to these questions in her survey probably sound rather short-tempered. I invited her to read my blog and comment.
It seems to me that a sick situation is developing in the UK where one cannot mention the words "metal detecting" without anxiously making every effort to show that you are not against them, and "they can be our friends". Let me introduce Wendy Somerville-Woodiwis to a few: John Howland, Andy Baines, James Warr, Dick Stout, "KPVW", "JC", "Holedigger Pete", Candice Jarman, Baz Thugwit, "Sheddy", "Digging for Gold", Clive Hallam, Graham Chetwynd, Norman Kennedy,and a whole host of equally interesting characters, all ambassadors for the hobby.