Saturday, 27 December 2014

New Video: Lenborough Hoard

A new video: "Saxon Pennies Hoard, Lenborough, Bucks Dec 2014" has been posted up on You Tube by feroxchaser

Video posted on YouTube by feroxchaser.

The MLO forum tells us the finder's name was Alain Loubet (the guy with the white hair). This video shows an appalling level of bad practice, piles of loose soil everywhere, coins scooped out with no pattern, The FLO (in the mauve coat) is there but seems mostly to be talking rather than doing any of the excavation or recording.

At the beginning you see an undisciplined scrum of people inside the area cordoned off (what's the point of that is everyone's inside?), the hoard is quite clearly in pasture, and that it has been pasture a long time is revealed by the opening commentary by the FLO about the layer of stones caused by the "geology" (she means worm sinkage). Someone says they've got a "building", but that seems to be because there are stones on the hole. Frankly that hole is so narrow and dirty, you cannot see anything in it. There is a layer of pottery at the same level as the top of the hoard, dated (the FLO says) to 12th to 14th century. There is mention of a lead container, but can you see one in this film?   Then, the title music of the "Detectorists" series is played, one of the scrum has it as the ringtone on his phone ... Then we see the coins being scooped out of a hollow in the base of the hoik hole and being passed round from hand to hand before the FLO rubs the mud off with her fingers and throws them into a bag (you can hear them clinking). Obviously a whole area around the top of the hoard should have been lowered to its level (exploring and recording the layer with the Medieval pot above it first), the whole area cleaned up for a documentation shot. This is not what a proper methodological retrieval should look like (no scale no north point either):
Edited screenshot from video by feroxchaser

Hoard Hoiking by the handful:
Edited screenshot from video by feroxchaser
"But we are not archaeologists!" the artefact hunters will say indignantly. "Why should we be expected to do things the archaeological way?" Because that is what best practice requires, and this is why the Treasure Act Code of Practice says this sort of situation should be handed over to people who know what they are doing. Quite why the FLO is standing so docilely watching this and not stopping it is quite beyond me. What kind of "outreach" do we see in this video? Jokes about whether the Tesco bag and "that worm" are part of the Treasure. Pathetic. The coins, instead of being exposed and the manner in which they are lying together gently revealed and recorded, are being hoiked out from among the loose soil falling down onto them from the narrow holes sides are being located with a probe and just grubbed out.  This seems from the video to be the nearest we are going to get to a proper record shot of the hoard exposed, a lozenge-shaped spread (so where is that 'lead container?), with all edges apparently disappearing under the heaped mud around.

Edited screenshot from video by feroxchaser

Edited screenshot from video by by feroxchaser showing
what might be layers and two separate deposits

In the side of the hole the interface of at least one layer seems to be visible, whether it was cleaned up and recorded will be seen. More worrying, in plan the 'lozenge' as recorded here seems to be bilobal, as though the deposit is composed of two separate bags of coins (Cf the more careful excavation and recording of the structure of the Beau Street, Bath hoard). Note how some of the coins (green arrow) tip up at the edge of one. How was this recorded and investigated by the finders? Were the coins from each area kept separate?

UPDATE 5/1/14
I am told by someone who gives the impression he or she was there that the excavation of this hoard was completed by the FLO in a disturbing 4.5 hours

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