how artefact hunters and collectors attempt to control the heritage debate by their aggressive behaviour and personal attacks directed towards those who criticise current policies. Nigel Swift of Heritage action has also been the victim of these people's nasty nasty ways:
Update 8 November 2015 by Nigel SwiftAnd nor will you, one of the newest Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries is anxious to earn his collectors' street cred as being just as much a classless oik as the metal detectorists who are (the main) avid readers of and contributors to his blog. Mr Hooker cannot answer the questions that are raised about what he writes, so instead has decided to replace debate by provocation and then block replies to his nastiness. That is, ladies and gentlemen, the way "independent scholars" like him work. He describes himself as "speechless" to find that a stalker digging around for "dirt" found out that a distant archaeologist should be commissioned to do a two-term series of evening classes on Celtic mythology in 2002/3. Maybe we could ask him how many he has done in the same period.
Mr Howland has now published an address and phone number for Paul Barford – twice – on the website of Canadian numismatist John Hooker. This is the seventh and eighth time he has revealed our addresses, phone numbers or personal descriptions or offered our photograph to anyone who asks for them (“I’m anxious to let anybody who wants them, have them“). He has added a denial that he is engaged in a campaign to encourage “violent attacks” on Paul or me (Paul’s “loathsome pal” as he terms me) or our families but the number of instances, stretching now over three years, strongly suggest exactly that. You judge. I have written to Mr Hooker requesting he takes action but have received no reply.
Meanwhile John Hooker also gullibly publishes on his guffawing blog the claim of the metal detectorist that as a result of Mr Swift's reporting his activities:
"in the end I was obliged to make an official complaint to the West Mercia police. Barford sadly, was safely beyond judicial reach".Is not the truth of the matter is that when he was interviewed by the police about his stalking and harassment, he brushed it aside by complaining to the interviewing officer about Heritage Action? I rather think there are few grounds here to attempt to use the collectors' traditional "Two Wrongs" arguments - even if such arguments had any validity at all to excuse this sort of thing.
TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".
Vignette: The Antiquary and collector.