Friday, 21 March 2014

Patronising the tekkies Without Allowing them a Voice

An archaeologist who was never very comfortable actually discussing artefact hunting with me, to a cap-in-hand tekkie (Today, 09:43 PM #1) who had asked a question (now invisible) apparently involving the use of mechanical excavators in all excavations to remove the topsoil that artefact hunters take archaeological finds from:
one should not put too much import onto Paul Barfords way of... shalll we say reporting his truth [...] expect this to be (part)quoted in Mr Barfords blog = at least teh bits that can be turned to advantage.)
What "advantage" would that be Mr Connolly? Perhaps we could see the QUESTION to which that was apparently an answer? There was one wasn't there? It seems the discussion has switched from allegations of widespread destruction through archaeologists with mechanical excavators gouging holes in archaeological sites to refer to evaluations now. It is difficult to address his remarks in absence of the actual question to which he attempts to supply an answer.

Mr Connolly seems determined to return to his tactics from the Time Team Forum days. Note he excludes me from answering on the forum he runs (I kept referring to artefact hunters as artefact hunters which was somehow deemed in breach of his 'Code of Agreeing with the Forum Owner and his Metal Detector Using Pals').

Anyhow, there's something about evaluations here for anyone who wants to read it. Obviously Mr Connolly has not looked at any of the preceding discussion across several blogs, including here, which gave rise to that question (whatever it was) which is typical of the superficial approach of the archaeologists in Britain who support artefact hunting and collecting, so that need not surprise us.  I really have no idea at all what on earth he's going on about in that last sentence. I have never said anything remotely like that, but paying attention to others' points of view when discussing the issue of artefact hunting and collecting was never David Connolly's strong point.

UPDATE 21.03.14,
According to what the detectorist states, the question was removed to prevent the blog's readers seeing  Mr Connolly's answer in relation to it. Meanwhile the actual issue which prompted the question has been completely skipped around by Mr Connolly. Nothing new there, then. It is a shame that most of his previous attempts to avoid facing the issues raised by his increasingly untenable position supporting collectors have disappeared from the internet. Some of the TTF threads were most revealing. Once again, we see a British archaeologist trying to wriggle out of a proper open discussion of the 'metal detecting issue'. Are they trying to hide something? Surely not...

UPDATE 23.03.14
The Question finally materialised, and please see for yourself where Mr Connolly thinks that I am in some way misleading people by what I say: 'British Archaeologist: "Looting of Site Surfaces is NOT Damaging the Archaeological record"...',  (Monday, 24 March 2014).
Pretty thought-provoking.  


Andy Baines said...

What are you talking about Paul? He answered all of the questions raised and agreed with what Steve said. You reported over and over that Steve was a liar and a trouble causer and his comments were wrong. However it was you that was wrong. Why not hold your hands up and admit It instead of digging yourself deeper and deeper into that hole you have found yourself in. I bet my bottom dollar you dont post this comment!

Paul Barford said...

Now you owe me your "bottom dollar".

Can you post here "all the questions raised" by you, because Mr Connolly "removed" them (those were your very words), so we cannot see whether he indeed "answered" them.

Your BAJR profile said you made two posts, only one is visible. Connolly's thread begins (post #1) with the words "No problem" suggesting there is a post missing before it.

The bottom line is this: certainly what I saw on the BAJR forum is in no way related to what your "Steve" said on your blog or the "Responsible Detecting" blog. Perhaps you did not understand what Mr Connolly was writing about, he said it was "technical". You understand what an "evaluation" is?

Your pal "Steve" is making a broad generalisation which is wrong, and one wonders why he is doing it in that form where he is if his aim is not to provoke (stir up trouble).

And did you actually READ the two posts where I explained, in answer to your earlier doubts, in some detail the difference in the treatment of topsoil evidence in surface survey and excavation? If so, in what way am I THERE "wrong"? Please explain. Because if you did NOT read them and think about them, you have a cheek coming on here and saying that.

Paul Barford said...

Andy Baines (who ignores absolutely everything I write above) merely sent the following comment:

"The questions raised are documented on my blog
feel free to see "

But the question he asked David Connolly is NOT "documented" there, just the cutting and pasting of David's answer and some half-baked gurble-garble from Mr Baines about how it somehow "proves" how "wrong" I am.

But what he writes shows clearly that he has not the foggiest at all just what it is I was saying because he cannot focus his mind on the actual discussion.

Never mind, he's clearly going to go on believing what he believes no matter what anyone says. People like him are a lost cause as far as I am concerned, like the majority of like-minded UK detectorists.

As I have said before, there is a PAS whose job it is to outreach to them about the whys and hows of best practice, observation and recording, let them do it. But let them DO it. Sixteen million quid and a simple matter like this is still a stumbling block seventeen years into their ill-starred "outreach".

Andy Baines said...

Ok I will put it simple and in one place for you to see.

I explained how the question started, which was because of you saying detectorists are taking important information from the archaeological record by only taking metallic items from with the top layer. I then said how Steve had commented saying that detectorists are not taking from the archaeological record we are adding to it due to the fact that on most archaeology digs up to 50 cm of topsoil are removed by scraping with a mechanical 360 digger and this is then put into a spoils heap and discarded, I asked if this was true or not and if so what the reasons behind it are.
I also asked if in the forums opinion that if the above statement is true do they believe that detectorists who find metallic items and then record them in the top 8-10 inches of soil which would be overlooked and put into a spoils heap are adding to the historical record or subtracting from it.
To be perfectly honest I think if you read the reply that was given on the bajr forum you would be able to work out the questions asked.

Paul Barford said...

well, at last we can judge whether the answers given justify your interpretation of them.

Paul Barford said...

The actual question mysteriously appeared at the top of the thread and is somewhat diferently posed in the original:

"Hi all, my name is Andy Baines and I'm a keen metal detectorist.

I run a blog located at [link] which has a bit of a debate going on at the minute.

I'm sure you are nearly all aware of the constant criticism detectorists get from a man called Paul Barford, well the debate started due to Paul saying detectorists are damaging the archeological record by only removing metallic items from the top soil. An anonymous commentor calling himself Steve joined the debate and made a claim that professional archaeologists on a dig often use a mechanical digger called a 360 to scrape and remove the topsoil (up to 50cm) and put it on a spoil heap. He says this is done to allow archaeologists to get to the items they want to document and is the cause of not enough funding or a tight time scale. Now obviously if there is any truth in these comments it means that metal detectorists who find and record items from the topsoil are actually helping the archaeological record instead of hindering it.

What I was wondering is if this is true or not? Is mechanical excavation a used technique?

I hope by putting my blog link i have not broke a forum rule ? If so please delete the link and i will rely your comments from here to the readers of my blog.

Kind regards

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