Thursday, 14 August 2014

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: "Attack and Hide" Tactic

Bluebell woods recorded
A while back metal detecting microbiologist James Oliver (supernova1c) decided he'd reblog on his Detecting Blackpool.wordpress blog one of Heritage Action's posts, which he did under the title "Dodgy Metal Detecting?" (Jun 27, 2014 replete with Wikipedia links). Starting off with a wimpish "Hi my friends" he suggests his readers might like to see Heritage Journal's views on metal detecting, dowsing (complete with wikipedia link) and  the PAS 'in terms of them being included in the Festival for British Archaeology', and reposts the first half of HA's text (a link would have done). Then the 'My Little Pony stuff: 
In my view we are all trying to add a positive contribution to our heritage, though our methods are different. With the greatest respect to The Heritage Journal, I feel they are rather negative in their in their opinions and have a somewhat closed mind as to what the majority of people “outside” the archaeological community have to offer. This is a mistake we humans tend to make, we see some bad practise and then paint everyone in that area with the same brush. Instead of us being in conflict, why can we not discuss this issue that stands between us? We can only move forward with discussion and education and above all cooperation between us, shouldn’t we all have the right to connect to our heritage? I’ll be back…..
Oddly enough, HA did not mention any bad practice. I posted a comment. Mr Oliver posted a half-hearted reply to which I responded:  
I am sincerely puzzled as to why you think after reading the Heritage Journal article to which you link, that there is anything (at all) there about illegal artefact hunters.

"[I] don’t believe and have never said that irresponsible use and metal detecting theft here and in any other country is contributing to our heritage."
But that is not what I asked.  What is "responsible" artefact hunting (which is what I wrote) in "Egypt, Syria, Peru, Greece, Italy, Bulgaria and NW Russia and everywhere else this is going on at the moment?" Why do you think we can see the UK's archaeological record as in any way (physically) different from theirs?

The reason why collection driven exploitation of the archaeological record is illegal in almost every other country is because of the recognition that this kind of exploitation of a finite and fragile resource damages it, in the same way as picking all the bluebells in a bluebell wood (and it matters not how you 'record' the bluebells you've hoiked out of the ground to put in a vase so "everyone can enjoy them". When they are gone, they are gone). This is not  colour[ing - sic] "true metal detectorist’s" [sic] with “this image”. Its putting it the activity in its context.

You say "these folk use metal detectors to perpetrate a crime – they are not metal detectorist’s "
Your argument is as rubbishy as your use of apostrophes. Metal detectors are used (as the name implies) to detect metal. Anyone who uses a metal detector to detect metal is by definition a metal detectorist, whether he's black, white, Moslem, gay, naked or clothed, drove there in his car despite having his driving licence revoked or in the field or on a beach or playing field with or without permission. The person using the tool is using it to detect metal, and doing much the same with the metal they find (collecting it, selling it, discarding it or selling it for scrap) whether they are doing it illegally or not .  Detecting metal in the ground is what metal detectorists do.

If somebody wants to discuss “this issue that stands between us”, then (as I imagine would be the case if somebody wanted to join an ongoing discussion in your own field of microbiology)  first they’d have to actually understand those issues, which one canNOT do just by cutting-and-pasting somebody else's text onto your blog, misinterpreting it and applying as clinching arguments the pathetically ill-thought-through glib old arguments of their unreflexive fellows like "If a metal detectorist did not find treasures... and " what they do on Time Team... (Is there a parallel TV edutainment equivalent for microbiology? How do you feel when people ‘green’ in the subject try to lecture you on the basis of watching it?). If you did a little reading up on the topic before trying to enter as an opponent a discussion alongside others who already have, you’d be in a better position to bring something more concrete to the table, you'd probably meet a different reception.  Or do you think the world owes you a pat on the head for trying?

Microbe-man replied (10 August 2014 15:59):
Thank you for your response, Paul. My counter response will take up more space than is convenient for the comments section, so I’ll write a post about the subject, soonest. Yours James Oliver.
He then hid or deleted the whole Jun 27 post, comments and all. So in a microbiological model of discourse, counter-response in fact takes up very little space. The response is silence when your argument is challenged, pretending "there's not enough space" to actually address the points made.You never saw that on Time Team.

 Let us see if a reply ever does materialise.

UPDATE 15th Augut 2014,
A day later he un-hid the thread, but no 'counter response'. 'What larks', eh?

UPDATE UPDATE 27th August 2014

Still no counter response, it seems Supernova can quite easily knock out a tekkie happy-slapping nuisance post, but backing up what he said with reasoned arguments is proving more of a challenge for him. 

See here...


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