Wednesday, 4 November 2015

UK Metal Detectorists Melt Artefacts

"The Romans used to call lead
plumbumb hence the word plumber

On a metal detecting forum near you, there is a thread called "Why do we find so much scrap lead pieces on our fields?" and it makes pretty mind-boggling reading. The thread creator (one "Black Adder") starts off by giving a whole load of links to the use of themetal in antiquity and the more recent past. This makes clear that a lot of the lead present in fields is there s the result of human activity in the past. So what is the reaction of those who declare they are only interested in learning about the history? Take a look, look beyond the "good post M8" one-liner claqueurs at what the others say. Member "loud ed" (Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:56 pm) confesses he's taken:
molten lead by the bucketfull on some fields [...] take it all home give it a rinse and if its scrap and put it in a bucket and weigh it in at the end of the year
"Scottycooper" has a booze bucket (Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:17 pm)
All my lead is going into a bucket, just as the post above mentioned, as soon as I got 2 ton, im cashing it in, then im taking a week off work, going down the pub and drinking its wieght [sic] in booze!
"Shufly" (Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:24 pm) says:
I think its a good thing its non-ferrous, that means its worth more.. [emoticon]
Other members thank Blackadder for the information. "The Mole" (Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:38 am) struggles with the spelling to say:
excellent post b.a this will be very helpfull to the novice detectorist as no doubt like myself i have found lead in the field and just thought nothing of it, just thought it was scrap if anyone can add to this post with other things to look out for that us beginners might regard as scrap im sure it would make our learning curve that bit easier and we might not miss things through lack of knowlage top marks for that one ba [emoticon]
Member "Tekka" from Middlesbrough must be pretty dense (Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:13 pm)
Thanks BA. a new field we detected monday i was digging lots of lead that is white in colour, so i take it this means its been down there a while? i was getting a bit miffed at digging it and it never crossed my mind that it meant there has been activity in the area though we did wonder how so much got there.this now makes sense and the field a bit more intrsting [emoticon].
Glenfiddich (Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:02 pm) is enthusiastic:
a very well written editorial there Bruce so well done mate [emoticon] I like it [emoticon] on a recent dig down South a coupe of weeks ago I was with Paul AKA "Oldest Swinger" and he said something similar to your theory about finding lead as all I could do was moan every time I dug up the damned stuff but then Paul told me that it was actually a good sign as it meant that there was previous activity there on the very field that I was finding the stuff in and it has now made me think differently about things when I go detecting [emoticon][emoticon] Cheers Bruce [emoticon] its a good educational story [emoticon]
All those suggesting detectorists are learning about history might reflect on the meaning of this sort of comment found time and time again on the forums. Have a look at Saffron's folksy imagined "bit of history to add to the field" [reflect on what this guy knows about soldering].

It is worth reflecting too about one fundamental issue. If these artefacts are evidence of past activity, and the artefact hunters are removing that evidence from sites in order to put in their "booze buckets", what kind of record is being made of the evidence as it is taken away? What kind of recording has been taking place done by the airheads who did not even realise that they were removing evidence of past activity from a site? How many unaware (ignorant) airheads are there and how many responsible recorders are there in Britain's 16(?) thousand metal detectorists out there hoovering up buckets and buckets of historical metal artefacts, in many cases to sell off as 'scrap'? Why is it that after eighteen years of expensive PAS "outreach" there is still a place for posts like of Mr "Blackadder" giving information which comes as news to people like "Glenfiddich (joined forum Mon Oct 11, 2010)"? Just what have the PAS been up to in the area of educating artefact hunters and other finders about the significance of what they take out of the archaeological record?

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: Not really "interested in their history", liquidating collections of  non-ferrous historical artefacts, worth more like that


A concerned detectorist said...

I'm a little at a loss at to where your actually going with this thread?

