Thursday, 5 November 2015

More UK Metal Detecting Myth

If you look at the CBA's "Britarch" (once) academic discussion list, and search for posts by Canadian antiquity collector John Hooker (you can find his email address on his website)  between about 2003 and 2005 you will find a lot of very long texts expressing his thoughts on artefact collecting and metal detectorists. In them, he opposes what I was saying, and presents a picture of these people as a class of individuals which in his judgement had copious specialist knowledge, sometimes superior to that of FLOs and other archaeologists. He presented them as real avocational scholars, with the time to do the research which he claimed museum people and professionals had neither the time nor resources to do. That was the picture he presented. Now look at the reality. For the past two years he's been running a blog ('Past Times and Present Tensions') touching on a variety of topics mostly circulating around portable antiquities, a simplistically-conceived post-modernism and Jungian mumbo-jumbo. Now look at the comments which he publishes there which come from metal detectorists. There are not many of them making the sort of articulate and reflexive observations  one would expect from a milieu which actually was shaped in the manner in which Mr Hooker presented it to Britarchers. Most of it turns out to be the same chip-on-the-shoulder pettiness and nastiness from the same individuals one sees on all the forums. Mr Hooker has himself provided the evidence that the picture of metal detectorists which he attempted to present to British archaeologists was a totally false one.

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