Saturday, 18 July 2015

Slackjaw Flubbering about Creslow

The empty promise of the PAS
Metal detectorists tend to get excited about a few old finds regardless of their context, like kids in a toyshop, it's all so 'special' for them. So John Winter, excited by seeing finds from a Buckinghamshire Roman grave disturbed buy a US detectorist now in a museum case, bills it as "A Rare Roman Cremation". If he were to read more books instead of trying to entertain his slackjaw mates he'd realise that second century cremations are not really all that "rare". This is not the only context he manages to skip. The Creslow burial was found in October 2014 by commercial artefact hunting on a known site, an emergency archaeological excavation by Oxford Archaeology and followup conservation and post-excavation analyses had to be funded - due to which the county's entire Emergency Fund was gobbled up and then there was nothing to allocate to Lenborough which was fundamental in undermining archaeological support for the PAS and its empty promise earlier on this year, allowing the current cutbacks of PAS to pass uncontested. As I wrote earlier about the responsibility issue (PACHI Thursday, 26 February 2015, 'Creslow Burial and Helen Geake in "The Searcher"'):
Is this not an issue that should be of concern to responsible metal detectorists and written about and discussed in a magazine of this type? What is meant by responsible detecting anyway, just dig into something and let somebody else sort out the mess while the finder gets a pat on the back for shooting fish in a barrel? How much do commercial artefact hunting groups make from organizing events like metal detecting holidays for steely-jawed ex-US servicemen? How much of those profits do they pay into the emergency funds of counties where they operate to offset the substantial costs incurred in finishing the job properly? 
Does Mr Winter discuss any of this? Of course not, he's a metal detectorist and that l;ot are quite happy to get on digging up whatever takes their fancy, leaving somebody else to pick up the bill - raising once again what we understand by "responsible detecting".

Oh, and talking of the PAS, they got a wiggle on when I pointed out that several weeks after it had finished, the "Creslow [Americans] 4-11.10.14 rally" had produced only three finds, now they have 212 recorded - 160 (75.4%) of the finds handed in for recording were coins. That is 30 recordable finds a day. Presumably only after they received the finds back could the organizers start applying for those export licences for the finders.

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