I've been a detectorist for years, record all of my finds on the PAS database, am insured by the ncmd, am a responsible member of a detecting club.... Scrap Lead is scrap lead I'm afraid...
I have found some lovely spindle whorls, loom weights, steel yard weights etc, that as previously mentioned have been recorded...I would love to see my flo's face when I turn up to a meeting with her and give in thirty scrappy bits of lead that where not designed to be anything, merely molten bits of rubbish dumped onto the land.
I think that you feel everyone concerned with the hobby should be responsible...well lots of us are, but if we turned up with every slither of lead, ointment tube, tractor piece that we found and tried to tell our flo that it was of an historical importance, she'd either be busy until forty years after she passed away bless her, or there would be no interest in what we had presented.
In my opinion, your blog is just to try and taint anything to do with the hobby as you see fit...we don't do this, we don't do that etc etc...only positive thing is that at least we are outside living a life, interacting with real people discussing a hobby we love and enjoy, rather than sitting being a "keyboard warrior" tying to stir up emotions such as this and get a reaction...
When was the last time you actually smelled fresh air, or was it just dust from your darkened little room??
I've read your blog for some time now and unfortunately you just appear to be a very bitter person with respect of the hobby itself..your very quick to quote members of a forum, for having an opinion or being open and honest about detecting in general...but only after you have had lots of time to construct an answer..

I would also like a comment from a UK flo representative, to see what their official comments on such a subject would be, and how much lead they would like us to present to them on a weekly or monthly basis?
Without trying to go into your past posts so much..where you ever of metal detector?, if so did you record or hand in every little piece of "scrap " that you found in the hope of spatial recording for the database .... Irrelevant of if you said you did..I bet you really didn't..all you want is to voice your opinion time and time again in the hope the other will jump onboard your rather rickety little "anti" bus

I have read some of these forums, that you suggest are the route of all evil....all I can say is that I consider them to be trying to steer the beginner of the hobby along the right lines in order to do the hobby responsibly, not bring it into disrepute and act in a reasonable manner within every step of the way... You can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink springs to mind.

Please please please continue with your thoughts, your going to anyway..but not everyone concerned with detecting are out to harm it, more so just to enjoy it.

Some days, scrap lead is all we find...and to us, yes it is a big thing, but to the flo's still scrap lead!!!

Paul Barford said...

>>I'm a little at a loss at to where your actually going with this thread? (sic) [...] Scrap Lead is scrap lead I'm afraid...<<

and there we have the crux of the matter, an insulting guy who cannot work out whether he is writing a statement or question or where to place apostrophes cannot understand the point made. Define "scrap" and perhaps you'll understand wherein lies the difference between archaeology and what you do.

Paul Barford said...

>> Without trying to go into your past posts so much..where you ever of metal detector?,<<
Where what? That's mightily superficial of you not bothering to look at what I have written previously before asking a question. Typical.

Have I ever been out with metal detectorists? Yes. And yes, they blooming well did register every single scrap of metal they found, located it and individually bagged it. Really, really really, because that was the terms of the permit they had. They were providing archaeologically useful information, anything less is pilfering the collectables from an assemblage of historical artefacts.

And yes, I'd be only too glad is an FLO would make an effort to engage properly with the points raised by the critics of their metal detecting "partners". I think the fact they do not speaks volumes, don't you? If I am so wrong and it is so easy to show where, it would be the work of half an hour for any of them to show that so definitively that I'd probably shut up. Why don't the PAS FLOs shut me up and prove me "utterly mistaken" online - right out in the open where everyone can see? I've been here since 2008 and there are about fifty of them at any one time. I am doing public outreach to show what crap current policies on you lot is and a waste of public money, it would seem that none of them is able to disagree and do some public outreach to counteract these "wrong arguments" ("of a bitter man" as you so magnanimously label me).

"Utterly wrong" = Half an hour. Any FLO up to it?

Paul Barford said...

So, IS there any FLO that can explain this to people like a "Concerned detectorist"? I mean, explain it, not simply shrug their shoulders and say "don't listen to the critics"

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